devotionLoving devotion is the motivation of the spiritual life.  In Proverbs 3 we find Solomon challenging his son with three spiritual exhortations.

The first exhortation is: “Be Obedient (Proverbs 3:1).  We have seen in an earlier devotion that 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 is: “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 as king.   The king urges his son to adhere to two spiritual qualities in life and manner: “mercy and truth”.  Solomon longed 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).  He knew a benevolent king would  be dedicated to truth and, when passing judgment, would 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-kindnessKindness 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!

Solomon exhorted his son to be a merciful, honest king; in so doing he would 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.

Ephesians 4:32 – And 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 from Proverbs 3 in July (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith