Proverbs 3:3

“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around
your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 3:3 ESV

The thing that caught my attention in this verse is the verb forsake. Throughout the book we are instructed, in some form or another, not to forsake wisdom. See 3:1 for example, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments …”

But here, the instruction is to keep them (i.e., steadfast love and faithfulness) from forsaking us. In other words, “Don’t let them disappear on you.” And, the writer tells us how to keep them from disappearing on us: “bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” The imagery is both external and internal.

What does it mean to bind them around your neck? Should we wear a necklace with the words “steadfast love” and “faithfulness” dangling from it? Would doing that prevent steadfast love and faithfulness from abandoning us? This seems to be a “letter of the law” vs. “spirit of the law” situation. Technically, wearing such a necklace appears to fulfill the letter of the law. But, what is the spirit, or intention, of the law? Is it simply to create a new line of jewelry?

In consideration of the command to “write these words on the tablet of your heart” it seems better to understand “bind them around your neck” as an outward reflection of the inner change that happens when we write these things on the tablets of our hearts. In other words, the internal changes in our hearts are exhibited in our behaviors.

Are you adorning yourself with steadfast love and faithfulness? If so, how? If not, why not?

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