God’s Word for You
Proverbs 27:23-24 Put your heart into it
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, June 16, 2020
23 Be sure to know the condition of your flocks,
and put your heart into your herds;
24 for riches do not last forever,
nor a crown for generations after generations.
Since one of our Lutheran Confessions treats this Proverb directly, we will begin with these words: “Solomon is not talking about confession. He is merely giving a bit of domestic advice to the head of the household, telling him to pay diligent attention to his own property and leave other people’s alone, but warning him not to be so preoccupied with the increase of his holdings that he neglects the fear of God or faith or his concerns for God’s Word” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession XII,106). This was covered this way because some medieval Catholics were treating the words “know the condition” as hearing private confessions. If we were to apply this proverb to the spiritual life of Christians, and what is said here to the heads of households as if it applied to pastors and their ‘flocks,’ then we would need to apply the words in the same way: Notice the outward condition of the Christians under your care, O Minister, and put your heart into their lives.
But really, this proverb is describing worldly possessions. Be careful with what you have; take good care of it but don’t let your possessions rule over you. Power, position, and possessions don’t last forever (Lamentations 5:16; Proverbs 21:6). Use what you have to God’s glory and for the benefit of God’s kingdom. This is why he puts treasure into your hands in the first place, as with the servants in the parable who were given certain gifts to use until the Master’s return (Matthew 25:15). When the gift God gives is a living thing, then it deserves the attention of our whole heart. “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal” (Proverbs 12:10). Using possessions for any sinful purpose brings guilt on our heads and dishonors God who gave them (Jeremiah 3:24-25), but using whatever we have for the benefit of our families and to any righteous purpose, especially the benefit of God’s kingdom, gives him glory (Nehemiah 10:36) and reinforces our walk of faith. So take care of whatever God has given to you, use it as well as you know how and to his glory, and trust that this is the purpose for which he gave it.
Pastor Timothy Smith