Word Wednesday

Word Wednesday: A new understanding of Proverbs 3:3 or How I want to be more than a Golden Retriever


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 with God and man. (Proverbs 3:3,4) Today’s Bite of Bread.

I am a golden retriever.

Well, according to a book a friend of mine read years ago that associates your personality with animals, I am a dog.

I don’t know what to think about that.

On the one hand, I think that in the dog category golden retrievers are beautiful, and I guess if I were to be a dog, a golden retriever would be my choice. I mean, I’m kind of thankful that I’m not an English bulldog. They slobber. This is my friend Amy’s dog. He is very cute sunning himself.

English bullgod Amy Foreman 2
“Sampson” He’s not very pretty, but oh that face.”


The golden retriever is known for its loyalty.

I am very loyal, sometimes to a fault.

[tweetability]The problem with our strengths is that they can also be our weaknesses.[/tweetability]

Have you experienced this?

I have always considered myself a very loving person. But I’ve discovered that my empathy and love can become enabling rather than freeing or healing. I also realized a few years ago that my “people pleaser” often was the catalyst for faithfulness rather than a good heart. I actually feared people. If I was afraid of them; I was not as loving as I thought.

Proverbs 3:3,4 are beautiful verses. I love the poetic language penned thousands of years before our eyes touched them.

Wear love and faithfulness like a necklace and brand them upon your heart. . . let these qualities be in you and visible for all to see. (Lee paraphrase)

At face value, this golden retriever reads Proverbs 3 and thinks she has it all together. I’m loving. Faithful. But there is so much more meaning to the words “love” and “faithfulness” when we dig underneath our English translations. Come dig with me.

The counterpart for “love” is the Hebrew word Hesed.

According to The Key Word Study Bible, this is one of the most important words in the Old Testament. It’s important because Hesed describes the essence of God Himself and what he calls us to be.

Hesed is not only love, but it means kindness, mercy, and faithfulness. It denotes how we relate to people in our lives.

The counterpart for “faithfulness” is the Hebrew word Emet.

This word means firmness, stability, security, continuance, faithfulness, integrity and truth. “It is the principal Hebrew word to signify truth.” (The Key Word)

Let hesed and emet never leave you. 






The sweet, loyal personality of the golden retriever pales in comparison to the strength of these words.

How does the understanding of the Hebrew words affect your understanding of Proverbs 3:3?

I feel a prayer coming on. Grab my hand.

“Lord, we do love you. Make us people of hesed and emet. Let your Holy Spirit have His way in us molding and shaping our hearts and tattooing these qualities on our hearts. You haven’t called us to be push overs or loyal beyond reason but life giving, forgiving, and kind. Make us people of truth. Firm and bold. We love you. Amen.”

With Purpose,





  1. Janice

    Andy… You remind me of a Terrior… You are loving, thoughtful and others love to be near your sweet spirit… AND I would always strive to be on Team Andy… Can do….Attention to the smallest details in the needs of other… Most important.. Uses her great talents for our Heavenly Father! Love you, Andy!

    1. Thank you Janice! I’ve not had a terrier, so I have no idea what they are like. I’ll take your word for it. Thanks for being on Team Andy. :) You’re an awesome cheerleader. I love you too.

  2. Andy,
    Beautiful words! Thank you for sharing. You are blessed with insight and share your insight simply and faithfully. You are a blessing! Kelly

    1. Thanks Kelly! Blessings to you!

  3. Jan Doke

    Golden Retrievers are indeed beautiful, but they don’t compare to your depth of beauty. I don’t think you’ve ever been a pushover!

    1. Thank you my friend! Yes, I’ve definitely been a pushover, but old age is helping with that and the Holy Spirit. :)

    2. Hi Andy – Wonderful devo!! I “stumbled” upon it while looking up the meaning of Proverbs 3:3 – particularly looking for information on the phrase “bind them around your neck” and what that means in Jewish customs. All of the translations use the exact same wording there – none of them vary on that particular phrase, which made me curious.
      Anyway, I loved reading your study! It’s so much fun (and educational) to dig in deep and find out all that God is saying in the scriptures. Thanks for sharing!

      1. Hi Connie! So glad you stumbled upon this site and this post! You must be a kindred spirit study-er. 😊 I love all the things you put in the search, and I’m so excited that one of my posts came up with those categories! Hope you’ll come back to visit again or join our fellowship. And thanks for leaving a comment! Blessings!

  4. Cheryl Johnston

    Thanks for the good words, Andy! I learned something today. I think I would be a cocker spaniel. I’m praying with you!

    1. Thanks Cheryl! I’ve learned something too. Be very careful and not in a rush to post when you are tired. But thankful sweet friend. Cocker Spaniel’s are sweet!

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