A Heavy Heart – Exploring the Passages

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What does Proverbs 15:13 (printed below) tell us about the different states of the heart and how they affect us?

A happy heart makes the face cheerful; but a sorrowful heart causes the spirit to be broken. (Proverbs 15:13)

The state of your heart regulates and governs the disposition of your life. “The condition of the heart leaves its stamp on the appearance and the activity of the man” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on Proverbs, Vol.1, p.323.) “A happy heart makes the face cheerful.” If your heart is filled with joy and peace, it brightens your whole personality and that brightness radiates from your face. “But a sorrowful heart causes the spirit to be broken.” If a weight of disappointment, grief, or spiritual oppression is laid upon your heart, it is enough to break your spirit; i.e., it is enough to cause you to be crushed by a sense of depression.

2. What does Proverbs 18:14 (printed below) teach us about a man’s spirit?

A man’s spirit will sustain him in his sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit? (Proverbs 18:14)

If your spirit is sound and whole, that is to say, if your heart is filled with joy and peace, it can sustain you even if your body is plagued with infirmity. But if your spirit itself is broken, then there are no human resources to sustain you (note Proverbs 14:13). The only recourse is for the Lord to put you on a “divine life support system” until He mends and restores your broken spirit.

3. Consider Proverbs 14:10 (printed below.) What do you think it means when it says, “The heart knows its own bitterness?”

The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger cannot share in its joy. (Proverbs 14:10)

There is a personal and solitary experience of bitterness (be it due to sorrow, grief, or spiritual oppression,) the depths of which cannot adequately be communicated to others, nor comprehended or alleviated by our fellow man. But even the deepest and the darkest of those depths are known by our Lord Jesus Christ. In Exodus 3:7 the Lord declares concerning His people, “I have certainly seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and I have heard them crying out because of their taskmasters. I know their sorrows.”

4. According to Proverbs 12:25 (printed below,) what causes a man’s heart to “stoop?”

Heaviness in a man’s heart causes it to stoop; but a good word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25)

Proverbs 12:25a portrays a man’s heart as stooped over and staggering under the weight of anxiety. In order to handle anxiety in a biblical way, we must recognize that we really can rely upon the Lord: “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

5. According to Proverbs 14:30 (printed below,) what effect does envy have on the heart? What is the alternative? Note Proverbs 14:30a

A tranquil heart gives health to the body, but envy rots the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)

Proverbs 14:30b tells us that envy is like a cancer that eats away into your very bones; i.e., it makes your life miserable while it is in the process of destroying you. Proverbs 14:30a teaches that the opposite of envy is “a tranquil heart,” such a heart ministers “health to the body.”