DevotionIn my devotional on Proverbs 3 in January, I stated: The spiritual life is motivated, not out of DUTY, but out of DEVOTION.  In this chapter we find Solomon challenging his son with three exhortations.

The first exhortation was: “Be Obedient (Proverbs 3:1). A wise son opens his heart to his parent’s instructions: “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments” (3:1).  Jesus taught His disciples that Obedience was the test for genuine discipleship. We read,  “If a man love me, he will keep my words24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings…” (John 14:23a, 24a).

Solomon’s second exhortation was: “Be Spiritually Conscientious (3:3-4).

Proverbs 3:3-4 “Let not mercy and truth [sincerity; without hypocrisy] forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So mercy and graceshalt thou find favour [grace; loving favor] and good understanding [discernment and insight] in the sight of God and man.”

As we read Proverbs 3:3-4, we need to keep in mind that Solomon is teaching and exhorting a son who will be his successor.  The king urges his son to adhere to two spiritual qualities in his life and manner: “mercy and truth”. As a father, he longs for his son to make those qualities an overriding practice of his life (bind them to his neck and engrave them permanently upon his heart and thoughts).  A benevolent king will be dedicated to truth and transparency.  In exercising the duties of his office and passing judgment, he should be a merciful king. What is mercy?

Mercy is more than kindness; it is selfless loving-kindness

Permit me a farm boy illustration that I hope will draw a distinction between mere biscuit and honeykindness and loving-kindness. Kindness is the farmer’s wife serving a hot, fresh from the oven, buttered biscuit; loving-kindness is that same biscuit served with honey running over the sides!

In summary, Solomon’s second exhortation is for his son to be a merciful, honest king; in so doing he will be the object of God’s grace and man’s admiration (3:4).

“Mercy and truth” should be qualities evidenced by all Christians! Having known the mercy of God’s forgiveness and the loving-favor of His adoption, we should be merciful, loving and sincere with others.

Ephesians 4:32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

* I will focus on the third of Solomon’s exhortations in March (Proverbs 3:5-6).

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