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Spiritual Health (in Prov. 3:1-8)
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Let me address that last verse. Verse 8 needs some attention as we begin.
If you just read verse 8 – without context – and some do – your impression might be that this is a promise of physical health.
Against that impression, there is context. What is this about? The context clearly reflects that this is about spiritual health. By “spiritual health” I mean – your relationship with God.
Look through the paragraph and you’ll see it. What words and phrases do you see: “teaching, commandments, steadfast love, finding favor with God, trusting the Lord, walking in straight paths, fearing the Lord and turning away from evil.” What does the context indicate? Spiritual health. So the imagery in verse 8 isn’t a promise of perfect physical health. It is figurative language suggestive of the spiritual health of our relationship with God.
All right – that answered – what are we told to do to insure good spiritual health, a fit and vigorous relationship with God?
To be receivers of what the Gracious God of heaven offers – what must I do?
Look back into this paragraph. “…do not forget” the teaching. Let your heart “keep” His “commandments.” The length of days isn’t time on earth, it is time with God (that through Christ can extend into eternity).
So, if I want a strong, healthy relationship with God, I must “let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake” me. Write the words of God on my heart; that’s internal journaling.
“Trust in the Lord will all your heart.” Do not “lean on your own understanding.” “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths.” Carefully avoid arrogance, “fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”
The result of these responses to God? A good, long-term relationship with God that is healthy, strong and perfectly beneficial.