Read Psalm 112
1 Praise the Lord.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands.
2 Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
7 They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn will be lifted high in honor.
10 The wicked will see and be vexed,
they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
A cursory reading of Psalm 112 can seem to support the concept of the “prosperity gospel,” the idea that Christianity Today describes as “God rewards faith …with financial blessings,” but a careful study reveals a call to deep faith resulting in peace, perseverance, and purpose.
Psalm 112 constructs a biblical concept through the literary technique of cause and effect, beginning in verse 1. Blessed (cause) are those who have respect for the Lord (cause). “Blessed” is translated from the Hebrew root word asher. which means to go straight or advance and be happy. This isn’t blessed in the world’s terms of riches, but in God’s terms of guidance and peace. How do we receive this blessing? By having respect for the Lord, recognizing His power and perfection and giving it the appropriate priority.
The writer elaborates on this blessing: They (those who have respect/fear for the Lord) find great delight (effect) when they obey God’s commands (cause). Obedience is difficult, as demonstrated by every human being in the Bible. What we see in Psalm 112 is that we were designed for obedience to God. In obedience, we find the warm fuzzy blanket of guidance and protection which provides peace, patience, and purpose.
When we seek the blessings of the world we will encounter trouble, but when we walk in the directions of God, we will find peace (John 16:33). This world and our own self-centeredness lead us to pursue our desires and our plans, but we know that His purpose is better (Proverbs 19:21). Through following God’s commands, we receive the grit of perseverance because we know we are in His will (Ephesians 1:1) and He works all things to His good (Romans 8:28).
The remainder of Psalm 112 elaborates on the blessings and delights God graciously grants us (effects) as we respect and obey Him (cause). May we never mistake the true and eternal blessings of God built on faith for the temporary and shallow matter of this world.
- What does having respect for the Lord look like in your daily life?
- Which of God’s commands do you struggle to obey?
- Which of the remaining verses (2-10) bring you the most comfort? Why?
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