Do we still expect God to answer us according to the Old Covenant? Why? The New Covenant is so much better!
[3:1] My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,  for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.
King Solomon wrote Proverbs according to God’s covenant with the people of Israel, which was a works-based covenant: “If you will do this, then I will do that.” The problem is that no one could keep the Old Covenant fully. Enter: Jesus and the New Covenant! Jesus fulfilled the law by living a sinless life. He then fulfilled the law’s requirement by becoming the Sacrificial Lamb for the sins of the world.
NOTE: His sacrifice was made outside of time and, therefore, can be applied to all mankind. See Rev. 13:8. His blood was already on the altar for Isaiah. See Isaiah 6:6-7. His blood was shed once for all. See Heb. 9:28, 10:10.
Let’s compare these first two verses of chapter 3 to New Covenant thinking:
v.1 “Forget” can also be “forsake” or “ignore.” During the OC [Old Covenant], they didn’t have individual copies of the Scriptures, and forgetting was understandable [hearing it read once a week at synagogue was all they got]. We do. Not only do we have written copies available (how many Bibles do YOU have?), we have His Word written on our hearts.
Hebrews 8:10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people [quoted from the OC].
Ours is the greater privilege, but also the greater responsibility. As the Holy Spirit reminds us of what God has told us, we must choose to obey or to “forget.”
v.2 If we were to say that “prolong your life” meant heaven, people would accuse us of spiritualizing the statement. In a sense, they are correct; it’s what Jesus did. His statement to Pilate was, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.” John 18:36. Jesus doesn’t want us to stay in this world any longer than we have to. He wants us to be with Him and to see Him in His glory (John 17:24).
Prosperity works the same way. There is so much to this life beyond material goods and money: Family (both physical and spiritual), the presence and participation of the Spirit in our lives, and the satisfaction that comes from living for Jesus, to mention a few. Then, we have the hope and prospect of heaven.
Instead of expecting God to bless us in this world, whether it’s health, wealth, successful relationships, recreation, or even happiness, let’s put our hope in what He has promised us in heaven with Him:
- A glorified body with no more pain, hunger or thirst, or age;
- NO SIN NATURE!!!
- His eternal presence, which includes His love, joy, and peace;
- A crown–which we will lay at His feet!
Until then, let’s remember that we already have His Presence, His Words written on our hearts, and eternal life, which has already begun!*
*If heaven is where Jesus is, and Jesus is in our hearts, then heaven has already begun for us! The reverse is true for hell: If hell is a place without the presence of our LORD, and a person rejects the Spirit’s knock on his heart’s door, then hell has already begun for that person. Sobering, isn’t it?