If I were to tell you that you could prolong your life and be prosperous in it, that you could have favor before God and man, that your paths could be straight,that you could have a good measure of health and that your personal resources could be abundant, you just might think you were listening to a cheap infomercial. Too good to be true. But there it is right there in Prov 3 and when you look at them slowly, they really are promises that are that good.
Look at v. 1-2:
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.”
How many folks to you know and have seen that at 40 years old look like they’re 60 and almost ‘used up’ for lack of a better word. Persons in whom the years have not been kind. Often this is because of a choices–not living wisely. If you treat God, yourself and/or your fellow man cheaply, the price will begin to be apparent by your demeanor, your relationships and the way you look. It isn’t pretty. In fact in some folks it’s quite shocking. Foolishness steals the vibrancy of life. But for those who live upright and good lives, they often finish beautifully and full of life even as their body is wasting away. I saw this in a significantly crippled and elderly woman the other day. She was joyful and full of light–ministering to me through her spirit without words. Beautiful. Ok, so how about the next verse:
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you..then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”
What most of us want is someone to love us and be faithful–loving and faithful friends, loving and faithful family members,loving and faithful neighbors etc… Who wants to be around someone who is selfish and dishonors you? No one. Love and faithfulness bring an abundance to our lives that is beyond our understanding.
“Trust in the Lord…and he will make your paths straight.”
Have you ever seen someone who lives in rebellion to the Lord and despises his ways walk in a straight path? Often these are the people who live life looking over their shoulder, wondering if someone will catch them in their ways.
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
What we don’t realize is that the spiritual, emotional and physical are that while separate they overlap. And in overlapping, they catch each other’s diseases. If you are emotionally filled up and overflowing, it affects your health. And if you are depressed, it affects you physiologically. Proverbs often speaks about the life you choose to live and the effects it has on your health. Our Western Greek mindset often doesn’t quite get this important fact.
“Honor the lord with your wealth…then your barns will be filled to overflowing.”
This isn’t as obvious at first. But it is a promise of God. We give him our first-fruits (not our leftovers) and he will provide. It is sometimes monetarily and sometimes in other ways, but there is always enough in his provision. And look at the countries of the world where Christianity has taken root. Look there and you will find some of the wealthiest countries on earth where wealth is spread to the people. The blessing of abundance is found in righteousness.
Truths like these are proven to true. We have centuries of history to prove that to us. But will our generation believe?