Guidance for the Heart Proverbs- Week 9- Day 2

Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

Proverbs 23:19

Explanation:
Remember that the context here is a father warning his son of the temptation of envying those who are enjoying sin.

Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

Proverbs 23:17-18

Before he makes this very practical in verses 20 and following, he takes the time in verse 19 to give his son 3 imperatives.

  1. Hear.
    As a young person I am tempted not to listen to those older than me. It’s easy for me to think that I know better. The father tells his son “hear.” Listen. Don’t disregard what those who are older are telling you. There is so much value in learning from the experience of those who have lived longer than we have.
  2. Be Wise.
    This may seem like an obvious statement that has been said over and over in proverbs. So many people ask the question “What is allowed?”, rather than the better question, “What is the wise thing to do?”. Our aim should be for wisdom.
  3. Guide your heart.
    Young people are often told to “follow your heart.” Yet the Bible presents a different prescription.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Jeremiah 17:9-10

Instead of following our hearts, we must recognize that on our own the heart desires the wrong thing. We need God to transform our hearts. Here the proverb tells us not to follow our hearts, but to, with wisdom, guide our hearts.

Application:
I want to submit to you, before we read the next few verses on what can be a controversial topic, that the way we can hear, be wise, and guide our hearts is by having a close interaction with the Word of God.


For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12


The Word of God is a voice we need to listen to, the greatest repository of wisdom of all time, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts. We must carefully and regularly listen to and obey what it says.

Response:
Recommit yourself today to live according to what the Word of God says no matter what.

Week 9: Day 4- Deuteronomy 4:7-8

(7) For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
(8) And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

Deuteronomy 4:7-8

Explanation:

Moses continues his argument for the obedience of the nation by asking two rhetorical questions. He has stated in the previous verses that their keeping the law would garner a reputation and platform for the children of Israel to glorify God among the surrounding nations. These two questions provide a logical argument for why that reputation would be gained.

The first question regards the privileged status of the nation of Israel in regards to God’s interaction with them specifically. He asks if there are any other nations that have God working so closely with them, and ready to answer their prayers. What is the answer? There is no other nation with that unique privilege.

The second question regards the privileged status of the nation of Israel in regards to the purity and wisdom of the law that God had given to them. The revelation of God in terms of this law was a huge benefit to this nation, bringing them an immense advantage. Who else had a law like this? Again, the answer is no one.

Why would their keeping the law garner a good reputation among the nations?

  1. God Himself has so closely aligned Himself with this nation by choosing them and revealing Himself to them.
  2. God Himself, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, has given His law for them to follow in written form.

Application:

Of course we know that God revealed Himself to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, and through their law because He had a plan of redeeming not only them but the whole world.

(11) Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
(12) That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
(13) But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
(14) For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
(15) Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
(16) And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
(17) And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Ephesians 2:11-17

It was always God’s plan to use the nation of Israel to bring about redemption for the whole world, Jew and Gentile, to redeem both to Himself in Christ.

And so we in Christ have not replaced Israel. Their are still promises made to them uniquely as a nation. Yet, these two privileges have been given to us.

  1. We can go to God, because He has revealed Himself to us, saved us, sent His Spirit to indwell us, and uses His Word and His Spirit to grow us.
  2. We have His Word, in written form, available to us in our language. We get to think God’s thoughts after Him. We hold a miracle in our hands.

And for these and many other reasons, we should keep God’s Word and allow our obedience to be a platform for Gospel ministry!

Response:

  1. Are you thankful for the relationship and communion you can have with God because of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus? When is the last time you expressed that to God? Take some time to be thankful.
  2. Is your obedience to Christ a platform for you to speak about him? Are you using it? Who is someone that needs to know about Christ?

Week 9: Day 2- Deuteronomy 4:3-5

Deuteronomy 4:3-5
(3) Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
(4) But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.
(5) Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.

Deuteronomy 4:3-5

Explanation:

Moses uses the example of the incident recorded in Numbers 25. Some of the men of Israel worshiped the false God Baal-peor. The false God Baal was often worshiped by the Canaanite people, in this case the Moabites. He was worshiped as a fertility God. Baal-peor was apparently a local manifestation of this god, Baal. In an attempt to call on Baal to make the land to be fertile, those who worshiped Baal would engage in all kinds of sexual uncleanness. Apparently as many as 24,000 men of Israel were involved and judged by God because of their worship of this false deity. Moses refers to this incident as a warning to the people of Israel to follow after God.

He commends them in verse 4 as the ones that “did cleave unto the Lord your God.” This was the opposite response of those who “followed Baal-peor”. To cleve is to “hold fast” or to “follow after”. It denotes commitment, loyalty and love. The result of these remaining following after God instead of Baal was that they were “alive…this day.”

Moses says in verse 5 that the purpose of why he taught them the laws of God were two-fold. First, he taught them because he was commanded by God to do so. This was a good example that Moses gave. Second, He taught the law so that they would obey the law of God as they go in and possess the promised land.

Application:

The fundamental problems that they had still exist today.

  1. We put other God’s ahead of the One and True God. Idolatry may not look exactly the same, but it is fundamentally the same. Sex, material wealth, and false religion all reign in peoples hearts rather than God today.
  2. We know the will of God and disobey it. We know the right thing to do but we don’t do it. Someone may say that some don’t have the Bible, but Romans 1 tells us that God has written the law on our hearts. We all have expectations of others that we don’t live up to ourselves. More relevantly, many have multiple copies of God’s Word and are not being obedient to know and obey what God has said in it.
  3. We experience the consequences of our actions. There are always consequences to disobedience. They may not be immediate, but there are consequences to wrongdoing.
  4. We experience blessing for our obedience. We must obey God’s Word and experience the life giving consequences of letting it dwell in our hearts richly. God wrote it so that we may obey and live!

Response:

  1. Is there something or someone in your life that is replacing the role that only God should take? (idolatry)
  2. Are you being actively disobedient to God in any area? (repent!)
  3. What blessings are you experiencing as the consequence of doing right?

Week 9: Day 1- Deuteronomy 4:1-2

Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you.

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 4:1-2

Explanation:

This particular passage of scripture is in the midst of a speech being given by Moses to the Children of Israel. He is at the end of his life. He reminds them of all that God has done, and all that they have done. He is speaking to them about how to conduct their future lives in the promised land. They were about to go to battle, and then live surrounded by pagan nations. Apart from their obedience, they would lose militarily, morally and spiritually. God knows that. Moses knows that. So we read today’s text.

Moses tells them to “hearken” to the “statutes” and “judgments” with the express purpose of actually doing them. He tells them that the purpose of giving them the law was for them to be obedient. He then goes on to say “that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord GOd of your fathers giveth to you.” There was a connection between obedience and success. If they would listen to the Lord, to His Word, and obey His law, then they would go in an take possession of what they had been given.

In verse 2 He gives a warning about both adding to the law, and taking from the law. God knows how people are. We want to do our own will more than God’s, and if that means changing the rules to fit our desires we will. Moses, by the words of the Holy Spirit, warns against doing anything that would change what has been said. Why? “…that ye make keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” If they changed the word, then the behavior God intended would change. They would obey the wrong thing.

Application:

The theme of this weeks passage is obedience to the Word of God. In today’s text Moses tells the Children of Israel two things:

  1. Obey the Word of God. The Word of God carries the authority of God. When God speaks we should listen and obey. He even tied their success to their ability to obey the law of God. The same is true for us. If we listen and obey, God will bless that obedience. This does not mean we will have material, worldly success, but it does mean that we will have success in God’s eyes. His opinion as the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of the World is what truly matters.
  2. Don’t change the Word of God. There is only one Revealer of Scripture, The Holy Spirit. If He spoke it, we should seek to discover and obey the meaning of what He wrote. We don’t get a say in making the meaning of what He already wrote down.

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2 Peter 1:20-21

Response:

  1. Is there any area of my life where I am living in disobedience? Confess that to God. Repent and live differently!
  2. Am I reading God’s Word with the heart motivation of obedience?
  3. Am I changing the Word of God to fit my own thoughts and desires?