Phil Cox


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Pay attention to what I say

20th April 2006

Proverbs 4:20-22 says this:

My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a manís whole body.

Like all parents, the writer (probably Solomon) wishes his children would listen. He says later in Proverbs:

Proverbs 13:1
A wise son heeds his fatherís instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.

Proverbs 13:18
He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honoured.

Proverbs 15:5
A fool spurns his fatherís discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

But God is speaking through Solomon to every one of God's people, ďMy son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart.Ē

Godís precepts should be always before our eyes Ė both in the sense that we should regularly study the Bible, and in the sense that we should have His word always in our mindís eye. Paul wrote:

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Proverbs 4:22 then says:

for they [God's words] are life to those who find them and health to a manís whole body.

God's wisdom is good for us. To know and obey Godís word is the way to life and health.

In this, as in all things, Godís work in His people follows the pattern:

definitive - progressive - ultimate

Definitively , obedience to the gospel Ė coming to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for us on the cross Ė brings us into newness of life Ė we are born again and become children of God.

Ultimately , Godís people will enter heaven and find perfect health and perfect peace.

But, progressively, in the period between our new birth and our entry into glory, the period in which we live as Christians on Earth, obedience to Godís ways is also good for us, good for our health Ė body, soul and spirit.

Jesus wants us to be healthy - full of life Ė body, soul and spirit Ė in this life.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Remember what Jesus taught us about the relationship betwen obedience to God's word and well-being in this life:

Matthew 4:4
Jesus answered, "It is written: ĎMan does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.í"

Matthew 7:24-25
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Later in Proverbs, we are told:

Proverbs 10:27
The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

Godís word is the greatest diagnostic tool ever discovered:

Hebrews 4:12
...the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Allow God's word to judge the thoughts and attitudes of your heart. Submit yourself to the Bible's judgement of your life. Choose to come into agreement with what God says about you. And enjoy His rich blessing both now and for ever.