Love and faithfulness. Two things that are sorely lacking in this world. It’s the reason why relationships, and particularly marriages fall apart in this world.
Solomon writes in verses 3-4,
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
What does love and faithfulness towards God mean? A lot of it has to do with trusting him enough to obey him. To be so sure of God’s love for you, that you trust him implicitly, and show it by the way that you live.
Solomon expounds on this in verses 5-7,
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.
When we love God, we put our complete trust in him. In all that we do, wherever we are, we acknowledge that he is the center of our lives, not ourselves. And we lean on his wisdom and not our own understanding.
That’s hard sometimes. Let’s be honest. It’s hard a lot of times.
One area that is especially hard is in the area of finances. Solomon writes,
Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (9-10)
Whether you believe in tithing or not, one thing is crystal clear. Your money is NOT your own. Jesus Christ bought you with a price. And if we are to honor God with our body (I Corinthians 6:19-20), how much more should we honor God with our wealth?
Often times, people that object to the practice of tithing are people that object because deep down, they’re saying, “It’s my money. I have a right to do with it what I want.”
I would agree that 10% of your money doesn’t belong to God. Actually 100% of your money belongs to God. You are merely a manager of the money that God has given you.
So whether you tithe or not, you should be asking, “God, how do YOU want me to use this money? It’s yours. How should I use it?”
We are also to submit ourselves to God’s discipline. Solomon writes,
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (11-12)
Sometimes as we read his Word, or as we listen to the Sunday message, we hear things that are hard. The Holy Spirit rebukes us for something in our lives. The way we treat our wives or children. The way we use our finances. The way we act at work. And it’s painful. We want to close our ears to it. But if we truly love God, we will submit ourselves to him, leaning not on our own understanding and following our own ways, but following his.
And God says when we do, we’ll find life and peace (16-18). And if we cling to his wisdom, fearing him, then we’ll have no need to fear anything else (21-26).
But not only are we to show love and faithfulness to God, but to each other. Solomon says that we are not to withhold good from others when we have the power to act. In other words, whenever you have opportunity to do good, whether at home or work or wherever you are, do it. Don’t wait.
Solomon also says not to act treacherously against your neighbor either, for God is watching, and he is against such people.
Solomon concludes the chapter by saying,
He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. The wise inherit honor, but fools he holds up to shame. (34-35)
When we mock God’s wisdom, and hold to our own ways, he will let us reap what we sow. What do we reap? Sorrow, shame, and ultimately death. But God gives grace, honor, life, and peace to those who humble themselves, submit themselves to his discipline, and follow him in all his ways.
What will you do?