1 – Proverbs 3:3 (ESV) Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
RAF: Never let the wonder, the mystery, and glory, the reality of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness toward you ever escape your consciousness. When we imagine His love to be vacillating or indistinct – or when we doubt the absolute certainty of His commitment to see all of His promises to come to pass – faith suffers its most devastating blows. See our God as constitutionally incapable of the any of the defects of human love. In the darkest of hours, He cannot love you any more, nor can He love you any less. See Him as ontologically unable to fail to keep His word, or to break His promises. He does not merely carry out His promises faithfully, He IS faithful. This is the One with whom we have to do. This is our God. Loving and faithful beyond anything the human mind can imagine. This is the One in whom we place our trust.
2 – Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
RAF: Bring everything to Him, EVERYTHING. Do not fail to make every concern, ever twinge of anxiety or fear known. And do the same with every joy and thankgiving. Bring Him into every aspect and moment of life. Every experience. Live life IN Christ.
3 – Proverbs 3:11 (ESV) My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof,
RAF: This need to refrain either from despising (treating lightly) or wearying of the Lord’s discipline is true whether you are the subject of such loving discipline, or if you are in leadership and must be an agent in carrying it out, or, if you are part of a Body which engages actively in such outward love.
All three applications must be made.
a. The sinner, treats the Father’s discipline as though it is a light thing. Either that God does not discipline at all and just leaves us to ourselves, or, that He does not take unrepentant sin in our lives very seriously. It is easy then too – if we DO live in the reality of His loving discipline, to grow weary of it, as though we can do NOTHING right and want to just get away from every manifestation of it. Such then is the need to be reminded this is love, and the product of His delight in us. To pay us the supreme compliment, that the Lord of the universe pays attention to the details of our lives.
b. Leadership can treat it lightly and thus neglect it. Or, being confronted with many needs to administer it in certain seasons, can grow exceedingly weary in the process. But we are to be agents of God’s love – NOT His wrath. We must keep this focus and not let it cross over into something heavy and odious. We too must remember how the Father is delighting in sons and daughters, and that we are there to manifest His love, care and concern in His active involvement in their lives.
c. So too a congregation can begin to wonder if Church discipline is really all that necessary. After all, it is painful and uncomfortable. We naturally dislike it. As a people we can grow weary and just say – “let’s let God handle it alone – why get ourselves all upset at people’s sins and involved in them?” Then again, we must take up the banner of love and be sure we do not neglect to love in the hard places. To do what is uncomfortable, when it is best for the ones we are loving in Christ’s name.
4 – Proverbs 3:13-14 (ESV) Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.
RAF: Three times in Scripture we are admonished that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; Prov. 9:10). Knowing God now, is the beginning of the treasures of eternity. How can we know what life is meant to be apart from understanding the purposes of the One who gave it to us and sustains us in it? And how can we understand His purposes fully, unless we come to know Him for Himself? In ancient courts of law, advocates for one accused did not so much provide evidence against the accusations themselves, as they did testify to the fact that the character of the one accused made it impossible that they could do what they were accused of. Nothing will make us more sure of God than getting to know Him. Nothing will make us happier in His providential appointments in our lives than grasping how fully and perfectly He loves us – and how flawlessly wise he is both in His direct actions and in His permissions. This truly is better than gain from silver or gold. These are lasting riches. These are eternal glories. You gain true, cosmic, eternal wisdom when you understand who and what God is, and stand in the right fear that being exposed to such awesome and incomprehensible realities engenders. And when at last you prize this above all other things – then you will know true contentment and satisfaction.
5 – Proverbs 3:19-20 (ESV) The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.
RAF: Here is a call to keep always in view – that it is God who made this world in which we live – with purpose and wisdom, and that by His design it functions and exists. This is so we never cross over into existential despair. So we never fall into the fears of randomness. Never fail to see God is behind life itself, and that He remains sovereign and supreme as He moves all of history toward its final goal of all things summed up in Christ Jesus. The knowledge that human existence is on a trajectory toward an eternal goal is vital to our living in hope and reality. The damnable horror that has sprung from a Godless, evolutionary view of man that makes him nothing more than a cosmic accident plunges the souls of men into a bottomless despair. Only the light of the Gospel as it reveals the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ can rescue us from that wretched abyss.
6 – Proverbs 3:28 (ESV) Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.
RAF: Give the Gospel at every opportunity. Do not listen to the deceptions of your own hear that argue you need to be in a better mood, or have your mind in a better place, or that it is inconvenient, or that you don’t have the time at that moment to do it well. You have the words of eternal life with you at all times. Seize the moment He has provided you. Don’t wait. Fulfill your ambassadorial role and tell them the good news. “Christ has come. He has died the death for sin at Calvary. Final judgement awaits us all – and might be here in a moment. Look to Christ and put your trust in Him as your sin-bearer. Today. Forsake your sin, repent and believe.” What an impact a moment can have on someone’s eternity.