July 26, 1955 (Taken from Good Morning, Friends: A Collection of Weekly Radio Messages by R. J. Rushdoony, Vol. 3, pp. 55-57)
Good morning, friends. Solomon declares, in Proverbs 2:20–22, that the purpose of wisdom is “that thou mayest 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.”
This is a familiar declaration of Scripture: it is repeated in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). What does it mean? How do the Lord’s people inherit the earth?
According to Scripture, they inherit the earth in a double sense. First of all, it is the Lord’s people, who walk in faithfulness to Him, who alone truly enjoy the earth. The man who is at war with God is a driven man who races through life without living it, and laps up this world without tasting it. His days are haunted by the shadow of his conscience and by the wrath of God, and his days are feverish with a quest for life in things rather than in the Lord. He talks about enjoying life, but the actuality is that life rather frightens him. In the words of Moses, they “grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in the darkness” (Deut. 28:29). “The sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth” (Lev. 26:36).
The land which the Lord’s people inherited was Canaan, and when they walked in faithfulness to the Lord, they possessed the land and reaped its riches in quietness and confidence. Even this fallen world is good and wonderful in all its ways, but too many people are too driven by their evil consciences to be able to enjoy either life or the world. They live in the vacuum of their own tainted hearts, in the emptiness of their lives, in the loneliness of their selfish souls. A million people can pass near them, but they cannot reach out and touch one of them with love and kinship. If they marry, nearness means, not love and wealth of life, but suffering and punishment as it exposes their emptiness and threatens their selfishness.
But the righteous find strength and joy even in trouble and sorrow. Life for them is progressively richer. The simple things of life, eating and drinking, walking and talking, sleep and work, all alike have a richness. Men, women, and children are met and received with a delight in sharing life’s common grace. Of them it is said, “ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid” (Lev. 26:6). For the blessed meek, the tamed of God, inherit not only the earth, but in quietness and in confidence they possess their own souls.
But there is a second meaning to this text that points to its fullness. The land of inheritance of which Solomon spoke was, of course, Canaan, the Promised Land. But Canaan was not the fullness of the promise, but only a foreshadowing, a type of it. The true Promised Land of the chosen people of God is the eternal Kingdom of God.
Both life and the world as we know them represent only a shadow of the glorious reality which is to be ours in Christ. As Paul expressed it, “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:53). Our life in that Promised Land is a physical life in a resurrected body; it is a life of perfection and of unending joy. It is a life of work, with the curse removed from all labor and the fullness of satisfaction added to it. It is life in Christ and in the presence of God the Father.
This, then, is the purpose of wisdom: to guide us not only in relation to this world, but in relation to the world to come, to make us meek, tamed of spirit, that we might inherit that great Promised Land, the eternal city of God.
Heaven and earth have a great destiny: recreation into the eternal perfection of His Kingdom. And this great inheritance is laid up in store for us who walk by faith in Jesus Christ.
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.