Inhabit the Land (Proverbs 2:20-22)

“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

This speech from the father ends with a “so” statement. This is an “if, then” conclusion to the speech. If you receive wisdom from the Lord (Proverbs 2:6) and search for it with all your might (Proverbs 2:1-5), then you will find life! On the flip side, if you ignore God and do not receive his wisdom, then you will find death.

In the context of the Old Covenant, the land of Israel (the land God had promised to them) was a part of the covenant blessings and curses (Deuteronomy 27-28). For the people of Israel to remain in the land, they had to keep the law, and if they failed to “follow all the words of the law,” they would be “uprooted from the land” (Deuteronomy 28:58-63). Therefore, the father is telling his son in these verses that wisdom will keep him in the proper covenant relationship with God and his people.

What does this mean for you under the New Covenant? We know the old covenant is obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). For, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Under this new covenant, Christ took the curse of your sin (Galatians 3:13), and you receive the blessings of his obedience (Galatians 3:14). Therefore, your ability to remain in the “land” (now to be understood as your life in Christ), is wholly dependent upon the grace of God at work in you through the Spirit of God (Romans 8:1-17). You have received the promise to be “in the land” eternally because you are now in Christ (Romans 8:18-30; Colossians 3:2-4). Truly, there is nothing that can separate you from his love.

Yet, the warning still remains: do not use your freedom to indulge your sinful nature (Galatians 5:13). As the author of Hebrews writes, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:12-14). You should work with all your might to obey God, to follow his word, and walk in the wisdom he provides, knowing the whole time that his power is working in you for your good.

As Paul told the Philippians, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). Walk in the grace of God, and as you walk, be upright, have integrity, walk in the way of the good, and keep to the paths of the righteous. If you do these things, you will experience what it means to live in the freedom Christ won for you!

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