Proverbs 3:1-10
This is a collection of my notes from studying Proverbs 3:1-10.
  1. Proverbs 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

    1. let thine heart keep my commandments — This is an interesting phrase. Proverbs and much of the Old Testament is full of exhortations to keep God's commandments, but that my heart is to be the one keeping the commandments is a little unusual.
      1. Proverbs 4:4 is the only other proverb that couples the heart with keeping commandments. In this passage, keeping the father's commandments is paralleled with his words permanently sinking into the sons heart.
      2. It would seem in these two passages that a very specific point is being made. It is worth digging in deeper to find out what that point is.
    2. But what does it mean for my heart to keep my commandments?
      1. Deuteronomy 26:16 — Obey with all your heart. You are fully committed to the task (ie. your will is in it). You strongly desire to see the task accomplished. (Joshua 22:5; Matthew 22:37)
        1. This is having my heart in it.
      2. 1 Kings 8:58, 61; 1 Chronicles 29:19 — Having my heart right with God will lead me to obeying Him.
        1. Deuteronomy 5:29; 8:2 — Obedience that originates from the heart. Not obedience because I have to or because I will earn something that I want or because others are watching. (A true heart: 1 Kings 9:4. God inspects the reins or what is steering your actions.)
        2. John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. — I should obey because I love God and want to please and honor Him. (1 John 5:2, 3)
        3. We can call this obedience from the heart.
    3. Having obeying with all me heart or obeying from the heart, are both issues of attitude. These are important to God, because as a general principle, He is more interested in my attitude than my actions
      1. 1 Samuel 16:7 I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; ... the LORD looketh on the heart. — God judges men based on what is in their heart.
        1. Luke 16:15 — The Pharisee's outward righteousness was an abomination to God, because their heart attitude was wicked.
      2. Jeremiah 17:9, 10 — The Lord does reward actions, but they are judged based on the heart.
        1. [I] try the reins — What are reins? They are the small bits of leather that steer the big horse. In other words God is testing to see who is in control and what is doing the steering.
        2. Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

          1. Everyone justifies their own actions (often by circumstances), but God judges the inward attitude.
      3. 2 Chronicles 16:9 — God is searching for righteous men to bless. He makes the judgment of who is righteous based on their heart.
    4. Now, as we are talking about the importance of the heart in obedience to God I am not at all saying that we should follow our hearts.
      1. Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not.

      2. Jeremiah 17:9 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?

      3. Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

    5. But instead these verses are teaching us that we need God change our hearts.
      1. Jeremiah 24:7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I [am] the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.

      2. Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

      3. Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

        1. Ezekiel 36:26 — God specializes in heart transplants.
  2. Proverbs 3:2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

    1. King Josiah's life is an excellent example of v. 1 & 2.
      1. 1 Kings 13:2 — Prophecy of Josiah coming to put a stop to the false worship.
        1. 1 Kings 23:16, 17 — Josiah did.
      2. 2 Kings 21:19-24; 2 Chronicles 33:21-25 — Josiah's father was a wicked king and ruled for only two years, before he was assassinated.
      3. 2 Kings 22:1, 2; 2 Chronicles 34:1-3 — Josiah became king at eight years old, and was a very good king. He had a long reign of 31 years (one of the longer reigns of the kings of Judah).
        1. Josiah was the last good king of Judah.
        2. In fact, after Josiah died Judah rapidly deteriorated, went through about five kings in rapid succession and was taken into captivity.
      4. 2 Chronicles 34:3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.

        1. It appears to me that Josiah sought the Lord and obeyed the Lord out of love. Some kings turned to God, at least half heartily when faced with a major invasion or a drought and a prophet preaching against their wicked ways.
          1. For example, Josiah's grandfather, Manasseh, was a wicked king. But after prophets came and denounced him (2 Chronicles 33:18) and God allowed Assyria to come and take him away into captivity (2 Chronicles 33:11) Manasseh humbled himself and turned to God.
        2. I haven't seen any major invasions during Josiah's life.
        3. There were prophets in Josiah's time that preached against the wickedness of the people. But we don't see any coming and telling Josiah to obey. (Jeremiah 1:2-3; Zephaniah 1:1)
        4. Josiah is not obeying because he has to, but because he wants to.
      5. 2 Kings 23:3-20; 2 Chronicles 34:4-7 — Then he destroyed the things used to worship Baal, Molech and the Judah's other false Gods. He put down the idolatrous priests. Unlike many other good kings, he also tore down the high places.
        1. This was not an easy thing to do.
          1. First of all this mean a frontal attack on the religion of many Israelites. While a king is less concerned about public opinion than a democratic ruler, if too many people get mad at him he won't get voted out, he would get murdered. Remember, Josiah's father was assassinated.
          2. Second, all but one of the other good kings of Judah had left the high places intact (1 Kings 15:11-14; 1 Kings 22:43; 2 Kings 12:2, 3; 2 Kings 14:1-4; 2 Kings 15:1-4, 32-35) so this clearly a hard or unpopular thing for even good kings to do. Hezekiah was the only other king to removed the high places.
        2. Clearly Josiah's heart was in it.
          1. As we already discussed he didn't stop half way, he tore down the high places too.
          2. 2 Chronicles 34:4 the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust [of them], and strowed [it] upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. — Josiah didn't just pull down the idols and recycle the gold for his treasury. He saw this as wickedness that he was was going to attack head on.
      6. 2 Kings 22:3-7; 2 Chronicles 34:8-13 — He gave orders for the temple to be repaired.
      7. 2 Kings 22:8-11; 2 Chronicles 34:14-19 — During the renovation they found a book of the law of the LORD [given] by Moses.
        1. 2 Chronicles 34:19 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.

        2. There are probably two ingredients to Josiah's response: First genuine grief that they had sinned against God and also a true fear of God.
        3. Josiah took God's word very seriously.
      8. 2 Kings 22:12-20; 2 Chronicles 34:20-28 — Josiah inquired of God as to what would come of their wickedness.
        1. 2 Kings 22:16, 17 — God said that He would bring great judgment on Judah.
        2. But to Josiah, God said:

          2 Chronicles 34:27, 28 Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard [thee] also, saith the LORD. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.

      9. 2 Kings 23:1-2; 2 Chronicles 34:29-33 — Josiah gathered together all the elders and read the Book to them.
        1. 2 Chronicles 34:31 And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.

        2. 2 Chronicles 34:32 — Josiah led in this, but everyone made the covenant with God.
        3. This was not a little spurt of obedience for Josiah, he was determined to stick to it, and he did, all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers. (2 Chronicles 34:33)
      10. 2 Kings 23:21-23; 2 Chronicles 35:1-19 — They kept the passover.
        1. 2 Chronicles 35:7 — Josiah gave 35,000 lambs and kids and 3,000 bulls. Sounds like his heart was in it!
        2. 2 Chronicles 35:18 And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet. — When Josiah read about the passover he threw himself into doing it the way God said it was to be done. He didn't try to rationalize God's command by saying well this passage has traditionally been interpreted thus and such or I have always been taught that this passage was symbolic. He found God's command, and he obeyed with all his heart.
        3. 2 Kings 23:23; 2 Chronicles 35:19 — Josiah kept the passover the very same year they found the book. He wasn't trying to ramp up or take a few commands at a time. He had already made drastic changes and called in everyone once for the covenant. He could have easily said, I have already made good progress, I will phase these in gradually. Instead, he saw what God wanted and just did it, even though that meant a drastic change of direction for him and his country.
      11. 2 Chronicles 35:20-25 — Josiah was mortally wounded in battle, but it was not an attack on Judah and he was going to battle against God's message.
      12. 2 Kings 23:25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there [any] like him.

      13. Does my heart keep God's commandments?
        1. When I find sin in my life do I attack it with furry? Do I tear down every little bit, including the high places that I could find an excuse for leaving up?
        2. When I hear God's Word, do I take it seriously like Josiah did? Is my heart tender? Do I humble myself before the Lord? That is what God was looking for on Josiah's response.
        3. Like Josiah and the passover, do I earnestly study God's Word to find out how He wants me to act or do I just stick with what I have always been taught? When I find out that the way I have been acting does not align with God's way, do I make immediate and drastic changes?
  3. Proverbs 3:3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:

    1. mercy and truth
      1. mercy - Mercy is often defined as not giving what is deserved. However, we should be careful to note that there are also strong shades of kindness and forgiveness in this.
        1. If you deserve to be paid and I don't pay you, that is not mercy. If someone is nasty to you, but you respond in love and gentleness to them, even though they deserved a curt reply, that is mercy.
        2. This is a very interpersonal attribute, in other words mercy strongly influences how I interact with others.
        3. Matthew 18:23-35 — Christ reminded us that because God has been merciful to us, we must be merciful and forgiving to others.
      2. truth - What does let not ... truth forsake thee mean?
        1. Clearly I should be truthful in what I say. (Proverbs 8:7)
        2. Proverbs 23:23 — But also maybe being a lover of truth? Someone who seeks to know the truth. Clearly that would be someone who studies their Bible, but what about other sources of information? Do I seek truth in my news and entertainment or do I not really care or tolerate deception and misdirection?
      3. Proverbs 14:22; Proverbs 16:6; Proverbs 20:28 — How does truth relate to mercy? This phrase mercy and truth is very common in the Old Testament, practically idiomatic (2 Samuel 15:20; Psalms 25:10; Psalms 86:15)
        1. Truth by itself can be very cruel and mercy alone can be foolish, but together they are a wonderful thing.
          1. Mercy alone has a tendency to just overlook or dismiss the problems. A lot of damage can be done by ignoring a problem rather than fixing it.
          2. A cold condemnation is truth, but very painful to receive.
          3. Right judgment is founded on truth, but is terrible to us when mercy is not present. (James 2:13)
          4. They combine to balance each other and together form an attribute of God.
        2. Psalms 98:1-3; Psalms 85:9, 10 — Salvation is an excellent picture of mercy and truth together.
          1. I deserve eternal punishment for my sins, God did not wink at that or dismiss it. That is truth. Instead God sent His son to die for my sins and His Holy Spirit to change my heart. That is mercy and grace.
          2. Psalms 69:13 — By the way, it is God's truthfulness that gives us confidence. Some religions teach people to hope for mercy at the final judgment without any guarantee of mercy. Their is no confidence in that, because mercy is not merited, one person could receive it and then next not receive it. However, the Bible teaches us that the God who can not lie (Titus 1:2), has promised us mercy and salvation. In God's truthfulness we can rest secure.
    2. bind them about thy neck — Binding commandments, wisdom, mercy and truth about your neck is an metaphor that is unique to Proverbs. What does it picture for us?
      1. Proverbs 1:8, 9; Proverbs 3:21, 22 — It sounds like a necklace, which women would put on to look pretty. That is a key concept here, putting on inner qualities that shine out to as an ornament to make us comely.
        1. 1 Peter 3:3-4 — This aligns very well with the command in the New Testament for women to adorn themselves with inward beauty, but is applied to men and women here.
        2. It also fits with the context here in v. 4 So shalt thou find favour ... in the sight of ... man.
          1. We dress well because we want people to like us. We put a suit on for a job interview to make a good impression and woman fix their hair nicely because people often notice and judge by such things.
          2. We are being exhorted here that mercy and truth are important decorations that will attract people to us and make us a good testimony for Christ.
        3. At work have you noticed there are ornery or mean people that nobody likes, then there are regular people that are liked by some and not others, but there are a few gracious and kind people that everyone likes? That is mercy and truth acting as an ornament.
      1. Proverbs 6:20-23 — Another perspective on the metaphor is of someone who keeps a very important key or locket around their neck, something that is so important and valuable that they want it to be always present and never lost.
        1. Likewise mercy and truth are to be permanently about us and never set aside, because they are a treasure that is valuable to us at all times.
    3. write them upon the table of thine heart — Like keeping the commandments in v. 1, mercy and truth are not to be just an act, something we do because it helps us get what we want. They are supposed to become part of my character, they are to be engraved on my inmost being.
  4. Proverbs 3:4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

    1. We have already discussed finding favour ... in the sight of ... man.
    2. I most certainly want favor in the sight of God.
    3. What is good understanding in the sight of God and man though?
      1. 1 Samuel 25:3; Psalms 111:10Good understanding seems to be talking about wisdom, perhaps a specific aspect of wisdom.
      2. So it would seem that the meaning here is that when God and men look at someone who has made mercy and truth an integral and permanent part of their life, they say, Now there is a wise man!
      3. It is interesting to note that in Proverbs 13:15, good understanding brings favor.
  5. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

    1. Trust in the LORD
      1. The first two definitions of trust in the Compact Oxford English Dictionary are 1 firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. 2 acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation.Compact Oxford English Dictionary: Trust
      2. Both of these seem to be relevant.
        1. When I trust the Lord, I must believe that He will be good to me (Psalms 27:13), that He will not lie to me (Titus 1:2) and that He is able to do what He has promised (Genesis 18:14; Genesis 21:1, 2; Isaiah 26:4). Which fits the first definition.
        2. For the second definition: This trust requires some degree of faith, because we are looking to the future which, for us, is always uncertain.
        1. Isaiah 26:4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH [is] everlasting strength:

      3. Does my life really show trust?
        1. Isaiah 26:3 — Am I trusting that the Lord will supply my needs or am I fretting about how I will afford or be able to do this or that?
        2. Psalms 27:1; Isaiah 12:2 — More generally, am I living in fear?
        3. How about my Lord's commands, do I obey when they are difficult, because I trust that He knows best?
    2. With all thine heart — We have already discussed obedience from the heart, now we find here that trust also must be from the heart.
      1. Acts 10:20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

        1. In this passage Peter is being sent to Cornelius to give the gospel to the Gentiles for the first time.
        2. The Holy Spirit is telling him to obey and go without any lingering doubts as to whether God means what He said or knows what He is doing. (Acts 11:12)
        3. If I am trusting God with all my heart, then there is no room left for doubt.
      2. Application: Do not say, I know God said to give liberally (Luke 6:38), but I think I know better in this situation but like Peter say, Yes Lord, I will obey you and trust that You are right.
        1. We can replace the italics above with:
        2. not to go into debt (Romans 13:8; Proverbs 22:7)
        3. not to seek revenge (Romans 12:19)
        4. any difficult command
    3. Lean not unto thine own understanding
      1. I am certainly leaning on my own understanding, when I justify my actions.
        1. Proverbs 16:2 — Instead of I think it isn't wrong to do this. do I carefully look to see what God thinks?
        2. This is trusting that God is right.
      2. Matthew 14:29, 30 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

        1. This may be an instance of Peter leaning on his understanding of the situation rather than trusting the Lord.
        2. Peter was a fisherman and knew a lot about what was dangerous on the sea. As he looked around his experience said that this was an impossible and dangerous situation. Peter began to trust his experience over the Lord's direct command, Come.
        3. How often do I look at a situation and say This is defiantly impossible, when I should be trusting that God sees a much bigger picture than I?
  6. Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

    1. In all thy ways acknowledge him — This seems to flow right out of trusting the Lord. I acknowledge God when I say:
      1. Lord, this situation is too big for me, I need your help.
      2. Lord, I need your wisdom, because I don't want to rely on my wisdom.
      3. Psalms 27:11 — Lord, what decision do you want me to make? Lord, please make the path you want me to take clear.
    2. And he shall direct thy paths. — What a wonderful promise! If I will just look to Christ, He promises to guide me.
      1. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

      2. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

      3. Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

    3. Psalms 27:8 [When thou saidst], Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

      1. God has said to us Seek ye my face.
      2. Is this my response too?
  7. Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

    1. Be not wise in thine own eyes — This seems like a pride/humility issue.
      1. In pride I compare myself to other men and try to show that I am wiser than them.
        1. However, when we bring God into the picture all distinction is lost, because in comparison to Him all of our wisdom is negligible.
        2. Pride will promote and rely on my own wisdom. The last two verses here in Pro 3 have already warned against relying on myself.
      2. Proverbs 15:33 — Humility recognizes that true wisdom is a gift from God (James 3:13-18). Thus all wisdom is God's, not mine.
      3. This verse puts a humble view of my own wisdom in parallel with fearing the Lord and departing from evil. This seems to be specifically making the same point we discussed in Proverbs 3:5, that I must not be justifying my sin, but instead obeying the Lord. (Proverbs 28:13, 14)
    2. fear the LORD
      1. The fear of the Lord and the beginning of wisdom are closely intertwined.
        1. Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.

        2. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.

        3. Proverbs 2:3-5 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, [and] liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

        4. When I admit that my wisdom is insufficient and turn to fear the Lord instead, that is the beginning of true wisdom.
      2. Attributes of the fear of the Lord
        1. Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

          1. This fits very well with Proverbs 3:7.
            1. The fear of the Lord hates pride and arrogance, which are the attitudes that lead us to be wise in our own eyes.
            2. The fear of the Lord leads us away from evil, as is implied in v. 7.
            3. By the way, note that here in Proverbs 8:13, the list at the end is all lumped under evil. That means pride and arrogance are evil!
          2. Proverbs 14:2 — Living righteously is an aspect of fearing the Lord. Also, fearing the Lord is part of honoring the Lord.
          3. Proverbs 16:6; Proverbs 23:17, 18 — The fear of the Lord helps us do right.
        2. Proverbs 28:13, 14 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh [them] shall have mercy. Happy [is] the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

          1. Confessing sin comes from a fear of the Lord.
    3. depart from evil — Fear that my earthly father might find out has kept me from doing a number of things.
      1. Was I afraid that I would get in trouble and be punished? Yes.
      2. That was the lesser fear though, the greater fear was that I would displease or dishonor my father and hurt him. I love my father and do not want to cause him pain because of my foolishness.
      3. This helps me to understand what it means to fear the Lord.
        1. Our heavenly Father is God, which means we must always view Him with awe and reverence. He is also holy, which means He has no tolerance for sin, and finally, He does punish His children.
          1. Nehemiah 1:5 And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

          2. Proverbs 3:11, 12 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

          3. Hebrews 12:6, 9, 10 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

        1. However, more than the fear of punishment, is the fear of displeasing or hurting my heavenly Father.
        1. Psalms 78:40 How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, [and] grieve him in the desert!

        2. Proverbs 14:2 He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but [he that is] perverse in his ways despiseth him.

  8. Proverbs 3:8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

    1. Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

    2. Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD [is] a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

    3. Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD [tendeth] to life: and [he that hath it] shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

    4. Proverbs 22:4 By humility [and] the fear of the LORD [are] riches, and honour, and life.

    5. Proverbs 31:30 Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

  9. Proverbs 3:9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

    1. Honour the LORD with thy substance
      1. I want to honor God, and we find here that giving back to God is a way that I can do that.
      2. How does this honor God?
        1. Giving back to God is a way to recognize that all I have came from him. (1 Chronicles 29:14; 1 Timothy 6:17, 18)
        2. Giving helps me to rely on God. I think that our trust and reliance on God honors Him as our father.
    2. Malachi 1:6, 7 A son honoureth [his] father, and a servant his master: if then I [be] a father, where [is] mine honour? and if I [be] a master, where [is] my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD [is] contemptible.

      1. My offerings can honor God, but offering junk and leftovers to God is an insult.
      2. Malachi 1:8 — The priests were offering blind, lame, and sick sheep to the Lord. In other words, they were giving God the stuff they had no use for.
        1. God said that is evil!
        2. As the Lord pointed out, we would never give these gifts to even minor officials of the world.
        3. We don't offer sheep and bulls anymore, but are we offering Him our leftover money, or our scraps of time when we are too tired to do anything else?
      3. Malachi 1:12, 13 But ye have profaned it — The priests were profaning God's name. That is a wicked thing! How were they doing that?
        1. Malachi 1:12 — They were treating the worship of God with contempt.
        2. Malachi 1:13 Behold, what a weariness [is it]! ye have snuffed at it— They were bored with worshiping God and were treating it flippantly.
      4. So we see that gifts are a part of worship. We also see that I can honor or terribly dishonor the Lord depending on the attitude with which I give those gifts.
    3. with the firstfruits of all thine increase — To honor God with my gifts, the guideline is: give Him the first and the best.
      1. It has long been a tradition at the dinner table that the person who we wish to honor (guest or cook) gets the first serving when it comes time to dish out the food. Likewise we honor God by showing that He is more important than the other hundred things we have planned for our money by giving to Him before doing anything else.
      2. of all thine increase — That is an interesting phrase.
        1. It does not say to give to God from my regular or primary income.
        2. All that I receive comes from God, so I should honor Him in all of it.
  10. Proverbs 3:10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

    1. Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

    2. 2 Corinthians 9:6 But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

    3. Haggai 1:6-9 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages [to put it] into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. Ye looked for much, and, lo, [it came] to little; and when ye brought [it] home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that [is] waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

      1. We can work hard, but if God does not bless our work, we are just spinning our wheels.
      2. Here God withheld His blessing because the Israelite's priorities were wrong. It is reasonable to assume that God may choose to withhold His blessings on my work if my priorities are wrong too.
    4. Philippians 4:18, 19 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

      1. Paul was physically poor, but he still said that he abounded.
      2. It may be that God's blessing on my giving is neither monetary nor physical.
      3. However, at the end of this verse we have the promise that God will meet our physical needs. So some blessings will be physical.
    5. Proverbs 22:9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.