Something I read about Psalm 111 that I didn’t pay much attention to but now seems more important as we read Psalm 112 is that both Psalms are written as an acrostic, with parts of the psalm represented by a Hebrew letter and subsequent title for each letter. Both psalms use the same words! Obviously, they were written in Hebrew so the acrostic itself wouldn’t make sense to us but the themes in both would. So, for Psalm 112 we will look at the contents using these themes and how they compare with Psalm 111.
As you may recall, Psalm 111 was about the righteousness of God, His justice, mercy, and compassion. Psalm 112 focuses on the righteous man (or woman) and how we as humans can live out the same righteousness as God. In a religious sense, this can very easily devolve into a list of rules and regulations of how you “should live.” But, I have been working really hard to make sure I don’t “should” all over myself nor “should” all over anyone else! The key here for us in our context, post-crucifixion, is that these aren’t things that we should or must do in order to be righteous, but because Jesus was the payment for our sins and He provided righteousness to us (Romans 3:24-26) so that we have the freedom and power to live righteously. It’s not that we have to act righteous in order to be accepted, rather that we are accepted and therefore righteous. We GET to live holy! I feel like I can’t stress that enough, not only for you but for myself as well.
Now that we have that understanding, let’s dig into these themes of Psalm 112:
It’s interesting how “delight” and “fear” are to be related. Solomon wrote a lot about the fear of the Lord. In Proverbs 9:10 he wrote
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.
Isn’t it delightful to be wise? Sure, that sounds good, but do we truly delight in fearing the Lord Himself? Not as an equation where we do it to receive blessing, but simply because He is God Almighty. How can we see this in a way we can better understand? I hate to bring it “down” to this but I think it is actually a great representation of how we should act in our relationship to God. My dog “delights” in fearing me. She enjoys following my lead, making me happy, feels protected when I am with her, and genuinely feels bad when she breaks the rules and I scold her…trying desperately moments later to make it up to me and remind me she loves me more than the bad thing she did to upset me. If only we were so loyal and delightful to God the Father! She doesn’t fear me in that she always walks around with her tail between her legs and trembling when I walk in the room worried about what I do next. She approaches me with all the energy she has in her body, ready for the next experience whether it is going for a walk, eating a meal, or just sitting on the chair watching tv. She respects me, she loves me, she trusts me. This is how we should delight in fearing the Lord.
Before we get all crazy and think that evidence of a righteous life is wealth and riches, let us make sure we know what wealth and riches we are looking at here. Remember what Jesus says in Matthew 6:
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Rather, this kind of prosperity is one that is of joy and goodness. That peace that surpasses all understanding we have in Christ. Job went through hell on earth because of his righteousness. Sure he had wealth, but it was because of his righteousness that God allowed him to be Satan’s target. Our righteousness will provide us with a prosperity that nobody nor anything can touch or take away from you.
Grace & Compassion v. 4
The Lord is gracious and compassionate. He doesn’t do this to us so we can just sit and enjoy it, but so we can pass it on to others! He blesses the nations through us. Our mission is to love others as God has loved us. Sometimes this is extremely hard to do, but He calls and empowers us to love the unlovable, the forgotten, the downtrodden, the rejected (Matthew 25).
Being able to discern and judge rightly a situation is key for the Christ follower. We want to see and hear things through God’s eyes and ears. Being able to do so allows us to treat situations the way God wants us to. Too often, we see or experience things through the filters of our own perspectives. We react emotionally (positively or negatively) to situations or problems in the world instead of discerning how God sees it and wants us to respond. Sometimes He doesn’t want us to respond at all!
When we trust in the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and body we become established on a firm foundation (a theme easily recognized throughout the scriptures). We cannot be shaken. Because we have been solidified in Christ as His, nothing can pluck us from His hand (John 10:29). He prepares a feast for us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5). We have nothing to worry about if we remain in Him!
In verse 9, we see the reference to a “horn,” which in our context today doesn’t really mean much. This was a reference to power. In Revelation we see references to many horns on different beasts, these are establishments of power in the world or spirit realm. So, as this psalm comes to a close we see that the Lord establishes the righteous. He makes us righteous and clothes us in righteousness, not so we can exalt ourselves but so He can be glorified through how we live our lives.