Proverbs 3:21

My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:


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How attentive are you? How good is your memory? Poor attention or memory can cost you dearly. After listing many benefits and blessings that wisdom and discretion can give a man for his life, King Solomon exhorted his son to remember the invaluable lessons.

Most young men have a short attention span and memory. They easily forget instruction and warnings, when they face a difficult controversy or strong temptation. Solomon often stated the importance of remembering instruction (Pr 3:3,18; 4:4,21; 6:21; 7:3).

Reader, you must keep and remember wisdom, understanding, and discretion, for it is only by retaining instruction that you will ever realize the great benefits of it. If honest, you will likely admit your memory is little better than memory-impaired young men. Will you take some steps to make sure you retain and remember wise instruction you receive?

What good is a sermon you lazily listen to and forget as soon as the preacher says, “Amen”? Jesus said the teaching is immediately taken away from such a hearer by the devil (Matt 13:19; Mark 4:15; Luke 8:12). It is the common experience of all men to have difficulty remembering what was preached just a few days or weeks before. Shame!

Instruction for success in any endeavor is only as profitable as your ability to remember and apply the knowledge to the specified situation. Warnings about danger in any situation are only as valuable as the hearer’s ability to remember and apply the advice when facing the threat. A great hindrance to success for many is a poor memory.

The blessed God of Israel knew this danger. After giving wonderful laws, precepts, and statutes to Israel through Moses, He warned them not to forget what He had taught them (Deut 4:9,23; II Kgs 17:37-38). He knew that prosperity was a curse to memory, for luxury induces laxity and impairs the conscience (Deut 6:10-12; 8:7-20).

To counter this problem, God commanded fathers to diligently teach His laws to their children when in the house, when traveling, when preparing for sleep, and when getting up (Deut 6:6-7). He required remembrance comparable to tying signs to hands, putting frontlets between eyes, and writing His laws on the posts of their houses (Deut 6:8-9).

Furthermore, God required Israel to keep certain feasts each year. For example, the Passover or Feast of Unleavened Bread was to cause them to remember their glorious deliverance from Egypt (Ex 12:26-27; 13:8-10). Even the name, Passover, contains a reminder of God passing over the houses of the Israelites when He slew the firstborn in every home and barn of the Egyptians. God’s deliverances are to be remembered.

Christians do not observe the Passover, for that feast was only for Israel and merely for deliverance from Egypt. The New Testament has a better feast that replaced the Passover – the Lord’s Supper, or communion, where bread and wine represent Jesus Christ’s body and blood to remember His death (I Cor 5:7-8; 10:16-17; 11:20-34). God will pass over His elect in the great Day of Judgment and not cast them into hell due to this blood.

Forgetting teaching is dangerous! The church at Corinth forgot the resurrection of the dead that Paul had taught them, which stole the hope and joy of the gospel from them (I Cor 15:2,19). The gospel must be kept in memory. The world assaults your senses every moment you are awake with their enticements, which are entirely opposed to the truth of God. What will you do to defend yourself from this assault and retain God’s wisdom?

Do you know your weak memory? Do you understand prosperity and activity dull it further? What do you do to review, remember, and retain what you have been taught? Do you have habits in place to review sermons, remember lessons, or retain advice? It is by daily use and application of wisdom that causes it to stay in your heart and mind (Heb 5:12-14). If you tell a friend about wisdom, then two could help each other remember.

A great comfort of the gospel is God’s memory. Though a mother may forget her nursing infant, He will never forget His people; their names are written in the book of life and on the palms of His hands (Luke 10:20; Is 49:15-16). He will remember every act of charity they ever did (Heb 6:10; Matt 25:37-40). But He will never remember their sins (Heb 8:12; 10:17)! Remembering things like these yourself will comfort you in days to come.