Proverbs 3:1

Chapter 3 exhorts us in the study of truth. Unquestionably, God gives wisdom and is the source of it, but that is not a shortcut. Study is not excluded because we ask wisdom from God. He has given us means of obtaining wisdom and we are to seek wisdom through those. This chapter teaches us some of the practical means of obtaining wisdom and some of the practical effects of wisdom. We learn here that walking in wisdom is walking with God. The chapter ends with the contrasted destinies of the righteous and the wicked.

My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

– Proverbs 3:1

Verses 1-10 urge a full and joyful commitment to wisdom so that we do not lean on our own understanding but trust fully in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6). The latter verses of this section illustrate the evidence of such a commitment to wisdom and the fruit produced by it. It gives us the picture of a happy and quiet life.

Verse 1 continues the fatherly directions to his son. He admonishes his son to “forget not” and to “keep”. The word for forget means to mislay something. It has the idea of losing something through lack of attention and care. The word for keep means to guard and to watch so as to preserve. In a sense the words are opposites of one another. Solomon tells his son to commit to this and be deliberate about guarding it so you don’t lose it.

The son is to guard the “law” and “commandments” of his father. The word for law means a teaching or instruction. It commonly refers to the law given to Moses or even the Pentateuch as a whole. Here it is the law of the father, or the wisdom he teaches through inspiration of the Spirit that applies the law to the individual. Commandments are commands and, taken with law, encompasses the whole of divine instruction. This brings us back to the Word of God and that there is no obtaining and keeping of wisdom apart from God’s Word.

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