Solomon recognized a tragic truth about humanity: we desperately want to do things our own way, and we hate being told what to do.
Solomon recognized a tragic truth about humanity: we desperately want to do things our own way, and we hate being told what to do. As the prophet Isaiah wrote, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6 NIV1984). So Solomon urged his sons to avoid mistakes he had made, encouraging them to heed God’s Word and to make obedience a lifelong habit.
Keep my commandments and live,
And my teaching as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
Write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 7:2–3)
While I encourage regular Bible reading and studying, I cannot stress enough the value of Scripture memorization. Committing verses of the Bible to memory straps the truths of God to your soul. The word translated “bind” really means “to tie together, to bring something in league with something else.” It’s often translated “conspire.” Our word correlate also fits. Scriptures correlate so much better when we store them up. We are better able to come to terms with life when certain Scriptures are in place in our heads.
No verses more clearly encourage Scripture memory than these in Proverbs 7. When we write something, we don’t abbreviate or confuse matters. Quite the contrary: we clarify ideas when we write them out. The Lord said, “Write [My commandments and My teachings] on the tablet of your heart.” Don’t be sloppy or incomplete in your memory work. It is essential that we are exact and thorough when we memorize. Without this attention to detail, our confidence slips away. I often think of being thorough in Scripture memory in the same way we plan a flight. Every number (flight, seat, gate) as well as the time of takeoff is precise and important. Commit the wrong information to memory, and you won’t end up where you expected!
Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips. (Proverbs 22:17–18)
I love those two verses. They constantly encourage me to stay at this discipline! The idea of having God’s Word “ready on [our] lips” should convince us of the importance of maintaining this discipline. I say again, nothing will chase away biblical illiteracy like memorizing Scripture.