The life of the flesh... (Proverbs 14:30)
Proverbs 14:30 "A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones."
What is a "sound heart"? Proverbs 14:30 says that a sound heart is the "life of the flesh". Notice also “envy the rottenness of the bones.” The opposite of a “sound heart” is “envy”, and bones are where blood is manufactured. Here we not only see a comparison of the opposites, but the Bible is also telling us something that science has only recently discovered. What is “envy”?
Job 5:2 "For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one."
Envy is a weapon according to this verse, not a physical weapon per se, but a spiritual one. This verse also tells us that before someone takes a weapon and kills another person, “envy” was already in his heart.
Genesis 4:3-5 "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."
Cain was very wroth with Abel because God accepted his offerings but rejected Cain’s. Envy was already in his heart before he murdered Abel (Genesis 4:8). The opposite of envy is a “sound heart”. What is a “sound heart”?
James 3:13-18 "Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
James tells us where envying and strife is (the heart), there is confusion and every evil work. Not only that, but the Bible also tells us that the source of confusion and every evil work is envying and strife, and the cause of envying and strife is a “wisdom” that descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual and devilish. Wisdom is a woman in the book of Proverbs. There are two women in the book of Proverbs: the virtuous woman and the strange woman. There are also two wisdoms that James tells us in this passage: the wisdom that is from above, and the wisdom that is earthly, sensual and devilish.
Luke 8:11 "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God."
Back to the question: “what is a sound heart?” We know from the parable of the sower (Matthew 13; Mark 4; Luke 8) that there are four types of grounds whereby the hearts of every man and woman may be represented:
the wayside heart;
the stony ground heart;
the thorny ground heart; and
the good ground heart.
Of all the heart types, only the good ground heart (“honest and good heart” Luke 8:15) is capable of producing fruits. This goes along with James 3:17-18 “… full of mercy and good fruits… the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”. Therefore a sound heart is an “honest and good heart” that is capable of producing good fruits. It is a heart that is peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Proverbs 14:30 connects it to “the life of the flesh”. We find another reference of the same phrase here:
Leviticus 17:11 "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."
It is the bone marrow in our body that produce the blood, and living blood is the life of the flesh, and this living blood is pumped from the heart to the brain and the rest of the vital organs to deliver a continuous supply of oxygen and other nutrients in order to sustain life.
A sound heart is the life of the flesh (Proverbs 14:30). Without a sound heart, oxygen and other nutrients cannot reach to those vital organs. Without the “life of the flesh” (oxygen and other nutrients) pumped from the heart to the brain and other vital organs, there will be no life in the body. BTW, it is unknown, even to this day, why blood immediately becomes unusable after a person died — as if it has lost something. While modern science may not have an answer to that, the answer was already found in the Bible written thousands of years ago.
Matthew 13:5-6 "Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away."
Without an “honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15) that is peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy, there can be no nutrients (life of the flesh) to sustain the “tree” that is planted on the stony ground heart, so that it will eventually wither away.
2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
A "seed" (word of God, Luke 8:11) when planted on the good ground of an honest and good heart will grow. The keyword here is “grow”. A tree planted on an honest and good heart will draw nutrients from the soil, which in turn will give life to the tree.
Luke 8:15 "But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."
Of all the 4 types of heart, only the "good ground" heart having heard the word, will keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. The heart of a born again believer (“sound heart” Proverbs 14:30) is like the ground by the rivers of water.
Psalms 1:3 "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
The best type of soil for planting crops is the "alluvial soil". According to www.sciencedirect.com, "Alluvial soil has the highest productivity with respect to other soils. It is present mostly along rivers and is carried by its streams during weathering of rocks." The honest and good heart of a born again believer is like the alluvial soil by the rivers of water. This is the most productive type of ground whereby the "seed" (the word of God - Luke 8:11) when sown will take root and bear fruit: some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundredfold.
The good ground heart is also described in:
Jeremiah 17:7-8 "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."
The same words which are found in Psalms 1:3 are also found here. The good ground is always by the waters. Think about a “seed” planted by the rivers of water. For a seed to grow, it needs: 1) water, 2) nutrients, 3) sunlight and 4) air.
Ephesians 5:26 "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,"
Titus 3:5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
1 Corinthians 3:7 "So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."
Nutrients come from the good grounds of the heart, which in turn is nourished by the word of God.
Colossians 2:19 "And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God."
1 Timothy 4:6 "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained."
Psalms 119:130 "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple."
Proverbs 6:23 "For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:"
Genesis 2:7 "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
Job 27:3 "All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;"
Plants do need oxygen to survive. They “respire” (take in oxygen, give off carbon dioxide) the same way that animals do. The difference is that in the presence of light, plants perform photosynthesis in which they take in carbon dioxide to make food and give off oxygen in the process.
Proverbs 3:18 "She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her."
Revelation 22:2 "In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
Proverbs 3:18 is a reference to the wisdom that is from above: pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. She is a tree of life, harvesting light from the Spirit of God to make food for the soul, and in doing so, produce "oxygen" necessary to sustain all life forms. Likewise for our 46 chromosomes body. The life in the body MUST come from the water, nutrients, sunlight and air that we feed into it. These things will in turn become the “life of the flesh” in blood which are pumped by the heart to the brain and the other vital organs to sustain life in the body. Wow! Therefore, it is so important to feed our body with clean water, good and heathy food, plenty of sunlight and fresh air because these things will in turn become the "life of the flesh" in the blood to sustain our body.