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The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.

Proverbs 3:33

The family unit in our society is disintegrating. Marriage, which is the backbone of the family, is in deep trouble. Mothers, who are all important to the welfare of the family, are abandoning their God-given role in the family as keepers of the home to take up work outside the home. Children and young people no longer respect authority but live as rebels in their homes. The lifestyle our society has adopted makes family life very difficult.

These tendencies are not limited to the families of the world but are also creeping more and more into church families. This trend spells disaster for the church and the cause of God’s covenant. This is because the Christian home and family are the backbone of the church.

It is well, therefore, that we consider the wisdom of the Lord in this proverb.

The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked. God forbid that we follow the wickedness of the world that only brings God’s curse into one’s home.

The Lord blesses the habitation of the just. As another year of Christian schooling and catechetical instruction are about to begin, it is important to emphasize that an essential element in the habitation of the just is proper training of the children of God’s covenant. Pray for grace to live as the just in Jesus Christ to enjoy the blessing of the Lord in your home.

A contrast is made between the wicked and the just.

The term “just” could perhaps better be translated as “righteous.”

The basic idea of “righteous” in the Bible is that of obedience to God’s law. The Bible looks at righteousness from both a legal point of view and a moral point of view. Viewed legally, righteousness is God’s verdict as our Judge that we are righteous before Him. He sees no sin in us. All that He has required of us in His law has been met perfectly. Viewed morally, righteousness is obedient living according to the standard of God’s holy law.

The righteous described in this proverb are righteous in both senses. They are not righteous in and of themselves. No one is truly righteous in himself, that is, self-righteous. Fallen mankind is incapable of any good and inclined to all wickedness. This is how God sees and judges fallen mankind. There is none righteous of himself, no not one.

One is righteous only by faith in Jesus Christ.

In Jesus the believer is righteous, first of all, legally. Through Jesus’ death on the cross God has provided a perfect righteousness for His elect people. This righteousness consists of complete payment for all their sins and a perfect obedience performed on their behalf. If we will be righteous before God our Judge, God must reckon the perfect righteousness of Christ to be ours. This He does by faith alone. Faith is God’s gift to His people that unites them forever to Christ. This faith is also the power that brings them to a godly sorrow for sin, a humble confession of sin, and a clinging to Jesus’ perfect work. Through this faith God imputes the perfect righteousness of Christ to all His people so that they know the forgiveness of their sins and are reconciled to God.

In Jesus the believer is also righteous morally. The believer who finds his sins fully covered before God in Christ is profoundly thankful. In thankfulness he desires to serve God according to all His commandments. By faith he finds the strength to do so in Jesus Christ. He is not able to do so perfectly. But in Christ he begins to serve God according to all His commandments.

In contrast to the righteous are the wicked. The term translated “wicked” has the basic idea of agitation, stirring up trouble, causing turmoil. It emphasizes the effect of sin. Sin is that which brings trouble and turmoil, not only to one’s own life but to the life of others. This wickedness characterizes all those who are without Jesus Christ. Those who have not been joined to Christ by faith can only live in sin and disobedience to God’s law. This brings trouble and turmoil to all of life. These wicked are found in the world, but sadly also in the church.

This proverb speaks of the house of the wicked and the habitation of the righteous.

The word translated “house” indicates a living together in a house, suggesting the idea of a family. The word translated “habitation” comes from a word that means to sit and rest. This emphasizes that one’s home is a place of rest, comfort, and joy.

The habitation of the just is the home in which the righteous live. The term itself suggests a family consisting of father, mother, and children who know the Lord. This is consistent with how the Lord works His salvation. When a God-fearing couple marry in the Lord, that marriage is ordinarily blessed with elect children. Parents who are living righteously in Jesus Christ are also zealous to train their children in the realities of the covenant. They train their children in their own homes by teaching them the Scriptures and applying them to everyday practical life. An important element of that training is their own godly example. But that covenant training extends outside the home. They bring their children to the house of the Lord on the Sabbath day to worship the Lord. Those who are of Reformed persuasion have also found that the tradition of good Christian schools and a strong catechetical program is invaluable in the spiritual training of covenant children. The Lord uses such training to bring the children of the habitation of the righteous to faith and salvation in Christ. This is the habitation of the just.

In sharp contrast there is the house of the wicked. The house of the wicked consist of father, mother, and children, just as the habitation of the just. In this case, however, it is a family living without Christ. Without Christ such families live only in wickedness. They fill their homes with wicked disregard for God’s law. They walk only in disobedience and teach their children so.

In the one home you will find the Lord’s blessing. In the other, the Lord’s curse.

The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked. The curse of the Lord is the outward manifestation of His wrath against sin. God is very angry with the sin of man. Unless this sin is covered in the blood of Jesus, God vents His terrible wrath upon the sinner. God’s curse is the misery and torments God heaps upon the wicked as the proper punishment for their sin.

God’s curse comes especially on the wicked in their home and family life. Certainly, the curse of God and the misery it brings is not limited to the home of the wicked. The curse of the Lord is upon every aspect of his life on earth—his work and play, his business and learning, and finally in hell. But, for this present life, the curse of God is found especially in his home. For the home and family is the center of one’s life. It is in the home that we spend most of our time. It is there that we find the most important and closest relationships of life. One’s happiness is inseparably connected to the home. What joy when there is peace and unity in the home! What sorrow and grief when the home is troubled! God curses the wicked by touching especially his home.

The misery God brings to the house of the wicked is often the direct result of the wickedness of the family members. Impenitent and unforgiven sin brings God’s judgment of failed marriages, abuse, divorce, rebellion, alcoholism, and many other family maladies. And this often arises in the context of earthly prosperity, which many confuse with God’s grace. The more God gives to the wicked, the more they have with which to sin and to bring greater sorrow upon themselves.

In contrast, God blesses the habitation of the just.

God’s blessing is the manifestation of His love and favor to His people. This manifestation of love and favor causes them to prosper spiritually, filling their hearts with gladness. This blessing comes to them only on the basis of the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ that God has imputed to them by faith. But this blessing is enjoyed only in the way of their righteous living that Jesus works in them. God especially blesses the righteous in their home life. Ordinarily, He blesses their marriages so that there is harmony and unity between husband and wife that reflects the blessed relationship between Christ and His redeemed church. Ordinarily, God also blesses their home with children who come to know the Lord and serve Him with all due obedience to their parents. To this we may add the consolation and hope that the family enjoys in the promises of God as they face the difficulties of life. The righteous also face many hardships in this life. But these hardships are trials that the Lord places upon the righteous to strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ. They are really blessings in disguise.

Because happiness is found only with the righteous, this proverb speaks of the “habitation” of the righteous. The word “habitation” originally referred to a sheepfold where the sheep were safe and secure for the night. From that developed the idea of a place of safety, protection, and rest. The home of the righteous is just such a habitation because of the Lord’s blessings on it.

This proverb merely states a truth. A solemn calling is implied.

That calling is to establish and maintain habitations of righteousness. This is a calling for young people to marry in the Lord. It is a calling to newly married couples to live righteously so that Christ is the center of their life together and the new home they have established. It is a calling to covenant parents to train their children in the true righteousness of the covenant. It is a calling to covenant children to embrace the training of their home, church, and school so that they may come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and grow in godliness.

This calling is necessary because the works of salvation are only begun and not finished in us. We develop in righteous living only as we are instructed and called by the Word of the Lord.

And when we live righteously in our homes, we can expect the blessing of the Lord. This is the Lord’s promise. But know this also. Should the righteous in weakness of faith allow the wickedness of the world into their home life, they will know the Lord’s anger in the form of chastisement and correction. God forbid such folly! Let us by faith make our homes the habitation of the just and enjoy the great blessings of the Lord.