“My son, do not lose sight of these—keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.” – Proverbs 3:21-23 (ESV)
We might take a moment to think about how much our appearance is important to us. We, well most anyway, apply some effort to ‘look presentable’ in degrees from slight to excessive. While such effort has an effect on our outward appearances, we ought to put some thought into how we might appear according to our inner-self. This is best accomplished by observing today’s cautions. That is to maintain sound wisdom and discretion and not let them drop from our sight or attention. The promise, if we do is life for our soul and ‘adornment for our neck.’ The Hebrew word for ‘adornment’ speaks of maintaining a graceful or gracious attitude toward others. Such an effort will look good on our lives. People will notice that we are people who offer grace to others. Such people tend to be humble and popular because of their manner that shines from within. Additionally, there is a promise that such ‘adornment’ being as obvious as an attractive medallion hanging around our neck provides security and stability in our daily walk. This is the means to a life above reproach which is manifesting the grace of God in our lives.
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” – Exodus 34:6 (ESV)
God’s heart: It’s infinite in love and faithfulness, isn’t it? We’re promised that God’s love is steadfast. That it’s permanent too. So, no need to worry or fear that we will lose our connection to it. A mountain spring that might be headwaters of a great river is at the beginning only a stream bubbling up as it fills a small depression and then overflows, running downhill. We could watch a long time waiting for the source to run out but it probably won’t. Behind the spring is a mountain full of limitless pure fresh water waiting to spring out. God’s love is like that, if you can imagine it. In Hawaii Kilauea seems to be nearly an endless series of eruptions since 1790 with increasing, decreasing, and increasing lava flows but always active to some degree. The most recent massive eruption was in 1983. God’s promise of mercy and grace and his promise of patience and love can be trusted to be far more abounding than either a mountain spring or furious volcano. God’s faithfulness will never be exhausted and even if we conceive of the others possibly ending someday, God’s promise never will, it’s not possible.
“They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.” Nehemiah 9:17 (ESV)
The company of people in this passage, had resisted the wonderful and miraculous acts God had done for them. After 400 years as slaves in Egypt, God freed them and led them out from under Egyptian oppression. But the Children of Israel were stubborn, stiff-necked and rejected God’s plan. Where He might have said, “Alright then, go your way and be damned for all I care.” Or, perhaps, “I did all this for you and this is how you show thanks and appreciation to Me?” But God is not like that. God forgives graciously and shows mercy. He doesn’t lose His temper and his love toward us is unfailing. God does not forsake us when we refuse to remember what He has done to rescue us from death and eternal separation from Him. And fail to acknowledge what He does for us each day. The list of what God did for Israel is long as is the failures in response. Even when we idolize someone or something other than God, He does not forsake us in our wildernesses. Great promises should encourage us to remain faithful by the grace He gives us.