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Proverbs (Part 026) - Pro 3:1-3

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V. Chapter 3

1. Pro 3:1 - "My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:"

A. A quick summary of Proverbs 1-2.
i. Solomon devoted a large portion of Proverbs 1 to warning his son of the dangers of being enticed to do evil by wicked men (Pro 1:10-19).
ii. Then he admonished him of the dire consequences of rejecting Wisdom's call of repentance (Pro 1:20-33).
iii. In Proverbs 2, he exhorted his son to seek and cry after the knowledge and wisdom of God which, when acquired, would deliver him from the way of the evil man and the strange woman.

B. Introduction to Proverbs 3.
i. Having taken ample time exhorting his son to get wisdom and understanding, and warning him of the peril that awaits those who don't, Solomon spends much of the third chapter detailing the blessings and benefits of remembering God's law and keeping His commandments.
ii. The first 12 verses of chapter 3 are comprised six couplets.
a. The first verse of the couplet gives the commandment.
b. The second verse gives the reward or benefit of keeping it.
iii. These first 12 verses give the formula for living a good life which includes:
a. A long, peaceful life (Pro 3:1-2).
b. Favor with God (spiritual fulfillment) and man (social fulfillment) (Pro 3:3-4).
c. Direction and leading from God through life (Pro 3:5-6).
d. Good health (Pro 3:7-8).
e. Financial security (Pro 3:9-10).
f. Discipline from God (Pro 3:11-12).

C. My son, forget not my law.
i. This is the foundation for living the good life.
ii. In that Solomon was one of God's prophets who "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2Pe 1:21), these words are not only Solomon's to his son, but they are God's words to His sons warning them to not forget His law.
iii. Forget v. - 1. trans. To lose remembrance of; to cease to retain in one's memory.
a. Reading and understanding the law of God will be of no value to us if we don't retain it in our memory where it is available to be recalled at any time.
b. Thus the reason that the LORD reminds His children to forget not His law (Pro 4:5), but to remember it (Mal 4:4; Jos 1:13; Joh 15:20).
iv. The author of Psalm 119, who spent 176 verses magnifying the word of God, not only read the scriptures, but also made great effort to remember them, saying:
a. "I will not forget thy word" (Psa 119:16)
b. "yet do I not forget thy statutes" (Psa 119:83)
c. "I will never forget thy precepts" (Psa 119:93)
d. "yet do I not forget thy law" (Psa 119:109)
e. "yet do not I forget thy precepts" (Psa 119:141)
f. "I do not forget thy commandments" (Psa 119:176).
v. When we don't keep God's commandments, we have not only forgotten God's law, we have forgotten God Himself (Deu 8:11).
vi. Forgetting the LORD first manifests itself in failing to keep His commandments, which then leads to walking after other gods, and finally ends in death (Deu 8:18-20; Psa 9:17; Psa 50:22).

D. But let thine heart keep my commandments.
i. Reading the word of God frequently is a necessary step to remember it.
ii. But the prescription that Solomon gives for not forgetting the law of God is not merely reading it, but also doing it, and doing it often (keep my commandments).
a. Repetition is the most effective method of committing a thing to memory.
b. Those that only hear the word of God, but don't do it, are forgetful hearers (Jam 1:22-25).
iii. The first commandment that a child of God should keep after he has heard and believed the gospel is to repent and be baptized (Act 2:37-38).
a. This will result in him being added to the membership of a local church (Act 2:41).
b. When that happens and the new Christian continues "steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" (Act 2:42) by assembling with the saints and hearing the word of God preached, he will be reminded of God's law week after week and will not forget it.
iv. Remembering the law of God by keeping it will not only spare God's children from falling into sin and being chastened by Him for it, but it will also yield the blessing of a long and peaceful life, which Solomon shows in the next verse.

2. Pro 3:2 - "For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee."

A. For length of days, and long life...shall they add to thee
i. Many people today spend much money, time, and energy in a mostly futile effort to lengthen their lives.
a. Special diets, exercise, and expensive supplements are pursued with religious fervor in hopes of getting to spend a few more years on this sin-cursed earth.
b. Worldly men look to advances in science, modern medicine, and even transhumanism as their savior that they hope will stave off death for decades, centuries, or possibly forever.
c. On the other side of the aisle, some religious folks today look to "natural" methods to prolong their lives, endlessly chasing one guru after another who claims to have just what God ordered to make us live at least twenty years longer than His book says that we will (Psa 90:10).
ii. The key to long life is not found at the Mayo Clinic, the local drug store, the natural food store, or even in one's own garden, but rather in remembering God's law and keeping His commandments (Pro 3:1).
a. If a man would put down the prescription drugs, 3D organ printers, organic food, vitamins, homeopathic potions, and essential oils, and instead pick up his Bible and read it everyday, remember what he reads, and put it into practice in his life, he would stand a much better chance of making it to the ripe old age of eighty.
b. Could some of the above-mentioned things extend one's life? Possibly.
c. Will taking God's prescription for longevity be more effective? Absolutely (Pro 3:7-8; Pro 4:10; Pro 9:10-11; Pro 10:27).
iii. There are at lease three reasons why remembering and doing the word of God results in the lengthening of life.
a. Firstly, the Almighty, who declares that "them that honour me will I honour" (1Sa 2:30), will bless the God-fearing man with a protracted life because life is a blessing.
b. Secondly, God will extend the life of His pious saints in order for them to show "[his] strength unto this generation, and [his] power to every one that is to come" (Psa 71:18).
c. Thirdly, a long and healthy life is a tangential effect of keeping God's commandments, for the man that does so avoids sins which have life-shortening results such as fornication and sodomy (STDs), drunkenness (liver disease, drunk driving), gluttony (diabetes, heart disease, etc), brawling, etc.

B. ...and peace, shall they add to thee.
i. Not only will reading, retaining, and practicing the precepts of the word of God increase the length of a Christian's life, but it will also increase the quality of it.
a. Along with length of days and long life, peace shall also be added to the doer of the word.
b. Remembering God's law is equivalent to keeping one's mind fixed on Him, and the man who does so will be kept in perfect peace (Isa 26:3).
ii. The Biblical definition of righteousness is keeping God's commandments.
a. It was said of Zechariah and Elisabeth, John the Baptist's parents, that they were "both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (Luk 1:6).
b. "Righteousness and peace" are so closely bound together that they are said to "have kissed each other" (Psa 85:10).
c. Thus, keeping God's commandments, which is righteousness, brings the peaceful life that God has promised, for "the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever" (Isa 32:17).
d. As the scripture says, "mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace" (Psa 37:37).

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

A. In addition to length of days, long life, and peace (Pro 3:2), keeping God's commandments (Pro 3:1) also brings the blessings of mercy and truth to a child of God.
i. Of these two, truth is the most obvious benefit that derives from remembering God's law and keeping His commandments.
ii. The Son of God declared, "thy word is truth" (Joh 17:17), and the psalmist reiterated, "thy law is the truth" (Psa 119:142) and "all thy commandments are truth" (Psa 119:151).
iii. Thus the reason God's law is called "the word of truth" (Psa 119:43; Eph 1:13).
iv. Since God's law is the truth, when "we walk after his commandments" (2Jo 1:6), we are "walking in truth" (2Jo 1:4).

B. Truth n. II. 5. a. Conformity with fact; agreement with reality; accuracy, correctness, verity (of statement or thought).
i. As Stewart Crane used to say, "truth is an accurate representation of that which is under consideration as it has always related to all other things in the past, is universally so in the present, and constantly so into the infinite future."
ii. Truth is declared in the word of God and is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ who is "the truth" (Joh 14:6), and who is "full of grace and truth" (Joh 1:14).
a. Truth is liberating (Joh 8:31-32).
b. Truth is necessary to worship God properly (Joh 4:24).
c. Truth is rejoiced in by those who exhibit true love (1Co 13:6).
d. Truth is to be acknowledged (Tit 1:1).
e. Truth must be obeyed (Gal 3:1).
f. Truth is essential to have the fruit of the Spirit (Eph 5:9).
g. How important it is to never let truth forsake us.

C. Mercy n. - 1. a. Forbearance and compassion shown by one person to another who is in his power and who has no claim to receive kindness; kind and compassionate treatment in a case where severity is merited or expected.
i. Mercy is a concept that is taught in the word of God regarding both man's relationship to God and to his fellowman.
ii. We are saved, not by our works, but by the mercy of God which He bestows upon whom He will (Rom 9:15-16; Eph 2:4-5; Tit 3:5; 1Pe 1:3).
iii. The scriptures exhort us to have mercy on others if we expect to receive mercy (Mat 5:7; Jam 2:13).
iv. The law of God teaches us that religious sacrifices, whether our bodies (Rom 12:1), our money (Heb 13:16 c/w Php 4:15), or our praise of God (Heb 13:15), are no substitute for showing mercy (Mat 9:13).
v. We receive mercy temporally by humbly asking God for it in prayer (Heb 4:16).
vi. How important it is to never let mercy forsake us.

D. Having seen the importance of mercy and truth, it should now be evident why we must not let them forsake us.
i. Forsake v. - 1. trans. To deny (an accusation, an alleged fact, etc.). Obs. c. To deny, renounce, or repudiate allegiance to (God, a lord, etc.). 4. To abandon, leave entirely, withdraw from; esp. to withdraw one's presence and help or companionship from; to desert.
ii. In order to prevent mercy and truth from renouncing and departing from us, we must bind them about our necks and write them upon the table of our hearts which is done by holding fast to the word of God which reveals, declares, and demands them (Pro 6:20-21; Pro 7:1-3).