The Heart Is a Source?

Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences.  (Pro 4:23 CJB)

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.  (Pro 4:23 NASB)

It is interesting how different translators will word scripture verses. Each one can be accurate, yet conveying a different aspect of what is being taught.

Here is what Brown-Driver-Briggs have to say in their dictionary about the Hebrew word natsar translated as “guard” or “watch over”:

BDB Definition:
1) to guard, watch, watch over, keep
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to watch, guard, keep
1a2) to preserve, guard from dangers
1a3) to keep, observe, guard with fidelity
1a4) to guard, keep secret
1a5) to be kept close, be blockaded
1a6) watchman (participle)
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root

This is the Hebrew word mishmar translated as “diligence” or “above everything else”:

BDB Definition:
1) place of confinement, prison, guard, jail, guard post, watch, observance
1a) jail, prison, guard-house
1b) guard, guard post, act of guarding
1c) observances
Part of Speech: noun masculine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H8104

Mishmar is related to another Hebrew word – shamar:

BDB Definition:
1) to keep, guard, observe, give heed
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to keep, have charge of
1a2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life
1a2a) watch, watchman (participle)
1a3) to watch for, wait for
1a4) to watch, observe
1a5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory)
1a6) to keep (within bounds), restrain
1a7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands), perform (vow)
1a8) to keep, preserve, protect
1a9) to keep, reserve
1b) (Niphal)
1b1) to be on one’s guard, take heed, take care, beware
1b2) to keep oneself, refrain, abstain
1b3) to be kept, be guarded
1c) (Piel) to keep, pay heed
1d) (Hithpael) to keep oneself from
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root

Do you see the connections between these words? They seem to carry varying levels of the same idea.

The second part of the verse speaks to the heart being the source of springs of life. The Hebrew word used for “springs” is:

תּצאה / תּוצאה
BDB Definition:
1) outgoing, border, a going out, extremity, end, source, escape
1a) outgoing, extremity (of border)
1b) source (of life)
1c) escape (from death)
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H3318

The related verb carries the same meaning (in more detail):

BDB Definition:
1) to go out, come out, exit, go forth
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to go or come out or forth, depart
1a2) to go forth (to a place)
1a3) to go forward, proceed to (to or toward something)
1a4) to come or go forth (with purpose or for result)
1a5) to come out of
1b) (Hiphil)
1b1) to cause to go or come out, bring out, lead out
1b2) to bring out of
1b3) to lead out
1b4) to deliver
1c) (Hophal) to be brought out or forth
Part of Speech: verb

The Hebrew word for life is:

BDB Definition:
1) to live, have life, remain alive, sustain life, live prosperously, live for ever, be quickened, be alive, be restored to life or health
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to live
1a1a) to have life
1a1b) to continue in life, remain alive
1a1c) to sustain life, to live on or upon
1a1d) to live (prosperously)
1a2) to revive, be quickened
1a2a) from sickness
1a2b) from discouragement
1a2c) from faintness
1a2d) from death
1b) (Piel)
1b1) to preserve alive, let live
1b2) to give life
1b3) to quicken, revive, refresh
1b3a) to restore to life
1b3b) to cause to grow
1b3c) to restore
1b3d) to revive
1c) (Hiphil)
1c1) to preserve alive, let live
1c2) to quicken, revive
1c2a) to restore (to health)
1c2b) to revive
1c2c) to restore to life
Part of Speech: verb

So, what do I take away from all of this? I believe we are being told that we need to be very careful with our hearts. We need to keep them close and protected. There are things we need to keep from doing. There are things we need to do. The idea of performing a vow reminds me that we need to be careful with our words and do the things we say we will do. There are things we need to heed and to keep and things from which we need to refrain.

What are those things? How will we know what to do and what not to do? I notice that mishmar and shamar both include the idea of keeping, celebrating, performing and observing. When I look at what is in parenthesis on line 1a7 of shamar, it seems that G-d’s Torah is being held up there. So, how can we make sure that our hearts stay on course? The answer is in G-d’s Torah/teachings. He has told us what is good and what is not – what to do and what not to do.

Why is all this important? Because it is from the heart that the good things of life come. If we don’t guard and protect our hearts, if we don’t keep them on a true course, then we will not have the things of life. Without life there is death – whether physical death or spiritual death

Look closely at those Hebrew words. There are good things mentioned and bad things. I do not believe this is a promise that nothing bad will ever happen or that things will always go easy and well. I believe it is a principle…a general truth.

Think about it. How many health problems, for example, come from not eating right (which we can control) or from a bad food supply (which we cannot)? How many jobs are lost due to bad attitudes on our part (which we can control) or bad attitudes from others (which we cannot)? (Or a bad economy?) How many situations do we find ourselves in that are of our own making and how many are really caused by others (as opposed to our simply blaming them on others)? How much indebtedness is due to poor money management and uncontrolled spending? How much financial stability comes from diligently saving and frugally spending?

I believe that a lot of what we go through we do have control over. Yes, there are things beyond our control. We cannot control being attacked by someone, or a bad economy or a tainted food supply. However, our attitudes and what (or most importantly WHO) we focus our hearts upon can make a huge difference in our lives.

There are consequences that come from what we do and do not allow in our lives, from what we do and do not allow in our hearts. We need to protect our hearts and watch over them…diligently!

I don’t know about you…but I want life!


About Abigail

I am a woman who loves life and loves to see others love life, too. I love and serve the Creator, the God of the Bible...the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Because of what the Creator has done in my life, I am here to help others now. I hope we can journey together!
This entry was posted in Beit-Shalom, Bible, God, Life, Not Religion, Reflections, Spirituality, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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