Proverbsby David Cook
Many of us see the heart as the centre of our emotions, so we talk of ″loving with all your heart″. In the time of Proverbs, the heart represented the centre of the whole person-the conscience, will, emotions, and mind. Hence, when urging Israel to remember what God had done, Moses told them never to ″let them fade from your heart″ (Deuteronomy 4:9).
Today, we look at the references to the heart in Proverbs 15 (vv. 7, 11, 13-15, 28, 30).
The two types of heart-the righteous and the wicked-are contrasted by the words they produce on the lips and mouth (vv. 7, 28). The righteous heart speaks gently and wisely, and seeks to soothe and edify. In contrast, the wicked heart frustrates, spreads ignorance, and discourages (vv. 1, 2, 4, 28).
Verses 13-15 describe the happy and cheerful heart. It is evidenced by a person's face, just as a sorrowful heart is seen in a crushed spirit (v. 13); it zealously seeks additional knowledge (v. 14); and it remains cheerful despite the wretched circumstances of life (v. 16; see also 14:30). This description suggests that true happiness and joy come from the heart, and depend more on the inner being of a person than on his circumstances. Christians are never so impressive as when they remain hopeful and steadfast amid crisis and catastrophe. In the face of pain, failure, and loss, can a person still say as Job did: ″The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised″ (Job 1:21)?
These verses tell us the relationship between the internal (the heart and the spirit) and the external (the face and body language, and circumstances of life):
In contrast, the fool has no stable foundation to deal with the changing circumstances of life.
How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He has said,
who unto the Saviour, for refuge have fled.
What do your words, general disposition, and outlook in life reveal about your heart?
The key to a cheerful heart is discernment. How are you seeking discernment from God's Word? How can you seek His knowledge?