” My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.” (Proverbs 3:1-4, ESV)
The picture presented to us here is of a Godly father teaching his son the spiritual necessities of life – things which will inform his ethics on every level. The opening exhortation is to remember these things, to treasure them up (vs. 1) and to anticipate the benefits these remembered, treasured teachings will bring (vs. 2). Verse 4 summarizes again that acting upon what he is being taught here will find him not only living wisely before men, but God as well. The rest of the chapter will bear out the details of this “teaching” – but it is verse 3 which captures the essence of what the young man needs to know and do as the predicate to all else: “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Rightfully, our first impression is that such a student would learn himself to be a man of steadfast love and faithfulness. He is to “wear” these like precious jewelry and take them into the deepest recesses of his heart. But perhaps there is more here. Perhaps, the idea even underneath this – is that the father wants his son to learn of the steadfast love and faithfulness of God in this way. To wear THAT lesson like the most precious jewelry of all. To have it as it were not only tattooed, but etched – scarred into his own heart. That the heart and mind so saturated with the fullness of the God’s unfailing, unerring, eternally abiding love – is the only way he will ever own the “ethics” aimed at. He is to come to know God’s love in Christ so well, that he is eventually filled with all the fulness of God (Eph. 3:14-21). Father, may I learn that lesson so.