Listen, my son, receive what I say, and the years of your life will be many. – Proverbs 4:10
In this 4th chapter of Solomon’s works, we read the statement that wisdom, when found and cherished, will produce for us a long life. There is a caveat given by the father in the text to his son. That warning is to receive or listen to what his dad told him, and hence, not to forget it but live by it. Thus, the son’s adherence to his father’s wise instruction would give him a long life.
Here in these words of the father, I hear the words of the Father telling me the exact same thing, Listen…son…receive…[your] years…will be many. So often we think we hear the voice of God only to have encountered a bit of undigested food, a whim of our own, or even a spiritual influence outside of God. On the other hand, when we don’t think we hear God’s voice, we can and should stop to read the Holy Scriptures where we can see and heed the written words of God. In so doing, we will receive the benefit of the promise in this text – a long life based on having listened to God’s word, receiving it, and as Jesus said doing it. Do you want a long life on this planet? Then I suggest, we, do as the author states. Listen. Receive. Live.
Father, your words are right there with an in your face approach but filled with grace simultaneously. You say by command to listen and receive your word in order to have a long life, but in that note of having a long life you infer a tenderness and grace. Why is it that way? Because we don’t deserve a long life after having been encoded with a sinful nature in our DNA. However, you chose to make it possible for us to be reconciled to you through a one-time, permanent sacrifice in the form of your son’s blood. You promised us that the gift of God eternal life through Jesus, but most people forget that he is the bread of life. He is life itself, for in him we live, move, and have our being. You hold us together molecularly by your very word. Without you we are nothing and would cease to exist immediately. Thus, we must listen and heed your instruction just to stay alive in this world let alone the next. Thank you for your grace and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.