Proverbs 3:1-4

1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man

What a delightful promise of God to His covenantal sons– the promise of the predictable, measurable blessings of longer life expectancy and all around prosperity for obedience to God’s commandments.
These blessings are not the result of striving to earn God’s favor. Legalists can find no solace in this promise. Nor is this the mechanistic workings of natural laws or the quid pro quo of Karma or merely spiritual blessings we experience in our hearts or one day in heaven.  Rather, these are promises for his children today–  a visible display of the favor that God has for all those whom he loves.

The Promise of Long Life (v.2)

Jesus taught us that if we worry and fret we cannot lengthen our life span (Luke 12:25), but if we seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness that we can reasonably expect that he would respond with provision and blessing in this life.  One of these blessings are here mentioned by the Psalmist, notably, long-life.
This should be no surprise to us because it is mentioned throughout the Scriptures.  Consider the promises of the Kingdom in Isaiah 65:20 “No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.”  See also, Deut. 4:40; Jer. 5:26; Eccl. 8:12)
I should also add that this promise extends beyond the life of the believer to his descendants (Psalm 112; Exodus 20).  And because people make up societies we can see that by extension this promise applies to entire societies that embrace His commandments in faith (Deut. 27-28).  Societies under God can expect longer life expectancy and all the attendant blessings of people living longer. I think a survey of christian history and the nations that were more heavily influenced by Christ would reveal this promise to be true. Of course we don’t need stats to believe the promise. But the stats do reveal God to have been faithful. For it is the nations influenced by Christ which by in large have the longest life expectancies.
This of course is not absolutely automatic. Nor is it true that the wicked don’t from time to time see long life.  God is after all a father and no machine.  But these are covenantal promises through which Jesus rules the world. They are not granted to christians in vain.  These promises are in fact the very future of the world as the nations come to worship the Lord (Ps. 86:9) and the knowledge of the Lord covers the Earth like the water covers the sea (Hab. 2:14).

The Promise of Peace & Prosperity (v.2)

We must note that other translations of Scripture translate “peace” as a general “prosperity.”  (Prosperity should not be equated with wealth though the two often overlap.) If “peace” should be translated as “prosperity” as I believe, then we have here a promise to Christian societies of prosperity and blessing.  If this should be translated as “peace” then we have a promise to Christian societies of “peace” which of course we know is related to and often prerequisite to prosperity. Now, which translation is preferred or whether peace has within it an implied promise of general prosperity is beyond the scope of this essay.  But we could with more easily translated passages note that prosperity is indeed a covenant blessing of God for his children (Psalm 112:3).
When a christian or a society of christians chooses righteousness it is exalted in spiritual and material ways (Prov. 14:34). A christian family or collection of families can predictably expect to be visibly blessed. God wants to demonstrate his blessings and he wants to demonstrate his faithfulness in this life. The World then responds in two different ways.  In Psalm 112:8 the wicked see these blessings and are filled with angst.  While in 1 Kings 10 we see nations attracted by the covenantal blessings of the Lord. The city on a hill is not broke down and bread-lined regime. Rather, it is bustling with blessings, abundance and overflow (Prov. 3:10). And, many take note and glorify God in response.

The Promise of Reputation (v.4)

In verse 4, the promises of prosperity and longevity of life are expanded to one of the highest forms of wealth a man can attain: reputation. A family or a society of families can be exalted in the eyes of others, like a shining city atop a hill. The blessings of God will not go unnoticed.  Or by the same token, a rebellious people could instead reap the ire and disgust of other societies.
Consider the blessings of the various nations which once comprised Christendom. Consider the impact as a society embraces biblical attitudes of diligence toward work, thrift, freedom for economic ingenuity, the respect of property rights, and the prayers of the saints for gods kingdom to come on earth.
Now (and this should prove to be incredibly sobering for us) Consider the future of these very same nations as they throw off the light yoke of Christ embracing the delusion of progress offered by humanism and statism.
So, let us who claim Christ not disdain wealth or reputation as worldly or dirty. Let us also be careful not to fall into the common trap of letting wealth and reputation draw us away from God. Let us always seek first the kingdom and the favor of God that comes through obedience. Let us always acknowledge that it is only on account of Christ that his statutes are in our hearts and only by his Spirit that we are capable of living lives worthy of his favor and blessings. This is the life of faith– a faith that laughs and feasts and offers up thanksgiving to the One who is the source of all blessings.
In the end, it is this blessed and godly culture that is attractive and evangelistic to the World. Following the gods and ideologies of this world does not result in widespread flourishing but rather poverty and societal disintegration. It is the christian society—a christian society filled with God’s visible, covenantal blessings that is truly attractive and convicting to all others. Toward that end we must pray and work.
Thy Kingdom Come,
Pastor Brandon Nealy