Proverbs 3:1-12

An admonition to remember the laws of God,

Verse 1-4

  1. Verse 1, My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

    1. Remembering the law is physical, being in the brain, or mind.

      1. Must know so you won’t forget.

      2. This takes us back to 2:1-5 - We must study in order to know.

    2. Keeping the law is spiritual, being kept in the heart.

      1. Must be available at all times.

      2. Continue to study and remember.

      3. Many people acquaint keeping the law with the body, forgetting the body only obeys what the heart and mind demand of it.

      4. If all we have is an external manifestation of the commandments of God, we have missed the entire point of the commandments.

    3. When the law is kept in the heart, it will show up in the body.

      1. Submit completely.

      2. Feeling (flesh) - and heart (spiritual).

    4. Therefore, all parts of the trichotomy of man are involved.

      1. Forget not my law - a work of the flesh.

      2. Let heart keep commandments - a fruit of the spirit.

      3. Colossians 3:15,16 states, And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

        1. This is a balance between the flesh and the spirit.

        2. Notice that letting the peace of God rule in our hearts will cause us to be happy and sing praises to God, and be a help to those around us.

    5. Compare verses 1-4 to verses 5-10 to verses 13-17.

      1. These three sections of verses seem to be saying the same thing. The repetition is necessary because we are so dull of hearing.

      2. Three things lead to one conclusion.

        1. Verse 1-4 speaks of keeping the law of God, then receiving length of days, peace and health.

        2. Verse 5-10 speaks of trusting in the Lord with all thy heart, then receiving length of days, peace and health.

        3. Verse 13-17 speaks of finding wisdom, then receiving length of days, peace and health.

      3. It is impossible to fulfill one of the above sections without fulfilling all of the above sections.

        1. There are those who would desire to trust in the Lord, yet not know his commandments, or follow his commandments: that is impossible to do.

        2. There are those who would obey all the commandments of God without trusting in God for anything: that is also impossible.

        3. There are those that believe they can have the wisdom of God without trusting in the Lord, or obeying his commandments: that is also impossible.

        4. If a person does not trust in the Lord with all his heart, he is leaning on his understanding, and attempting to keep the law of God only in his flesh.

        5. If a person is leaning on his own understanding, he is not trusting God, nor does he have heavenly wisdom.

        6. A person is never happy when they are not trusting God, or leaning on their own understanding.

      4. The result of trusting God with your heart, leaning on the understanding of God, and having the wisdom of God is the same.

        1. Length of days.

        2. Long life.

        3. Peace.

        4. Health to they navel.

        5. Marrow to thy bones.

        6. Riches and honor.

  1. Verse 2. For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

    1. Godly Wisdom, rightly applied to the life adds three things.

      1. Length of days. There is some indication the phrase means eternal life.

        1. Psalm 21:4 states, He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.

        2. Job 12:12 declares, With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

        3. Proverbs 3:16 states, Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.

      2. Long life. The phrase apparently means a long life on this earth.

        1. Eph. 6:2,3 - Days added because of honoring parents.

        2. “Long” is Hebrew “Shanah”.

        3. Used 709 times, translated “years”.

        4. Also translated “be given to change, do again, do the second time, repeat, return, speak again, strike again, the 2nd time.”

        5. Therefore the use of the word can mean to add additional years to your life.

        6. Job 42:1-17 - God adding to Job after he had blessed his “friends”.

        7. II Kings 20:3 - God added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life because Hezekiah reminded God of his life and his promise.

      3. Peace.

        1. Old age without peace is not a blessing of God.

        2. In our old age as opposed to Eccl. 12:1-7.

        3. I think the peace referred to here can relate to physical health as described in Proverbs 3:8.

          1. When a person yields himself to the word of God in obedience, understanding the word of God reveals Godly wisdom, it is health to thy navel and marrow to thy bones.

          2. There is more explanation of Proverbs 3:8 given later.

        4. God may not keep you where you want to be or give you the health you desire, but He can give you peace in your old age.

    2. Length of days and long life seem to be speaking of a worthwhile, and extended life, plus the promise of obtaining eternal life because the eternal wisdom of God was sought. Old age will not be filled with remorse and sorrow, but joy in a life well spend in doing God’s will.

    3. Peace, or tranquility of heart and mind, because there is no reliance on our wisdom, which is fallible, but on the eternal, unerring wisdom of God.

  1. Verse 3. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:

    1. This verse shows the necessity of “hanging onto” the right way.

      1. The word “let not” shows that mercy and truth will slowly go away, and we will awake suddenly to find them gone.

      2. The word “forsake” shows the tendency for these good values to leave us.

      3. “Write them” shows that these values are not easily learned, but must be constantly reinforced.

    2. The natural depravity of man is the reason the truth is easily forsaken, and wickedness put in wisdom’s place.

    3. Compare the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit.

      1. They must work in the flesh, but come from the Spirit (heart).

      2. Matt. 23:1-7 (verse 5) - Not like the Pharisees.

      3. Matthew 23:23 states, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

  1. Verse 4. So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

    1. The result of obeying God is always good.

      1. This is the way to find favor.

      2. Favor with God is more important than favor with men.

    2. Favor is like grace. Good understanding is that men and God will take notice of you and observe that you are doing the right thing.

    3. Man will see and like what they see.

      1. This scripture doesn’t say that lost people will approve of your Godly lifestyle, at least in public, but privately, they will readily endorse it.

      2. Potiphar saw Joseph’s attitude and ability and promoted him to a position of authority in his house.

      3. Acts 26:29-31, Paul was in jail at Rome, but gave his enemies something to reason about. He was kept in his own hired house, and received all that came to him, freely preaching the gospel, no man forbidding him.

    4. God will give more grace to the faithful.

      1. Some people seem to believe that there is nothing a lost person or a saved person can do to obtain the grace of God.

      2. Grace is absolutely undeserved, but only those that seek the Lord will find Him.

      3. This may sound like a contradiction, and it is in the minds of men, but not in the mind of God.

Verse 5-10 - An admonition to trust the wisdom of God, not our own wisdom

There are five blessings in the next six verses that will be received if the necessary “qualifications” are met. The five “qualifications” are:

  1. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart.

  2. Lean not unto thine own understanding.

  3. In all thy ways acknowledge him.

  4. Be not wise in thine own eyes.

  5. Depart from evil.

  1. Verse 5, Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

    1. Trust in the Lord to keep all the promises of His Word.

      1. Involves a remembrance (from the study) of God’s Word.

      2. Trust with heart, not with the understanding, knowledge, or memory.

        1. The heart is not what the world calls the heart.

        2. The heart is the very source of life, therefore God desires us to trust him with the very source of our life.

      3. All thy ways - what would Jesus do if He were in your situation?

      4. In easy things and hard things.

    2. Compare the word “trust” and the word “lean”.

      1. Trust indicates a total, complete, dependence on God.

      2. Lean indicates a gentle reclining toward ones own understanding while still standing by ones own strength (outwardly trusting Christ).

        1. Trust could be illustrated by picturing a person sitting on a chair, or laying on a bed, his weight completely on the chair or bed.

        2. Lean could be illustrated by picturing a person leaning, reclining, or resting against a wall with his feet will on the floor.

    3. Compare the meaning of the entire verse.

      1. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart - a spiritual exercise.

      2. Lean not on thine own understanding - a physical exercise.

    4. It is impossible to completely trust in the Lord and lean toward our own understanding at the same time.

  1. Verse 6, In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

    1. This verse is a positive promise.

      1. If we acknowledge God in our ways (paths), he shall direct our paths.

      2. Acknowledging God in our lives will stop us from doing some things we might otherwise do.

    2. This verse is also a negative promise.

      1. If we don’t acknowledge God in our ways, he shall not direct our paths.

      2. If we forget that God is our maker, and we are responsible to Him alone, we will live our lives according to the principles of the world.

    3. “All thy ways”.

      1. In every avenue of life, whatever it is; spiritual or secular, financial or faith, sickness or health, youth or old age.

      2. When things are going good, and when things are going bad.

      3. We must realize that God is in complete, total control of our lives, and everything that happens to us is for our good and His glory.

  1. Verse 7, Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

    1. I suppose we could say that if we are wise in our own eyes, we do not fear the Lord, and we haven’t departed from evil!

      1. The natural result of not trusting our own intelligence is trusting God.

      2. A natural result of trusting God is to depart from evil.

      3. A great enemy to religion is being wise in our own eyes.

      4. I Corinthians 1:26-29 - God calls the lowly things to confound the world. If God had called you, you’re probably lowly.

    2. I do not believe this verse means that we ought to think we are stupid, or ignorant.

      1. We are to acknowledge before God that we don’t know the end result of our actions.

      2. Since we don’t know the end result of our actions, we must read and study the Word of God, do what It says, and trust God that He will work out the proper results.

      3. This is called “walking by faith”.

    3. The way to not be wise in our own eyes, is to take advice from God’s word.

      1. We shouldn’t try to figure out what we want to do based on our own reasoning.

      2. We shouldn’t take the advice of our friends and relatives over the Bible.

      3. If their advice comes is backed up by the Bible, then that advice would be okay to follow.

    4. Fear the Lord - A reverential fear bred from an “agappa” love, not “to be afraid”.

    5. Depart from evil - the right fear of the Lord will cause us to depart from evil.

      1. Note: Departing from evil is more than leaving wicked fleshly lusts, but departing from our own thoughts.

      2. Isaiah 55:8,9 - Our thoughts are not the thoughts of God.

  1. Verse 8, It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

    1. It’s physically good for us to obey God.

      1. Compare the physical health of those that obey the principles of God’s Word to those that disregard His commandments.

      2. People who drink, smoke, commit adultery, and such will invariably have poorer health than those who refuse to do such things.

    2. “Navel” represents the bowels.

      1. When the bowels are healthy, the body is healthy.

      2. When the bodily systems of nourishment and excrement work correctly, the entire body feels better.

      3. A single sickness in the bowels (whether that sickness involves nourishment or excrement) can easily kill the entire body, even the healthy parts.

    3. Marrow to thy bones.

      1. Leviticus 17:11, 14, 17 - Life is in the blood.

      2. Marrow is in the bones and is responsible for making blood.

      3. If you have good marrow, you will have good blood, if you don’t have good marrow, you won’t have good blood.

      4. Doing what God said we ought to do works in our physical bodies to give us peace and enjoyment of everyday activities.

      5. This makes our bodies relaxed, so we have good marrow, which produces good blood, which gives us good life.

  1. Verse 9, Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: {10} So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

    1. Remember Solomon is writing to his son, who will soon be the king of Israel.

      1. It would be good for even a king to give tithes and offerings to God.

      2. I suppose Solomon offered tithes and offering to God.

      3. Many years ago, I heard of a preacher who believed he should not give tithes or offerings because, as he stated, the High Priest of Israel was not required to give tithes or offerings to God.

      4. I think that preacher was wrong, as the High Priest, and the other priests of Israel, gave tithes and offerings to God.

        1. Nehemiah 10:38 states, And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

        2. It is my belief that God will bless all those that give tithes and offerings from their increase, as long as that increase is from a legitimate source.

    2. Honour the Lord.

      1. Honor means placing great value upon.

      2. This is more than just giving a part of our money to God, but realizing He deserves it.

      3. I Tim. 5:17 - If the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, then we surely should honor God with double honor.

      4. Many preachers erroneously want to honored with this kind of double honor, without realizing that love, peace, fellowship, and spiritual growth from the church members is a much greater blessing.

    3. There are two ways to honor God - To do this, we must already have given our lives and spirits to the Lord.

      1. Substance - Used 50 times in the Bible to reveal “that thing that is ours, and is not an increase as the result of our labors”.

        1. We are not to believe and practice that God is interested only in obtaining the tithe from us.

        2. Substance includes: the strength of our youth, our time, our thoughts, our bodies, our lives.

        3. Gen. 12:5 - And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

        4. Gen. 13:6 - And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

        5. Job 1:3 – His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

        6. Psalm 139:15 – My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. {16} Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

        7. Luke 15:13 - And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

        8. Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

      2. Increase - What is ours as a result of our labors. We must believe “the tithe is the Lord’s”.

    4. Malachi 3:8-12 tells us that we have robbed God is we don’t give him tithes and offerings.

      1. Verse 10 declares that God will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing so large we can’t receive it.

      2. God’s shovel is much bigger than our shovel.

    5. If all we expect are material blessings from God we will be sadly disappointed.

      1. Some of the blessings he gives are spiritual.

      2. Some are the blessings of having good children who desire to serve the Lord.

      3. God does and will give spiritual blessings, but he desires us to know where they come from and not to count on them too much.

    6. When we give our tithes and offerings to the Lord, we must give them to his body, the local church.

      1. There is no such thing as a universal, invisible church.

      2. There is such a thing as all God’s churches one day making up a great assembly in heaven, where there will be separation between those in the church and those out of the church.

      3. Notice the Bible says “thy” substance in verse 9 when it speaks about giving to God.

        1. What we have is ours - God said so.

        2. Notice the Bible says “thy” in verse 10, when it speaks about God giving to us.

    7. This passage says tithes and offerings, not just tithes, and not just offerings.

      1. We haven’t given any offering at all until we first give the tithe, (10%).

      2. Everything we give above 10% will be counted an offering by God.

    8. Some believe the tithe is only in the Old Testament law, but they fail to realize that Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek before the law, Genesis 14:17-20.

    9. Tithing goes against the natural thinking of man.

      1. Man naturally thinks that 90% is not as great as 100%.

      2. Only God can make 90% greater than 100%.

      3. We think we will have less if we give away to God.

      4. God will see to it that we have more if we honor Him with our substance first.

    10. Verse 10 is the result of verse 9.

      1. Not an increase of outward riches to be treasured up for ourselves.

      2. An increase of wealth that will be of benefit to others.

      3. An increase that is the result of the labor of our own hands.

      4. This increase will allow us to honor God the more. We’ll be able to thank God the more, instead of asking Him, “Why don’t we have thus and thus?”

      5. Our wealth will not be a hindrance to God’s service. These men didn’t seem to be afraid of loving the possessions God gave to them, yet they did not worship those possessions, but willingly gave them in the service of God.

        1. Abraham - Genesis 13:2.

        2. Job - Job 1:3.

      6. One thing must be said about material possessions:

        1. 1 Timothy 6:6 - But godliness with contentment is great gain.

        2. Hebrews 13:5 - Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

        3. Philippians 4:11 - Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Verse 11,12 - An admonition to accept chastening in the proper way

Verse 11, 12, My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: {12} For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

  1. What a strange place to mention chastening?!! In the midst of blessing??

    1. Don’t be surprised at the times when chastisement comes.

    2. Be attuned to all chastening of God - both small and great.

  1. Purpose of Chastening.

    1. John 15:2 - Christ purgeth every branch that it might bring forth more fruit.

    2. Revelation 3:19 - As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.

    3. Quoted in Hebrews 12:5-8.

  1. Concerning chastening:

    1. Only saved people are chastened. God doesn’t chasten the devil’s children, and the devil isn’t allowed to chasten God’s children.

      1. Notice that the Lord loves those He corrects, just like the father chastens the son he delights in, not the son he has given up on.

      2. When God “gives up” on one of His children, He takes them home.

    2. Notice that chastening is correction - verse 11.

      1. Hebrews 12:5-11 gives a further discussion of chastening.

      2. We very seldom know when somebody else is being chastened.

    3. Types of chastening.

      1. Sickness and loss of wealth (all sorts of bad things) are not necessarily chastening.

        1. Sometimes, people get sick because there is a “bug” going around. God knows all about this and controls it all.

        2. While that is true, there is no doubt in my mind that a lot of sickness is nothing more than the chastening hand of God.

        3. I Corinthians 11:29,30 - Paul declares that many Corinthians are weak and sick because they took the Lord’s wrong, and God chastened them.

      2. God could chasten us with health and an increase of wealth (all sorts of good things).

        1. He knows exactly what we need in order to bring our minds around to His way of thinking.

        2. But most folks will be chastened by God taking away good things and giving bad things.

      3. Death could also be a form of chastening.

        1. When the death of one of His children will give Him more glory than their living in rebellion, God will take them home.

        2. All deaths are not the result of chastening.

        3. Some die because it is their time to die.

        4. Sometimes death comes as a blessing from God. (During a time of great illness when there is no hope of recovery.)

    4. We are not to weary of God’s chastening upon us.

      1. Sometimes, children of God believe chastisement is like a fence that hedges us in.

        1. Sometimes, children of God would like to follow their fleshly desires and participate in some form of wickedness.

        2. When a child of God commits wickedness, God pricks his conscience and makes him extremely uncomfortable with his sin.

        3. A child of God cannot enjoy sin because he knows he will soon be facing the chastening of God.

        4. Sin breaks Godly fellowship and opens a door to more wickedness, which the child of God is very uncomfortable with.

      2. God wants us to patiently endure chastisement because the end of our life will be much better than if we were not a child of God and did not have to endure chastisement.

      3. Especially compare verse 9-10 with verse 11-12.

        1. Here are two opposites: one of blessings, the other of judgment.

        2. It is no accident these two opposing thoughts are placed side by side, in the midst of three points (verse 1-4, verse 5-8, and verse 13-17).