The Berean Expositor
Volume 10 - Page 130 of 162
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has been shed abroad within it. The Proverbs therefore expand the thought given in
15: 15 by saying:--
"Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith" (16, 17).
As the Lord hath said, "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things
which he possesseth". Not only is the heart the well-spring of life, not only does is show
itself in the countenance and in the attitude of the afflicted; it is further written,
"The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and added learning to his lips" (16: 23).
The mere "talk of the lips tendeth only to penury", but a wise and instructed heart
teacheth the mouth the words that shall be "in season to him that is weary"; it will add
the "grace" to the lips, so that all shall be, as it were, "seasoned with salt"; "for out of the
abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh".
Another reference to the "merry heart" is found in 17: 22:--
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones."
There is healing in the joyful heart that spreads through all the outgoings of life. The
converse is true; a caviling, murmuring spirit (for as the word "broken" may be
understood) "drieth the bones".
"Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility" (18: 2).
Here again the vital relation between the heart and "the issues of life" is evident. The
destruction that is sure to come may not yet have appeared on the horizon, but it is
certainly indicated by the haughty heart. How forcibly, therefore, the words of the
Proverb come! "More than any guard-post, keep watch over thine heart." The word
"keep" gives us the words "watchmen" and "watchers" in II Kings 17: 9, Jer. 4: 16,
and indicates the keeping or the guarding of a besieged city. When we think of the
seductions of the world, the many snares and pitfalls that beset our path, the lurking
enemy that is still within our very citadel, the greatness of the enemy that is still without,
we may well shrink from the task of attempting to keep the heart. Here the words of the
apostle come to our relief
"Let your moderation be known unto all men, the Lord is at hand. Be careful for
nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests
be made known unto God, and the peace of God which passeth all understanding SHALL
KEEP (as with a garrison) YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS through Christ Jesus"
(Phil. 4: 5-7).