Proverbs 3:1-12 (ESV)
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.
3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
Day 1: Loving God
Verses 5-6 say, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Notice the repetition of the word “all.” The command to trust in the LORD with “all your heart” requires exclusivity. We are not to be divided in our allegiances. We are to be devoted to God alone and trust Him with all of our heart. Likewise, we are to “acknowledge [God]” “in all [our] ways.” That means our commitment to God is not only exclusive, but also exhaustive. It is comprehensive. There is nothing in life that does not filter through our allegiance to God. What drives your decisions and actions? Is it the word of God or your own will? Are you shaped by the teachings of God’s Word or are you shaped more by your own desires, impulses, experiences, and feelings?
Verses 7-12 describes some concrete ways that this trust in the LORD should manifest itself. Are you given to the consistent practice of repentance (“turning away from evil”) and humility (vv. 7-8)? Does the way you use your money give weight to God and His purposes and priorities (vv. 9-10)? Do you humbly submit to the LORD’s discipline or do you respond with bitterness and resentment?
Pray that the Spirit of God would expose pride and unbelief in various areas of your life.
Confess the ways in which you have leaned on your own understanding and taken matters into your own hands instead of trusting in the LORD.
Pray that God would increase your humility and faith.
Day 2: Loving One Another
The “son” that is addressed in verse 1 is not a specific individual but a generic category that includes all the people of God in need of instruction. In fact, in Exodus 4:22, God explicitly calls the nation of Israel, “my firstborn son.” God reveals Himself to us as Father, and calls us His children. In Christ, the Church is constituted as the family of God. Jesus says in Luke 8:21, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Similarly, 1 Timothy 5:1-2 says, “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.” So, then, we are to take heed to the instruction of God’s Word in the church even as Proverbs 3:1 exhorts us, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments.” Do you prioritize the church as your spiritual family and pay attention to the teaching from God’s Word?
Pray that God would increase your love for the church.
Pray that God would grow our church in our functional dependence on Him.
Pray that God would grow our church in our submission to His Word.
Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
It’s not a coincidence that the “steadfast love” and “faithfulness” enjoined in verse 3 are frequently paired throughout Scripture to sum up the attributes of God. When God reveals Himself to Moses in Exodus 34:5-7, He says, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” These two characteristics are often used together to describe God’s commitment to His chosen people (Ps. 36:5; 40:11; 85:10; 86:15; 88:11; 92:2; 98:3; 108:4; 115:1). His love is steadfast, not fickle. God’s love toward His covenant people is unchanging. He is loyal. God also displays “faithfulness.” He is true to Himself. He does not deviate from who He is. He is not contingent on changing circumstances or changing moods. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is always faithful and true (Rev. 3:14).
We, as the objects of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness, are to respond with similar devotion to God. Psalm 26:1-3 describes it this way, “Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.” To live with “steadfast love” and “faithfulness,” then, is to live “[trust] in the LORD without wavering,” to live with unwavering commitment to God. So, then, “steadfast love” and “faithfulness” are not some generic, areligious moral qualities, they are profoundly religious. One cannot live with “steadfast love” and “faithfulness” without faith in God. It is when we live out our faith in God that we will “find favor and good success in the sight of God and man” (v. 4). Do you live out your faith in public? Is your steadfast love and faithfulness toward God evident to your neighbors?
Pray that God would give you the wisdom and courage to live with steadfast love and faithfulness toward God in every aspect of your private and public life.
Pray for the salvation of your neighbors and friends, and for opportunities to share the gospel with them.
Pray that our church would grow in favor and good success in the sight of God and man.