House Cursings or Blessings? (1)
Brian D. Dykstra, teacher at Hope PRCS in Walker, MI
“The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just” (Prov. 3:33).
Solomon teaches us a spiritual lesson in this proverb by having us look at the dwelling places of two men. One of the men is wicked and the other man is just.
Let’s think first about the man whom the Bible calls wicked. This wicked man is one who does wrong. He sins. Although this man is wicked, he is not what the world would call evil. We are Calvinists, so we would say this man is totally depraved. However, being totally depraved does not mean that we would find this man sneaking around the neighbourhood smashing windows or breaking in doors in order to steal. He does not prowl around the city with a gun or knife murdering people because he loves violence. The wrongs this wicked man commits do not result in his coming before a judge waiting for the judge to give him time in jail.
We believe the Bible’s teaching which says that man is totally depraved by nature. However, total depravity does not mean that the reprobate, the wicked, are always violent all of the time. They are not mean, rotten, and nasty all day every day. The reprobate even do things which appear very helpful, nice and kind. What makes everything they do sinful is that they do not do anything because they love God. They do not do anything from faith. No matter how “kind” an act may be, no matter how helpful the wicked might be in someone’s time of need, because they do not act out of love for God or out of faith, the wicked sin.
Now let us notice where the wicked live. Solomon notes that this wicked man lives in a house. He is not living in a tent or some temporary shelter made of tree 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. Because of his little tricks in business deals, he has the extra money he needs to make his house just a little nicer than the other houses in his neighbourhood. He is doing well for himself and is comfortable. From an earthly point of view, he has no complaints.
Despite the way in which this wicked man lives, which might cause us to feel a touch of envy since he seems to be well-off, God’s curse is in his house. Solomon writes that God’s curse is not just on the house of the wicked, this curse is in the house of the wicked.
We need to take a careful look at the difference between “on” and “in.” It is an important difference. I will give you an illustration about the difference between ON and IN.
One reason why I do not like to work on cars is that my hands become covered with that film of dirty oil. Some of you might not enjoy eating certain foods because they make your hands a sticky mess. This curse from God is not as a layer of something nasty on your hands. When the filth is merely on your hands, one can wash it off and you are done with it. No, this curse is not just on this house, but God’s curse is in this house through and through. This is more like a poison which has worked its way into your body. No matter how clean you make the outside of your body by using plenty of soap, you can’t wash away the poison which is deep inside of you. In the house of the wicked, there is no little corner or closet where one could escape this curse. God’s curse fills every room there. God’s curse cannot be wiped away. This curse is just rottenness all the way through to every little space in the house.
Solomon contrasts this with the just man. This just man is not just because he has 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. You would not point out that man after church and say that he is one of the few people you know who never sins or does anything wrong. Although the Bible calls him just, he too has his sins. He does sin and he would admit his sins to you too. He is just in the eyes of God. God has cleansed him from his sin. The sins of which he is guilty have been taken away. Christ has paid for his sins. God sees him as though he has never committed any sin, because Christ has taken every sin away and Christ’s perfect obedience is placed on him.
This just man, however, has only a habitation, not a nice house. The Bible is speaking of a mere temporary shelter, more of what was called a sheep-cote than a permanent house. A sheep-cote was not built to last years and years. It was merely a carefully arranged pile of branches which would protect the sheep but it wasn’t anything like the cosy houses we live in. This just man isn’t rich. His dwelling is not the nicest place in the neighbourhood.
What he does have and experience, however, is very valuable. He wouldn’t sell it to you for any amount of money. He wouldn’t trade this possession for a palace because what he has 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.