The Word of God is not only a storehouse of knowledge, but also a powerhouse of wisdom for every believer. In it, the Lord has provided everything we need to serve Him and others successfully. Whether we believe that or not is revealed by our behavior.
We can say that the Bible is of supreme importance in our lives, but unless we make its study and application a priority our actions do not support our claim.
The book of Proverbs was inspired through King Solomon. In the beginning of Solomon's reign as King of Israel, God appeared to him and asked, "What shall I give you?" Solomon did not ask God for wealth, honor, or even victory over his enemies; he simply asked God for wisdom (2 Chron. 1:7-12). God granted him just that. His book of Proverbs, inspired by God, contains some of that wisdom; 513 proverbs pondered by Solomon, along with some proverbs of others whom Solomon likely influenced are contained in this 31 chapter book.
Each proverb is a simple, moral statement (or illustration) that highlights and teaches fundamental realities about life. We should pay much attention to Proverbs considering they were penned by a wise man who was empowered by an all-wise God.
Proverb 7:1-3 instructs us about God's Wise Word.
"1 My son, keep
my words, and treasure
my commands and live, and my law
as the apple of your eye.
on your fingers; write
on the tablet of your heart" (NKJV).
In this passage we see, first…
- The Priority of God's Word
In each verse of this text there is an action assigned which emphasizes the priority of God's Word. In verse one –"keep", and "treasure". In verse two – "keep" again. In verse three – "Bind" and "write". Each of these illustrative words point to the priority that God's Word is to have in our lives: keep (be faithful to, conform to, and follow), treasure (collect & store up, hold as precious), bind (tie them to, fasten around), and write (to form by inscribing).
Similar words are used in relating passages:
"My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God." (NKJV).
"My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.
Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man." (NKJV).
"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (NKJV).
God wants His Word (His commands, His law) to be: kept, treasured, bound, and written in our hearts so that it permeates every part of our being. When He is preeminent, His Words hold preeminence.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, "For where
is, there your heart will be also" (NKJV). When we treasure God's Word we put it first. In our "40 Days in the Word" study Pastor Rick Warren pointed out the fact that we all have 24 hours in a day; how much of that time do you spend in God's Word? We tend to take time for the things are most important to us (We take time to eat, sleep, and watch the game). We must prioritize and take time to treasure God's Word (I used "take time" instead of "make time" because none of us are capable of making time – that's a God thing).
This passage also reveals…
- The Placement of God's Word (Within you, the apple of your eye, on your fingers, on the tablet of your heart)
Each verse vividly describes where we are to actively: keep, treasure, bind, and write God's Wise Words.
A. As the apple of your eye (affecting your perspective)
The "apple" of a person's eye is his pupil. The pupil is the dark center of your eye that receives light and enables vision. As I was studying about the pupil and how it responds to light, I began thinking about the different kinds of light our pupils receive on a daily basis. It seems to me that most of it, these days, comes from a glowing screen.
Most of us are screen slaves. While at work, play, and rest (even worship for that matter) we stare at screens. The average American over the age of 2 spends more than 34 hours a week watching live television, says a new Nielsen report — plus another three to six hours watching DVR'd programs. That's a lot of screen time!
Studies are still being conducted on how much time we spend on our smart phones. But a recent study conducted by a British telecom service found that 37 percent of adults and 60 percent of teens admit they are "highly addicted" to the devices. It goes on to reveal that the vast majority of smart phone users (81%) have their mobile device switched on ALL of the time, even when they are in bed, with four in ten adults (38%) and teens (40%) admitting using their smart phone after it woke them. Over half (51 per cent) of adults and two-thirds (65%) of teenagers say they have used their smart phone while socializing with others, nearly a quarter (23%) of adults and a third (34%) of teenagers have used them during mealtimes and over a fifth (22%) of adult and nearly half (47%) of teenage smart phone users admitted using or answering their handset in the bathroom or on the toilet.
The Washington Post reports that we have all become so Internet dependent that we might as well be robots. A study reported that 53% of us feel upset when denied access to the Internet and 40% feel lonely if we are unable to go online. One person surveyed said that being deprived of the internet was "like having my hand chopped off." Others said it was akin to giving up drinking and smoking. Many of them experienced feelings of sadness or loneliness even if denied online access for a short time.
Our time tells us what we treasure. Our treasure then tells us what we trust. I wonder what our faith would look like if we spent as much time in the Scriptures as we do on our smart phones or in front of our televisions? Can you imagine if we as Christians were as addicted to having the Light of the Scriptures enter into our pupils (the apple of our eye) at the same rate and duration as the light of our screens? Perhaps we should occasionally "go dark" (turn off the glowing screens in our lives) in order to receive the Light of God's Word.
B. On your fingers (affecting your practice)
The familiar picture of someone tying a piece of string around his finger to remember something comes to mind. This word picture also implies that God's Word should be at our fingertips ready for use. When God's Word is a priority in our lives it will flow out in practice. True belief leads to behavior. God's Word, hidden in our hearts, flows out through our hands to those around us. Knowledge puffs up the knower (1 Cor. 8:1), but God's wisdom creates a worker who serves His Savior.
C. On the tablet of your heart (affecting your passions)
As a parent, I pray that God would write His moral law on the hearts of my kids. I like to think that my rules have reasons, and I try to explain that those reasons are to benefit my children ultimately. I set up boundaries in their lives that serve as guardrails to protect them from danger. Just like the guardrails on the highway, they are not down in the ditch; they're located up on the shoulder where one might "technically" drive. But for safety's sake, I place the guardrails a few feet from the ravine so that if they crash (and they probably will) at least they will just get a few bumps and bruises and not lose their lives.
I am praying that when the day comes for my children to leave the nest that they will have so internalized these guardrails that they will carry them with them throughout life as their own. In other words, that God would "write them on the tablets of their heart".
- The Power of God's Word
Why is it so important for God's Wise Words to have priority and the proper place in your life? So "that they may keep you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words" (Prov. 7:5 NKJV). God's Wise Words keep us from temptation. They guide us in the path of peace and purity in the way everlasting
There's power in God's Word that will keep us from sin and make us like the Savior.
Psalm 119:9 says "How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word" (NKJV). Psalm 119:11 says, "Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (NKJV). Psalm 119:35-37 says, "Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way" (NKJV).
I am reminded of the words from an old Hymn, "When we walk with the Lord, in the Light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way. While we do His good will, He abides with us still; and with all who will trust and obey."
We were reminded last week that the Word of God is quick and POWERFUL (Heb. 4:12).
Because God's Word is powerful, it needs to be a priority in our lives and have that treasured placement so it will always be on our minds.
Questions for discussion:
- What are some ways that we can take time for God's Word?
- Share with the class how God's Word, hidden in your heart, has helped you in an everyday situation.
- Based on exposure time, what would you say is the "APPLE of your eye"?