Life with God means leaving behind silly myths and old wives’ tales. It means becoming more permanent, not less permanent. It means a growing reverence for God. And where there’s a reverence for God, there’s wisdom, and where there’s wisdom, there’s life.
My son, if you receive my words and store up my commandments… inclining your heart to understanding… then you will understand the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 2:1-2, 5)
Those who seek wisdom, who store up God’s commands, who lean into God for understanding are those whose lives reflect a deep reverence for God.
You can tell when this wisdom-borne-of-reverence is at work by the results. It’s a reverence characterised by a storehouse of God’s commands treasured in the heart, filling the conscience and overflowing in righteousness, justice, discretion and discernment (Proverbs 2:9).
But we live in irreverent times and so true justice, integrity and discernment are often absent.
Enter Madame Folly. The strange and forbidden women we are introduced to in Proverbs 2:16.
…the adulteress with her smooth words, who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God (Proverbs 16-17)
In 1 Timothy 4:7-8, these ideas of reverence, a dodgy woman and wisdom come together.
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:7-8)
Literally, “irreverent, silly myths” reads more like, “the silly ideas of an old woman.” It’s where we get the expression, “old wives tales.”
There is a kind of thinking that comes from irreverence. It’s antithetical to wisdom, fills the mind with silly myths and is an enemy to life (Proverbs 2:18).
The irreverence of Madame Folly ranges from the silly myth that thirteen has magical power or crust makes your hair curly to smooth words promising that you can bed down with any Joe you want without consequence.
Those who reject her myths and lean with deep reverence into God’s commands are promised a lasting inheritance.
For the upright will inhabit the land and those with integrity will remain in it. But the wicked will be cut off from the land and the treacherous will be rooted out of it (Proverbs 2:22)
In the New Testament, the inheritance of the faithful is eternal life. The counterpart to this in the Old Testament would be the inheritance of the earth or “land.” Both promises convey the idea of permanence.
Unlike our nip and tuck culture which fades away, life endures for those who are growing in deep reverence for God. Life becomes more certain, more natural and more permanent.
So then, where might we begin to foster this deeper reverence for God? Sin is often reactive, unplanned and swift (Proverbs 1:16). And so, we might benefit by slowing down in almost every area of life.
Secondly, the father tells us that the fear of the Lord that leads to wisdom is cultivated by laying up his commandments like treasure in our hearts. It’s a day-by-day thing, a slow thing, and a very deliberate thing.