The Good Life
Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who fears the Lord [with awe-inspired reverence and worships Him with obedience],Who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth;The generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house,And his righteousness endures forever. Light arises in the darkness for the upright;He is gracious and compassionate and righteous (upright—in right standing with God). It is well with the man who is gracious and lends;He conducts his affairs with justice. He will never be shaken;The righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear bad news;His heart is steadfast, trusting [confidently relying on and believing] in the Lord. His heart is upheld, he will not fearWhile he looks [with satisfaction] on his adversaries. He has given freely to the poor;His righteousness endures forever;His horn will be exalted in honor. The wicked will see it and be angered,He will gnash his teeth and melt away [in despair and death];The desire of the wicked will perish and come to nothing.
The story is told of a Montana sheepherder who became enormously rich when oil was discovered on his ranch. He promptly bought a Rolls Royce limousine, the kind where the driver sits in front of a glass partition.
A friend asked, “What do you like best about it?”
“Well,” he drawled, “I can take my sheep to market now without having them to lick my neck.”
What would change in your life if you had the money?
This psalm talks about gaining prosperity- financial advantage is only part of the story. All the qualities presented in Psalm 112 form a picture of the ideal life.
George Wood says:”To build a good life you start with God. Prayers are not something to mumble; nor worship a routine to be endured; nor obedience to God an act to be resisted.”
Although our ever-present response to God may be one of indifference or complaint, not the writer of Psalm 112. He is filled with praise to the Lord. We have nothing without Jesus but if we have Him, we have everything. We don’t usually have any problem praising someone we love or someone who loves us. But there are times when we do struggle in our obedience to God. If we aren’t like the psalmist who takes great delight in doing the will of God, let’s be honest with Him about our resistance: “Lord, I want to be more than just an that obedient servant that stands at attention and performing my duty because I’ve been assigned the task. Help me respond from a willing heart and a heartfelt desire.:”
Psalm 112 gives the promise that a home in which mom and dad serve God with earnest delight yields children who arrive at adulthood with vigor and spiritual force. Thankfully they haven’t been crippled by the poor patterns of rebellious, wounded, or indifferent parents. This is not to say that in such environments, children always turn out well. This is the story of a caring father and a prodigal(Luke 15).
However, Psalm 112 doesn’t attempt to address the exception, just the general rule- parents who love God faithfully without hypocrisy will produce well-adjusted children.
Living the Christ-life raises the standard of living. It produces ethical responses to both life and work for a truly born-again person is no longer self-indulgent, lazy, wasteful, or unwise in managing finances. Although our riches as Christians is not the size of our paycheck, we possess the wealth and riches “in our house.” That wealth is relationships and love and respect.
We read stories of those who successfully are awarded large sums of money in divorcé settlements but we must be reminded that in truth both the receiver and the provider were poor. They had vast sums of money but no true wealth. Living for Christ may not increase our bank accounts, but it will bring about a dramatic improvement to how we live.
As children of God we have a “light” that shines even in dark times, for the Holy Spirit helps us develop a reaction of never retreating back into our selves. Our gaze as Christians consists of an upward gaze to God and an outward gaze to others. Therefore, generous people get through dark seasons far better for even then they have not abandoned their compassion and practical responses to those who are in need or hurting.
If we take a look at the words of Psalm 112, they paint a powerful image of security- never shaken, remembered forever, no fear of bad news, steadfast hearts, trusting in the Lord, no fear triumph over foes, and then ultimately, a horn lifted high as we might imagine a great bull raising its head with a sense of indestructibility and power.
The final verse of this psalm speaks of a life that has chosen the way if the wicked and is marked by anguish and unfulfillment.
Which one describes you? I hope it’s the first.
Dr. John Thompson