The fear of the Lord prolongs life,
but the years of the wicked will be short.
I wonder if there is any life insurance company that uses this criteria in evaluating life expectancy. They do evaluate lifestyle. One who fears the Lord, diligently obeying his laws, should have better odds of living longer than the one whose wicked life invites danger and violence.
But the fear of the Lord entails more than an effort to not sin. One who fears the Lord delights in God; he finds peace and contentment through trusting God; he finds purpose in living. And as all medical experts know, the one who lives in contentment is more likely to live longer than the one who is anxious, always pursuing something more, and living on the edge.
So, living a good life promotes wellbeing, as does living a contented life. But the proverb is more likely to be thinking of God’s protection over those who fear him. We may follow the right diet, do the right exercises, and live righteous and contented lives, but have our lives cut short nevertheless by any number of causes. It is to the Lord that we look for preservation.
Even so, the full truth of this proverb lies not in how many years of this physical life that we can accumulate, but in the work of the Lord to give eternal life to his people who fear him. “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). Now that is prolonged life!
© 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church.
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Tenth Presbyterian Church.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org