Over the past months, we have studied about various promises of God. Financial, Physical and Spiritual promises all made by God to us, to demonstrate the riches of His grace towards us. We have studied how to receive them, and how they can be stolen from us by the enemy. Today we will be studying how to remain in the land… specifically the land of promise. Once you have received the blessings of God in your life, obviously you want to remain there, and the Bible tells you how to do it.
Now you may say “James! I’m not there yet!” Don’t worry, God has you covered today as well. We will also be studying how to get there. So this is going to be a rather detailed message, but be attentive to hear, and you you will catch what God has to say today.
Let’s not waste any time and get right into the scriptures, starting with Proverbs 2:10-22:
“When wisdom enters into your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul;
Discretion shall preserve you, understanding shall keep you:
To deliver you from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaks fraudulent things;
Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
Whose ways are crooked, and they fraudulent in their paths:
To deliver you from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flatters with her words;
Which forsakes the guide of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God.
For her house inclines to death, and her paths to the dead.
None that go to her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.
That you may walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.
But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.”
Some very interesting and powerful things are here in these verses for us. First we see the number one requirement for when we begin to enter the promised land of Gods blessing in verse 10, is when wisdom enters our heart. We recently studied wisdom, and we saw that wisdom only truly comes from a single source: Christ Jesus. The more of Jesus that we see and receive, the wiser we become. Conversely the more of Jesus we ignore and reject, the more foolish we become.
Now here in Proverbs 2:10, we can plainly see that when wisdom enters our heart, and knowledge becomes pleasant to us, the blessings begin to flow. The word “heart” here is the inner-man the place of the soul. It is the same word used in Jeremiah 17:9 which says that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” This tells us something… Hold your place here in Proverbs 2, and let’s take a quick look at Hebrews 8:10:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:”
We know that Jesus Christ is the complete fulfillment of the law (Matthew 5:17). Therefore whenever we see a reference to the Old Covenant Law in the Bible, we can substitute it with Jesus Christ. In this light, we can see that God is saying under the New Covenant of Grace, when we enter into the covenant by accepting and receiving Jesus honestly, He will write Jesus in our mind and in our heart, and the result will be that He will be our God and we will be His people.
Think about this logically: when Jesus is on our mind and in our heart, then our natural thought processes will be focused on Him and our desire will be for Him. We will not be struggling and striving to keep laws and be bitter all the time. We will have a mind and heart filled with Jesus; we will be living a spiritual Christ-centered life that honors Him naturally and effortlessly. It will not be a carnal life for ourselves and our pleasures, but the real pleasure will come as He is the focus of our lives. Why? Because truly we were never meant to live for ourselves, but connected to Him.
Just to be clear, this does not mean that we are free to follow our heart. I mention this because it is such a prevalent lie in today’s culture. Remember that the heart is still desperately wicked and deceitful. Even for a believer. A good example to help understand this is an experience from my past. There was a time when I was heavily addicted, and my heart greatly desired satisfaction from the substances I was addicted to. Now even when I was satisfying my flesh by indulging, the Holy Spirit was filling my heart with scriptures that would deliver me if I would only make use of them. So Jesus was indeed being written in my heart, but it was still my heart that got me into trouble to begin with.
Now back to Proverbs chapter 2. Notice that verse 12 and verse 16 make mention of two specific characters: the evil man and the strange woman. Each type represents a different type of attack from the enemy to try and lead us away from Jesus and disconnect us from Him. In verse 12 we are told that the evil man is one who speaks froward things. These are things contrary to the truth of the Word of God. These are things contrary to Jesus Christ. They may sound nice, they may even sound desirable, but they are not things that are correct or beneficial for us as followers of Jesus. An evil man will use arguments and rationalizations to try and convince people to leave the truth of the Gospel and follow wrong paths. In verses 13 and 14 w see that they have left the path of uprightness (which means they were on it at some point) but now willingly walk in darkness (foolishness), not seeing the light of Christ. Furthermore they rejoice and delight in doing evil, so it’s not merely a way of ignorance, but a conscious choice of evil.
Next in verse 16, we see the strange woman. In the Bible, the “strange woman” is a Hebrew word (zur) which means “one who turns aside”. It is a picture of distractions – anything that turns us aside from following the straight path of Jesus Christ. Verse 16 tells us that the strange woman is one who flatters with her words. She may speak softly and sweetly and tell you everything that you want to hear, but it is a trap. And this is the way most distractions work… they entice us so easily because we want them to! We want what they are offering. In verse 17 we see that the strange woman has forsaken the guide of her youth (which is the wisdom of God) and has forgotten the covenant of God. So similar to the evil man, she once was on the right path, but has chosen to go into error, and takes others along with her.
Verses 18 and 19 are most serious. All who are led away by the strange woman of distractions are headed for death, and we see that none who follow after her return again. Why is this so? Because the strange woman is an adulteress and a temptress, and those who willfully choose to follow her are led away by their own lusts and they enjoy the walk into the pit of death. It is a very deceptive and deadly trap.
The good news however is that for those of you who are here today, the wisdom of the Word of God is entering into your heart and speaking to you now. Look at verses 20 and 21:
“That you may walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.”
Here is the main area of our study today. The end result of wisdom (Jesus) being written in your mind and in your heart is that you will walk the path of good and keep to the righteous path. Furthermore in verse 21, the upright (righteous) person will dwell (live in) the land, and the perfect (complete whole in Christ) shall remain (stay in) it.
The Bible is not being redundant here. You see, there are some who are in the land for a time, but choose to leave as they are led away by evil desires and passions (1st John 2:19).
So what Proverbs 2:20-21 are saying is that those who continually focus on Jesus and His righteousness that He has given us, and keep our eyes on Him and not on ourselves or the things of this world that try to distract us, then we will dwell in the land of His promises. Furthermore as we become a complete whole in Him – allowing Jesus to supply every area of our lives instead of trying to satisfy ourselves – then we will not only dwell in the land, but remain in it.
Finally, we see verse 22, warning us that the wicked shall be removed from the earth and rooted out. My friends, only Jesus Christ can change our status from wicked to righteous. No amount of work or self-effort can accomplish the spiritual redemption necessary to redeem us from the pit of self and sin. I know that some pastors and leaders are not happy with the use of the word “void”; but the truth is that there is a very real void in each of us that only Jesus can fill; and the enemy in the most basic of tactics simply tries to get us to waste all of our time trying to fill that hole with things that don’t fit… and many people die while still trying to shove a square to a cross-shaped hole.
My dear friends, the land of promise is a land created by God for you and I to be in, but it can only be reached via Jesus Christ and Him alone. Don’t spend another minute apart from Him. You can begin dwelling in the land this very second and you can remain there forever.
Simply receive Him, and He will guide you to it.