Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: (4) So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.Proverbs 3:3-4
“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee…”
- It’s almost like he’s pleading with his son to cling to mercy and truth.
- Truth can get away easily. The capacity of mankind to believe lies is substantial.
“…bind them about thy neck…”
- The imagery is of a necklace put around the neck. It can be decorative, but is also cherished and kept close. Binding them around your neck is a way to keep them close and cherished.
“..write them upon the table of thine heart”
- To write something on a table is in those days meant to chisel into stone or wood. This is something more permanent in nature than writing on paper today. The idea is to make these virtues not only the external decoration of your life, but the internal conviction of your heart.
“so shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”
- These are the two most fundamental relationships in life that actively influence each other. We have a vertical relationship with God and horizontal relationships with others.
- When it comes to both of those kinds of relationships we want favour. This word for favour is also translated grace. Since we are not perfect there will be times where we mess up with God and men. If we deal in mercy and truth, and make that the external and internal characteristics of our life, both God and men will be likely to extend kindness and graciousness in times where we mess up.
- When it comes to those relationships we want good understanding. Thinking rightly and kindly about our circumstances with others is a hallmark of strong relationships.
So let us summarize these two verses:
When we make the internal conviction and external decoration of our life the virtues of mercy and truth it will produce strong relationships both vertically with God and horizontally with our fellow man.
4 Questions for application:
- 1. How does truth produce favor and good understanding with God? God knows our thoughts, behaviors and motives. He cannot lie. He hates a lying tongue. He has given His Word, the ultimate source of truth to us. You cannot be right with God apart from truth.
- 2. How does truth produce favor and good understanding with man? There may be instances where people would rather you lie to them, but as a way of life we all want those we deal with to be truthful and honest.
- 3. How does mercy produce favor and good understanding with God? Our horizontal relationships with others impacts our vertical relationship with God. Notice what the Bible says in 1 John 4:20 ,”If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” In the parable of the unmerciful servant Jesus teaches that those of us who have received mercy and forgiveness with God (vertical relationship) must extend mercy and forgiveness to those who trespass against us (horizontal relationships). Forgiven people forgive.
- 4. How does mercy produce favor and good understanding with man? At some point in most every long term relationship everyone involved will need forgiveness for that relationship to survive. Forgiveness, by definition, cannot take place without mercy. We must give and receive forgiveness for relationships to happen. How can we expect mercy from others if we are not willing to give it ourselves?
- Are you pursuing or neglecting truth in your relationship with God?
- Are you pursuing or neglecting truth in your relationships with others?
- Have you experienced the mercy and grace of God in your life? If not please take a minute to read the post at the link- http://www.cantonbaptist.org/compass
- Are you extending mercy and forgiveness to others?