Blessing and Cursing
Brian D. Dykstra, Teacher at Hope PR Christian School in Walker, MI
Proverbs 3:33: “The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.”
Solomon wants us to consider the living accommodations of two men, the wicked and the just. This wicked man is one who does wrong. He is not blatantly evil. We would not find him keeping company with murderers and thieves. His name is not associated with some heinous crime. He is not infamous. The wrong which he commits will not result in his appearing before some judge awaiting a punishment to be declared against him. He simply does what is wrong, but not criminal. He knows how to make a business transaction turn more to his favour. He knows the little tricks of the trade which encourage a little extra money to find its way into his pocket rather than the one with whom he is doing business. These would be the little things of which it can be said, “Everybody does it. It’s no big deal. It’s all just part of doing business. In the end, it all just kind of balances out anyway.”
Solomon notes that this wicked man lives in a comfortable house. He is not living in a tent or some temporary shelter made of branches and palm fronds. Perhaps this house is a bit nicer than average since he seems to know how to make a dollar go just a little farther for him than most other people do. He is doing well for himself and is comfortable. From an earthly point of view, he has no complaints.
Despite these appearances, which might cause us to feel a touch of envy, God’s curse is there. Solomon writes that God’s curse is not just on the house of the wicked, this curse is in the house of the wicked. This curse is not just on this house as a thin film of oil which, once it is cleansed, leaves the interior just fine and none the worse for wear. God’s curse is in this house through and through. There is no little corner or closet where one could escape this curse. God’s curse permeates every room and possession there. God’s curse cannot be easily wiped away. This is just disgusting rottenness all the way through to the core.
Solomon contrasts this with the just. This man has not reached perfect obedience through a supreme effort of his own will. He would not be pointed out by others as a man who has never done any offence to another. He too has his faults. He is just in the eyes of God because God has cleansed him from his sin. The sins of which he is guilty have been taken away.
This just man, however, has only a habitation. It is a mere temporary shelter, more of a sheep-cote than a permanent house. He isn’t rich. What he does have and experience, however, is the blessing of his heavenly Father. He can live his life in spiritual joy, even when God brings him through times of hardship or sorrow. He knows the blessing of his Father is with him.
Think of Jezebel and Elijah during the days of dreadful famine in Israel. Jezebel does not strike us a one who would say, “My dear subjects are suffering and sliding into poverty. I should give up some of my luxuries to show my willingness to take up my part of this burden.” She would maintain her wealth and status if for no other purpose than to provide for Baal’s prophets and persecute God’s prophets. She was born a princess and is now a queen and would live her life as such. Her household, no matter how fine, was cursed by God through and through.
How was Elijah doing at this time? For a time he lived by the Brook Cherith. I don’t suppose he had what we would normally call a house. He certainly wasn’t living sumptuously. Yet, God blessed him for obediently doing His will and gave him his daily bread.
Then Elijah went to the widow of Zarephath. There was no fine living here either. Widows were not very often rich. When Elijah met her, she was down to her last handful of meal, a bit of oil and had a couple of sticks to prepare her last meal. Yet, the widow’s household knew the blessing of God. The barrel of meal did not fail. This barrel was not always full being refilled to the brim each time the widow took out the needed meal. She emptied it, only to find that when it was time to eat again, there was just enough at the bottom of the barrel once more. The same was true for the oil.
Yet, this poor widow and Elijah knew the blessing of the Lord. They shared the joy of knowing that some day God would send the Messiah to save His people from their sin. There is no middle ground. There is a curse and a blessing. God does not change either. Those who are under His curse, shall always be under God’s curse. Those whom God has justified, will always be blessed by Him.