Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
What do you think about? Aim for? Hold dear in your heart? Solomon had sober words of advice and warning for his son (Pr 4:20-22). Childhood and youth are vanity: the eyes and hearts of young men are easily distracted with foolishness (Pr 17:24; Eccl 11:10). This wise father tried to focus his son on the great goals of wisdom and understanding.
Your eyes are the means of sight for your whole body. Vision is the ability to see what is in front of you and direct your body accordingly. Men take great pains and pay great prices to see clearly, for their physical skills are only as useful as their ability to direct their bodily movements by their eyes. Hand-eye coordination is considered a most precious gift and a certain indicator of physical aptitude.
From the importance of physical eyes, men make a figurative use of mental eyes setting priorities and making choices for life. For example, when a counselor or teacher says, “Keep your eyes on the goal,” it is understood to mean that everything in that person’s life should be directed toward the chosen objective. It does not mean that the client or student should stare without blinking at some visual object. Focused sight on one goal, with all choices serving that goal, is the road to success in any endeavor (I Cor 9:24-27).
Your mental eyes direct your life and set your priorities, so your eyes must be focused on one object – wisdom, or you will lose in life. Jesus Christ taught it by these words: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6:22-24).
There is another figure of speech in this proverb. Solomon told his son to keep his words and sayings in the midst of his heart. Your physical heart is the basis of life for your body, for it pumps the blood that is the life of your flesh (Pr 14:30; Lev 17:11). Your figurative heart is the place of your affections, where you choose what you love and value. A wise man will choose to love wisdom and value it highly (Pr 4:6; 8:17,21,36).
Just as with your eyes, your heart must be single – it must be focused on one goal. Since wisdom and pleasing God are contrary to all that is in this world, you cannot succeed trying to obtain both goals. You must purify your heart from being double minded to a single goal (Jas 4:8), because a double minded man is unstable in all his ways (Jas 1:8). How focused are you, in eyes and heart, toward pleasing God (Deut 6:4-9; Heb 12:1-3)?