The Blessings of Faithfulness
“So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. 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 2:20-22
There are two keys to understanding Scripture. The first is interpretation, or the act of reading and studying the form and function of the Word. We attempt to extract (exegete) the original meaning. When we read Proverbs 2:20-22 the interpretation is simple enough. Solomon, the king of Israel, is writing to his children and, by proxy, to the people of Israel at large. “For the upright will inhabit the land…” is a clear indication of God’s promise to the Jewish people. It’s saying walk faithfully with God and enjoy the land He has given you (i.e. the land of Israel).
The second key to understanding Scripture is application, or how the passage applies to our lives here and now. Application will vary from person to person as God the Spirit reveals to each of us His Will for us. What jumps out at me in this passage is the line I mentioned above and the first part of verse 22:
“For the upright will inhabit the land… but the wicked will be cut off from the land…”
What is the land? It is both the literal physical territory known as Canaan, Israel, and more recently Palestine. It is the Holy Land of Christianity and the Promised Land of the Jews, but it is also a manifestation of the promises, presence, and faithfulness of God. When you become a Christian you become one of God’s people and He becomes your God. We are given rights as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, but we are also subject to God’s sacred Torah (or Life-Giving Law). When we do as God says we are blessed to be hear from and experience the movements of the Spirit in our lives and the lives of those around us. However, when we break God’s Law we are cut off. However, this is not to say that we lose our salvation; it means that we are cut off from the blessings of communion with the Spirit because our sin grieves the Holy Spirit.
Moral of the story: honor God and follow His instruction (Ecclesiastes 12:13).