My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments:…
I. TO REMEMBER AND KEEP IN OUR HEARTS THE THINGS WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK (vers. 1, 2). Interest dictates to us the propriety of keeping God's commandments.
II. TO LIVE IN THE EXERCISE OF MERCY AND TRUTH (ver. 3), in every part of our intercourse with our fellow-creatures, however defective they may be in the practice of these virtues to us. As workers under the Spirit we are required to write the law of kindness and of truth upon the tables of our heart, by maintaining deep impressions of it, by meditating upon the peaceful motives that should excite us to that virtue, and by endeavouring, through the grace of Christ, to have our hearts habitually disposed to all those duties which are the natural fruits of love and integrity. God is well pleased, not only with the reverence and love which His people show to Himself, but with that generosity and mercy, that sincerity and faithfulness, which they evince to their fellow-men. To find in His children His true though imperfect image greatly delights the Deity. That understanding which is good in the sight of God and man is another fruit of the constant practice of mercy and truth.
III. TO DEPEND ON GOD, AND NOT ON OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING (ver. 5). To trust in God is to depend on Him for bestowing on us every needful blessing, and preserving us from all evil. This dependence on God is to be exercised with all our hearts, our judgments being persuaded that God is the only and the all-sufficient object of confidence, and our souls resting with full satisfaction in His power and faithfulness. We must renounce every sublunary dependence; we must not make our own understanding a staff to our hearts.
IV. TO BE LIBERAL IN THE SERVICE OF GOD (vers. 9, 10). Earthly substance is necessary for the use of our bodies, but we are called to make a nobler use of it than in the mere service of the outward man. We are to honour the Lord with it, making no use of any part of our increase till we have set apart a reasonable proportion of it for the service of God.
V. TO BEHAVE ARIGHT UNDER AFFLICTIVE PROVIDENCES (ver. 11). We are warned against despising Divine rebukes, or fainting under them. The rebukes of providence are despised when persons regard not the supreme hand which afflicts, when they consider not the design of God in afflicting, or when, through stupidity of mind or hardness of heart, they neglect to comply with it. Afflictions may be despised when men do not value them as necessary and useful. Weariness under the Divine correction is another common fault, which we must avoid with care. Our hearts must not fret against the Lord, nor suffer reflecting thoughts to spring up, for God never exceeds the due measure in distressing us. No ingredient is poured into the cup of affliction, but by infinite wisdom and grace. Ever keep in mind who it is that afflicts us. Let all flesh keep silent before Him. He is a Father, and chastens us in love.
VI. TO ESTEEM WISDOM, AND EARNESTLY PURSUE IT (vers. 13-26). All the treasures of wisdom are hid in Christ, and He communicates the precious gift by His Word and Spirit. The excellency of wisdom appears in the gifts she bestows. She is a munificent princess, holding in both hands the richest presents, to be given to her servants. A happy life extended to old age is given to the lovers of wisdom, and riches and honour are given in the same sense as length of days. And religion is not less conducive to pleasure than it is to honour and wealth. It will readily be admitted that some of wisdom's ways are pleasant; but are they all so? There is peace and pleasure in repentance, which is sweetened by the apprehension of God's mercy in Christ. There is pleasure in self-denial, for he that practises it knows that he is the true self-seeker. There is pleasure and peace in tribulations, because when they abound, consolations abound much more by Christ. There is peace in fighting the Lord's battles. All the exercises, all the privileges, all the hopes of religion, are full of pleasure. Add the glory which belongs to wisdom, as it appears in creation and providence (vers. 19, 20). No wisdom is sound but that which is taught by the Word of God, and approved by Him who is the author of wisdom. This sound wisdom makes us discreet and prudent, and guards us against that selfish cunning which has so often assumed its name. Safety is another of the great advantages which always attend wisdom. Walking in the ways of the Lord, we may banish those fears that would distress the soul. The Lord is a sure ground of confidence in the worst of times. Our proper exercise in such seasons is to trust in the Lord, and to pour out our hearts before Him, knowing that He will be a refuge for us.
Parallel VersesKJV: My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: