Treasuring God’s Word and Worship
“My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 7:1-3)
Why do we wear rings? If you wear a wedding ring, does it remind you of your spouse or the vows you’ve made to each other? If you wear other rings, like a high school championship ring, what do you think about when you look at it so many years later? I have two rings that I usually wear—one is a love-knot, reminding me of how much God loves me and how I am called to love others. I am unmarried, but the ring on my left hand represents the gospel, reminding me that Christ is my husband, and letting others who recognize it know it, too. In our passage today Solomon advises his son (either his son or Israel) to bind his (God’s) commandments on his fingers, as well as keep them in sight and writing them on his heart. Gill writes, “Let the…doctrines be as ready and familiar as if they were at the fingers’ ends; or let them be always fresh in memory, as a piece of thread is tied about the fingers, to put in mind of anything to be done; or let them be as rings upon the fingers, both memorial and ornamental: or put into practice the things taught and commanded; the fingers being the instruments of action, and especially of doing things nicely and accurately” (1) We are not to only study God’s Word but remember it and put it to practical use in our lives. (See James 1:22-25.)
Solomon emphasizes a particular aspect of storing up Scripture: “keep my words,” “keep my commandments,” and “keep my teaching.” In every case, his son is to remember and hold dear all the instructions from him, as from God. They are to be in our minds and hearts, influencing our eyes and fingers. They are to be the apple of our eyes, a term that may refer to the pupil, which admits light to the eye and reflects images. We know this phrase as a term of endearment and all that we hold dear has its roots in our hearts. So we are to “Write them upon the table of thine heart; that they may be strong in the memory, deep in the affection, and abiding in the understanding and will.” (2) This teaching is from the Lord himself. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
“We must lay up God’s commandments safely. Not only, Keep them, and you shall live; but, keep them as those that cannot live without them…Let the word of God dwell in us, and so be written where it will be always at hand to be read. Thus we shall be kept from the fatal effects of our own passions, and the snares of Satan. Let God’s word confirm our dread of sin, and resolutions against it.” (3) Lord, as we worship today, help us to treasure and keep the Word we hear. Help us to have it and the gospel ready all week, for our protection and a message of hope for others during this Christmas season.
(1) John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Proverbs 7:3, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-7.html
(3) Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Proverbs 7:1-3 https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-concise/proverbs/7.html