Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.
These are new words in the Proverbs – steadfast love and faithfulness. Note the overall focus on steadiness. We are to have a love that is steadfast. This same term for love is repeated over and over again in the Psalms for the love of God. His love is a steadfast love based on his covenant promise which he will not break. Faithfulness – keeping one’s promise to keep a relationship and commitment – is also used often for God. Indeed, God’s steadfast love and faithfulness form the basis for hope and confidence for God’s covenant people. They can count on God to come through with his promises even though they stumble and fail to keep their promises.
But this proverb is not teaching that it is okay to fail to keep steadfast love and faithfulness. It makes the point that as much as one is able to keep these attributes, then he can expect to find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. For people respect a person who keeps steady, especially who loves with a steady love; a person who can be counted on to keep his word and does not change with the direction of the wind.
Such attributes are to be bound around the neck and written in the heart. How do you do this? By meditation on God’s Word that teaches what love is and to what we are to be faithful; by daily prayer for love and faithfulness; and by conscious obedience. Like any habit, it is repetition that ingrains an attribute in us. Practice love and faithfulness. Make such qualities priorities in your life. Just as you make time for what is truly important to you, so it is with these attributes. You will work at loving and being faithful if they matter to you.
How important are they? Important enough that they identify God’s relationship to us in Christ. For Christ was obedient to his Father so that steadfast love might be shown to us.
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