Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3 (ESV)
As we continue living under the guidance of a Father, we see that it is worth any cost to keep the treasure he defines as valuable close to us. This is illustrated in Proverbs as wearing it around the neck as an identifying pendant and having it imprinted in the tablet of the heart. This two-fold treasure is to be displayed and internalized if we are to live the life the Father has designed for us.
The qualities of steadfast love and faithfulness are familiar to those who walk in covenant with God. He describes his character with them. They guarantee that he will always act in a way beneficial to the covenant partner. He was never forced to make a covenant with anyone. There was nothing in him that required getting in league with someone who could offer what he lacked. He instituted a covenant because of his steadfast love. He fulfilled the covenant by his faithfulness.
Because of his love, he binds himself to the promise to bless those who can’t find blessings elsewhere. From mankind’s perspective, it seems that “out of the blue” God comes to Abraham and promises to make him a blessing to the whole world. Abraham had done nothing to warrant this agreement. God had chosen him because of something in God, not in Abraham. Much later on after Abraham’s lineage had become Israel and they had violated the covenant, God again promises to restore them to a position that would fulfill the purpose in the Garden of Eden. Again, they had not merited it. He was acting consistent with his character of “steadfast love.” It is a love that does not depend on another’s response for its existence.
This kind of love is the gift that every believer in Christ Jesus receives. As long as we are aware of being loved like that, we can freely pass it on to others. If we lose sight of it, we will revert to a lesser kind of love that is conditional and temporary. Too many of us are trying to live according to Christian doctrine without the necklace and tablet.
Faithfulness is that aspect of the Father’s character that acts always according to his promise regardless of circumstance. God cannot be enticed to waver from his commitment to do what he says. Our faith can be stable only when it is based on his faithfulness. Though some have taught that our faith is like a commodity that we can acquire and collect like money, the truth is that our faith is totally based on his unwillingness to change his promise to his people. Our faith can endure because he will never betray us.
The Father instructs his sons to value these treasures. We must never be without them. To try to embrace life without them is a sure way to failure. But both God and mankind will note the distinction of a life lived with them: “So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:4).