The Bible calls us to be aliens and strangers in this world - while we live for a world that is to come. As you read this verse, you might wonder how it relates to this particular proverb. It has everything to do with it - because how you are directed - and where you look to receive directions will radically affect your decisions, and will in the end, decide whether you are among the wicked - or the upright. That decision in turn will have very serious consequences on whether what you do will flourish - or eventually be destroyed.
The wicked settle down in this world. This is seen in the fact that they are spoken of as being in a house. They are very comfortable in this world and comfortable with how this world operates. Thus this world has a great deal to say about what their values are and how they will live. When we "settle down" and become comfortable with the world and its ways - we are headed for trouble. James tells us that anyone who is a friend of the world is an enemy of God. The world and its ways should make us uncomfortable. We are looking for the city whose architect and builder is God. We live for the Jersusalem that is above.
Do you walk through this life comfortable with the ways of the world? One of the dangers I see in my life regularly is that through television and the various forms of media - there seems to be a constant push for me to adopt the values of this present world. If I am not careful I will become so comfortable in this world I will forget spiritual reality (which by the way IS reality itself). As I become comfortable with the world and its thinking, I will in turn become comfortable with this world and its actions and lifestyles. Before long, I will begin at first accepting the ways of the wicked - and if I am not careful - acting like them as well.
We are told the opposite in this passage too though. The tent of the upright will flourish. Note here that the upright man is spoken of as living in a tent rather than a house. The tent was the choice of those who did not choose to "settle down" in one place. They saw themselves not in the light of settling down - but as strangers and aliens who were just passing through this present world. As a result they do NOT settle down in this world - nor do they adopt its ways. There is no great need to accumulate the wealth or the things that this world values - because they are transient. They will pass away - actually we ourselves will pass away - at least in these human bodies of ours. Therefore we should not seek to get too comfortable in this world - nor become too comfortable with its ways. Our hearts need to be firmly set on heavenly things. We need to be living with heaven in view - and realize that our ultimate inheritance is there. Therefore we also look to heaven and to the Lord who is enthroned there for our values and for what we should seek.
Please do not see these comments on this proverb as an endictment on buying a house - or as a commentary on how it is better to be a Bedouin than an American. We are speaking of spiritual realities. These things represent an attitude - a choice of a lifestyle. So the question we must answer is not whether we live in a physical house or a tent - but rather whether we are settling down in our minds so that this world is our home - rather than seeing our home in the world to come. Why is this important? I guess in a crude sort of way I can refer to a cross stitch I once saw to explain this. It said, "Home is where the Heart is." There is the crux of the problem. If your home is in this world - that is what will most influence your heart. If your home is in the world to come - where God will reign in righteousness - your heart . . . your values . . . and your lifestyle will reflect it. Oh, and one last thing . . . if you live for this world - you are living for a world that will be destroyed in the end. If you live for the world to come - even now God is preparing a place for you - so that where He is - there you will be also.