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.
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.”