Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.
Would you like a long life? Many are obsessed with life extension, as shown by the money and time spent on vitamins, medication, surgery, diets, and exercise programs. This proverb offers a long life, but few will be interested, because it requires humility and obedience. Most people would rather pay for placebos and continue in sin and pride.
David taught Solomon to crave and value wisdom (Pr 4:3-9), and Solomon taught his son the same (Pr 4:1-2). By the emphasis of two generations – an exceptional father and grandfather – the importance of wisdom was made clear. Solomon then appealed to his son to hear and receive the fatherly advice he himself had been taught for a long life.
Solomon said, “Hear, O my son.” Men have trouble hearing advice, because their own feelings, thoughts, ideas, opinions, preferences, and goals race loudly through their foolish minds. Others are too busy chasing vanity and do not have the time to listen. Only a few have the wisdom to make the time and shut down their own ignorant thinking to learn knowledge from others that God has appointed and sent as teachers (Pr 18:1-2).
Solomon said, “Receive my sayings.” Men resent correction, instruction, and reproof, because their pride will not admit they are wrong. The bondage of arrogance and conceit dooms most men to a life of ignorance and failure (Pr 26:12,16). They cannot learn, because they will not reject their ideas to admit another is wiser. Only a few have wisdom to admit ignorance and learn from others (I Kgs 3:7; Ps 131:1-3; Jer 1:6; Matt 18:3-4).
God, parents, and pastors teach wisdom. He wrote the Bible, a divine library of 66 books filled with wisdom in various literary forms. God gives parents to children from their first moments to help them avoid the troubles of life. And Jesus Christ ordained true pastors to feed His people with knowledge and understanding (Jer 3:15). It is your duty to humble yourself and tremble before these ordained teachers (Is 66:2; Eph 6:1-3; I Thess 5:20).
Learning wisdom will extend your life, and it will enhance your life. There is safety in wisdom that secures you from life’s dangers and the judgment of God and men (Pr 2:18; 3:2,16; 5:5; 7:27; 8:36; 9:11,18; 10:2; 11:4,19; 12:28; 13:14; 14:12,27; 16:14,25; 18:21; 21:6). And there is a reward in wisdom that brings glory and honor (Pr 3:16; 4:8-9; 22:4). Do you fully appreciate the value in hearing and receiving the sayings of your teachers?
Wisdom will extend your life naturally, especially the sayings of this book of Proverbs. Here are warnings against life-shortening consequences of accidents, adultery, anger, bitterness, a broken heart, capital punishment, crime, depression, disease, divorce, drunkenness, envy, fear, gluttony, grief, guilt, hatred, marital dysfunction, murder, STDs, stress, strife, violence. It is wisdom to consider these sinful causes of premature death.
If you do not think the above things shorten physical life, you need to think again. Some will kill you directly; some will kill you indirectly. Consider just for starters the enormous power of psychosomatic illnesses – bodily breakdown from mental or spiritual problems (Pr 15:13; 17:22; 18:14). Modern medicine confirms that a content and happy person in a monogamous marriage will outlive a single whoremonger of either sex.
Wisdom will extend your life supernaturally by securing God’s blessings and/or avoiding His justice and judgment. The living God will cut off the lives of the wicked (Ps 55:23; Eccl 7:17), but He will extend the lives of the righteous (Pr 10:27; Ps 34:11-16; 91:14-16; 128:6; I Tim 4:8; I Pet 3:8-12). Remember the reward of long life for obeying parents (Eph 6:1-3). When God is on your side by obedience to His word and teachers, you have done more for your future health and longevity than any exercise or nutrition program.
Consider the shortened lives of the world’s inhabitants (Gen 7:21-24), Sodom’s fine citizens (Gen 19:24-25), Er and Onan (Gen 38:7-10), Eli’s sons (I Sam 2:25), Nabal (I Sam 25:38), Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), Herod (Acts 12:23), and many church members at Corinth (I Cor 11:30). This is no laughing matter, for you see it throughout the Old Testament, and you see it even among church members of the New Testament.
Solomon wrote elsewhere, “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” (Eccl 7:17.) It is a known fact that hard living – a sinful lifestyle – shortens life expectancy. What will you do with the sayings of the teachers in your life? Will you hear and receive them and live? Or reject them and die?
Son, do you hear and receive your father’s sayings? Do you gladly listen to your father and appreciate his correction, instruction, and warnings? Or do you resent him for ignoring your great experience and wisdom? Do you ignore him because he is out of touch with your foolish and vain world? Humble yourself, or die young (Eph 6:1-3).
Father, do you say wise things to your son regularly? Or do you just bring home the bacon, vegetate with the television, and live as a couch potato. You must teach him the wisdom of God (Ps 34:11; Eph 6:4; Joel 1:3). Do it, or you will cost him years of his life. Why did you have him in the first place, if you are not going to teach him to be wise?
The God of heaven has spoken by His word. Will you hear and receive the sayings? He has sent pastors to feed His people from that word. Will you hear and receive their words? Natural and supernatural blessings depend on your choice. What will it be? Will you live a long and abundant life? Or will you be cut off early after living miserably?