The Fantastic Four.
“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! … don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them.” – Proverbs 3:3, 21 NLT
From reading the Proverbs we know that wisdom is beyond value. It is priceless. It is more profitable than silver and pay better dividends than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies and there is nothing in the world you could pursue that can even remotely compare. But Solomon gives us a few other “treasures” worth getting our hands on. But these commodities tend to get overlooked and undervalued. They seem cheap and pedestrian, common place and easy to come by. But like wisdom, they are actually in short supply. The first is loyalty and the second is kindness. The Hebrew words are checed and emeth, and while they are two separate words, in the Hebrew language they form one idea or concept. They could actually be translated “faithful covenant love” or “loyal [covenant] love and faithfulness.” The word “faithful” acts as an adjective helping to describe the kind of covenant love we are to exhibit. It is to be faithful, consistent, loyal, steadfast, unchanging, reliable, and trustworthy. Why is that so important? Solomon tells us. If we tie them around our neck for safekeeping, like a valuable ring, and write them on the tablet of our heart, we will “find favor with both God and people…and earn a good reputation.” These two things will result in grace and favor with not only those around us, but with God Himself. The word translated “reputation” in the New Living Translation is actually “understanding or insight” in the Hebrew. But it conveys the idea that both God and men will have a good understanding of who you really are, they will see and understand you clearly. As a result, you will have a good reputation. All because you practice faithful covenant love. What does that look like? Well, with God is appears as trust, as Solomon explains in verses 5-8. It is loving God enough to trust Him and rely on His wisdom instead of your own. It is doing His will and not your own. It is honoring Him with your earthly income and accepting His loving discipline. With people, it is being a loyal, faithful friend regardless of the circumstances. It is not giving up on someone just because it appears they have given up on you. It is what will keep a struggling marriage together. It is what will help a friendship survive hardship. Faithful covenant love.
The second two things Solomon encourages us to pursue seem even more ordinary and common place. He says, “don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them” (Proverbs 3:21 NLT). Why? Because they will refresh your soul. They are like the jewels on an expensive necklace – small, but the very things that give the necklace its value. They will protect us as we live life. They will keep us from stumbling along the way. They will let us sleep without fear, not having to worry about ever having to face the disaster and destruction coming upon those who do evil. The first of these two is “sound wisdom” or wisdom that is effective. It applies to everyday life and makes a difference. The second word has to do with discernment or discretion. It is craftiness, or the ability to navigate the ups and downs of life successfully. Both come from God. They are an extension of the wisdom we receive from Him. God’s wisdom is not ethereal and useless. It is practical and applicable to everyday life. These things will keep us out of the ditch, helping us make wise choices, and showing us how to stay on the path that God has prescribed for us. Loyalty, kindness, common sense and discernment. Four things we can’t live without. Priceless, precious, treasures from the very hand of God.
Father, continue to show me my need for these four things in my life. May I continue to grow in my estimation of and appreciation for them. Thank You for making them available to me. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men