“The blessing of the Lord makes rich,
and he adds no sorrow with it.”
~Proverbs 10:22 (NRSV).
Special theses call for broad minds. The commonplace ‘fear of the Lord’—commonplace in biblical circles anyway—is perhaps the most misunderstood of all concepts in the Divine realm. This fear of the Lord does not limit us and our opportunities; instead it quickly expands them. Our territories are broadened when we impact our worlds with God’s wisdom (1 Chronicles 4:10, a.k.a. the Jabez prayer).
Could it be that the broadness of our territories might also be speaking about the length of life, or more so, how much value we might pack into our lives?
One Meaning of Long Life
‘Long life’ in Proverbs can be taken several ways. Notionally it means a long physical life, which is something the ancients would not have taken for granted perhaps as much as we do.
Quality of life is a theme that perhaps can fit marvellously into the standing of a ‘long life’. A.W. Tozer was quoted as saying that he never worried about the breadth of his ministry—he knew that if he worked tirelessly on the depth of his ministry, and ardently developed his devotion to the Lord—the Lord would add its breadth.
The same principle holds for us. The more we focus on doing well at the process-end of things, i.e. doing the doing, and the less we focus on the outcomes, i.e. what we’re getting or not getting, the more Wisdom will unite with us to produce blessings beyond our earlier comprehension.
Means and Ends
Proverbs 10:22-32 talks a lot about life and the means to life that ends well or not-so-well. As a means to an end, those following Wisdom find a stronghold in God (verse 29) and they have a glad hope as they ply their way in life (verse 28). Their way is assured and they won’t be cut off like the one speaking perversely (verse 31).
A life with no added sorrow, as commended earlier, is not a life protected from grief—for grief comes into all our lives, and it is even impossible to tell who will suffer grief when or why. The point is the person after Wisdom is not causing any (or much) of their own grief. In other words, it does not come via the agency of the person themselves. There is no additional grief.
The means to promotion at work is generally via doing our jobs well enough and adding to it the diligence, initiative and will to learn higher level tasks. The diligent will keep their jobs, as far as it’s possible for their employer to keep them, and progress is possible from where they’re at. Generally speaking, the lazy are living on borrowed time in the employment stakes (verse 26).
The main point, however, is the more we focus on pleasing God, despite the world, the more our boundaries will expand over the longer term.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.