Fav Provs 28: Wearing our heart on our knees?

Proverbs 28:14

Blessed is the one who always trembles before God,

but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.

Many times in the Bible, people are described as hardening their hearts. In one way this is  a vivid image that is easy to grasp. A hard heart is no longer soft, no longer soft to those who call to it-either the Lord’s call or the call of those in need. What does a hard heart look like in our life? This proverb fills out this picture slightly more.

To harden your heart, according to this proverb, is to stop trembling before God. In other words, the right response to God from our heart includes trembling. The opposite is also true, a lack of trembling leads to a hard heart.

We often think of a soft heart in terms of compassion and caring. But this proverbs adds another description of how our hearts need to be. Part of a soft heart includes an aspect of trembling, of fear, of being in the presence of greatness, or being in the presence of goodness (when we are not).1 The obvious application is that trembling before God keeps our hearts soft.

A previous post linked head and heart. But from this post and the last post we should also link heart and knees. On our knees we tremble before God as a medicine against a hard heart. But also, on our knees we confess and find mercy (Prov 28:13). Instead of wearing our heart on our sleeves, maybe we should wear our heart on our knees.

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  1. As an aside, 1 John speaks of the love that drives out all fear. How do we reconcile a love that drives out all fear with an appropriate trembling as part of a soft heart? 

Fav Provs 28: Exposing our dark side

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Proverbs 28:13

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,

but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

This is not a proverb about letting our our inner-Vader.

Our impulse in life is the opposite of this proverb. We’re often (and I say often as in constantly) tempted to think that by concealing our faults and wrongs, we’ll prosper. Underlying this is the assumption that if we reveal we’ll need to pay the price of our wrongs. In other words, we think confess pay, conceal prosper.

But the reality is opposite. As this proverb in God’s Word shows us it’s not confess-pay, conceal-prosper, but confess-prosper, conceal-pay. Prosperity, in the form of mercy, follows confession.

A few quick thoughts that follow:

  1. The assumption of this proverb is that everyone sins. None is exempt.
  2. Notice its not just confess, but confess and renounce. We’re not to just say words, but to renounce (give up on, turn away from our wrongs). There are such things as cheap confessions. Confession when it is true involves renouncing – it’s not just saying the words, but meaning it in our heart.
  3. Prosperity comes in the form of mercy. Mercy is not just to be let off the hook, given a second chance. Mercy is given a much higher value than we might ordinarily give it. Mercy as we see in this proverb is a form of God’s blessing, its the way he does good to those who turn to him.