For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you
length of days
One clearly gets the impression that God’s principles in the book of Proverbs are able to lengthen your life; that God’s ideas on how to live life are valuable extenders of life.
There is a corollary to the ideas of this verse: It is possible to extend one’s life if the principles and ideas in this book are followed. In other words, you will live this long if you do xyz stuff; but if you live out the ideas in this book, you will 10, 20, 30 years longer. You and I get to choose whether we extend our life. And not only that, we get to decide whether it will be extended with a sense of completeness, wholeness, and peace.
Think about the opposite of what is being said. To ignore the principles in this book means that your life will be shorter, harder, and constantly incomplete. Who would want that? But many choose that road because they ignore the wisdom in this book from God.
years of life
It is consistent with the understanding that not only the actual time you have on earth will be extended but the life in those years.
Life is something to be enjoyed and used for the Lord God. We are in the midst of a training assignment here on earth getting ready for the real assignment in heaven. How well you learn to love and care and trust Christ here will determine the opportunities that you have there. It is important to extend your life, if possible, so that you can do more good works for the Lord.
But even if you have a short time on earth, let them be filled with life. Invest heavily in wisdom and righteous relationships. Life is relationships – it is not about heaping up wealth or power; it is about building and sustaining key relationships first with God then with others that God has put before you.
This is the Hebrew word shalom which means peace. It comes from the root which means completion or fulfillment. It seems to carry with it the idea that one has stopped the harried acquisition mode and has the treasure that can be enjoyed. Too many people in our day are constantly in the acquisition mode and never have a sense of completion or rest. So they are never at peace.
It is possible to live life but never acquire those things that will actually bring a sense of completion to life. It is relationships that will bring peace. It is strong vibrant righteous relationships that will bring a sense of completion to life. If the crucial relationships of life are missing, then one is never satisfied.
Notice that in verse one of this chapter Solomon states that he has commandments to follow. In verse four he states that if you follow his commandments, it will bring favor with God and man. Therefore, the by-product of listening to and living by the wisdom of the book of Proverbs is completed and strong relationships which are peace. One can then live fulfilled without the constant acquisition mode of most.
It is tragic to constantly be in acquisition mode and then be completely unsatisfied when the acquisition is made, unable to enjoy the latest acquisition, unable to feel completed by the acquisition that one has poured so much energy into achieving.
The key acquisitions that bring peace are strong, vibrant relationships with God and man. It is these relationships with spouse, children, self, colleagues, believers, neighbors, and friends that bring peace to life. One’s life is not complete until you have these. You can’t have these if you violate the principles in this sacred book penned by Solomon but authored by God and breathed into by His life.
The fool constantly asks the question: What would make me happy? What do I want to do? The fool asks selfish questions. But the wise person asks: How can I enter into a deeper connection to the key people in my life? It may mean that I throw myself into a less pleasurable activity so that I can have a more intimate link with this other person. There is greater joy in deep connection with another key person while doing an uninteresting activity than the selfish pursuit of my own desires.
Selfishness, sin, and a materialistic focus rob the ability to be completed by one’s gains.
The New Testament idea of peace is harmony or matching the key frequencies of the lives of those around you – primarily God but also the key relationships in your life. If you constantly are living out a melody that is out of tune and radically different from those around you, then you will never have peace. If you are unwilling to play the tune that God has laid out for you, then you will constantly be in a state of unease and lack of peace.
God wants to be the completer of your life; the one who brings you peace; the one who makes you whole. He does that differently than we would initially think. We often think that he could make us whole by giving us all the wealth that we would want and by giving us people who will do whatever we want. He does not, however, become our genie in a bottle. He becomes our God and directs us in the paths of life. He presents people, situations, and opportunities that—if embraced – will complete us and bring a sense of wholeness and therefore peace to our lives. He also presents Himself as the key completer of our lives – our guide, corrector, instructor, friend, father, judge, confidant, attorney, and object of reverence. All this is needed in a completer – one who brings peace to the restlessness in our souls.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.