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Keep thy heart with all diligence

Keep thy heart

with all diligence...

Proverbs 4:23

Keep thy heart with all diligence;
for out of it are the issues of life
(Proverbs 4:23).

he word mishmar refers to the act of guarding someone closely, just as an officer or warden might keep watch over a prisoner. The phrase translated "with all diligence" (mikkol-mishmar) literally means "more than anything that might be guarded," and is used here to intensify the command to guard. Plainly put, this verse commands us to watch over the heart more than anything else.

Totz'ot Chaiyim

Why? Because from the heart are totz'ot chaiyim - the "issues" of life. In the Tanakh, the word totz'ot is mainly used to refer to the borders of territories or the boundaries of a city. This verse is saying that from the heart of a person (lev) a "map" or "chart" to life is drawn. As the heart is either pure or corrupt, so will be the course of one's life.

How you choose to guard your heart from the corruption and hardness of the world will determine the "road" of your life. If you do not care to keep your heart soft, you will become cynical, weary, and more and more selfish. Your way will be lonely, suspicious, and dangerous. If, however, you keep yourself from the hardness of unbelief, you will experience compassion, encouragement, and the joy of loving others.

May God help you guard your heart and walk in the way of true life (see John 14:6).

Hebrew Transliteration:


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