One of the things that I like most about the wisdom that comes from studying Proverbs is that it both warns and encourages. This wonderful collection of wise sayings not only warns us of ungodly ways and people — and calls us to avoid them. It also encourages us to live positively — to both know godly good people and to follow in their footsteps. That is what we have here in the 3 verses that wrap up chapter 2.
Earlier in this chapter we were told that wisdom would deliver us from the evil man and the strange (adulterous or sexually impure) woman. It is wise to know what evil looks like — acts like — thinks like — and therefore know what to avoid. But here in the wrap-up of the chapter we see that God also tells us that wisdom will help us “walk in the way of good men” as well as “keep to the paths of the righteous.”
There is a walk that the good man has. It is a walk that here is spoken of as a lifestyle. The word “derek” which we’ve come to know throughout the Proverbs refers to a way of walking or a lifestyle is used here. It is referred to as the lifestyle of “good men.” This word good is one anyone would want to be descriptive of their life. The is the Hebrew word “tob” which means to have a happy lifestyle, a pleasing lifestyle, a loved lifestyle, and a favored lifestyle. The good man walks in the sight of God, seeking to please and honor Him by walking in HIs wisdom, which we’ve come to know is seeing things as God sees them. This good man experiences God’s joy, love, and favor because of this. This is also referred to as walking in “paths of the righteous.” This is simply walking in a path of life where we do what is right as God reveals to us what is right. When we live this way we will experience God’s blessing in our lives rather than His punishment.
The father/teacher reminds his son of the two paths that are available for people to take in life. This was a theme that is throughout Scripture. We can choose obedience or disobedience. We can choose submission or rebellion. The two paths lay before us as we see God and His ways. We can either choose to live “upright,” which means to walk straight in God’s paths - not diverging from His way - OR - we can choose to be wicked - choosing a life that is unfaithful to God and therefore described as very evil. But the father/teacher wisely informs his son/pupil of the consequences of such choices. The evil way is pictured as a tree being first cut down and then uprooted so that there is no remnant of it around. That is the future for the one who chooses to be unfaithful to God. Even when we cannot see it immediately in this life, the fact is that there will be a day where the wicked will be utterly cut off for all eternity. The one who chooses the good way will stretch out and rest in the land. That is what is meant by the phrase “live in the land.” The godly person will also remain in the land. The word for remain is interesting. It is Hebrew word “yathar” and it means to jut out over - which meant to exceed or to abound. The word came to mean a situation in which so much abundance existed that it almost was too much. The man who walks in godly wisdom will have so much of God’s favor and goodness in his life that he will think it almost too much. “God You are blessing me beyond my ability to contain it all!”
Someone might say after reading this, “But often I see the ungodly seeming to prosper right now — and the godly dealing with difficult times? If God has promised super-abounding blessing, I sure don’t see it.” Here is where we need to grasp the eternal perspective rather than one that dwells only in the here and now. We live on this earth maybe 70-80 years (if that long) and then it is over in this life. The Word of God reminds us that after this life is over — there is eternity either in God’s presence or in hell. For the wicked this means he is living on infinitely borrowed time. For the godly, wise man this means that at the very worst — he will have a few moments of difficulty and sorrow before everlasting joy and happiness in God’s presence. And to be perfectly honest with you - I know of people who have little and what little they have is experienced in difficulty. Yet they know joy that cannot be measured by an abundance of stuff — or even having an easily lived life. I also know of those who have had abundance and riches — an easy life — and who search, even in the midst of their abundance, for just a little true joy and find little to none. To know God and the wisdom of God is far better than riches, abundance, a life of ease, or anything else. For the light and momentary problems of this life (and remember Paul was referring to things like public floggings and shipwrecks) cannot compare to the eternal weight of glory that awaits us in His presence for all eternity.