The common wisdom, the lie Satan has convinced the world to believe is that all pleasure stops when someone converts to Christianity. Probably heard this or something very similar: “Don’t want to think about spiritual things now, having too much fun. Talk to me later, when I’m old.” Numerous ways in our culture that stereotype has been perpetuated, but the truth is: Living the Christian life is not a drag! Perhaps some consolation in knowing it isn’t a new problem:
“although integrity may be occasionally praised, nevertheless, there is scarcely one among a hundred who pursues it, because all imagine that they will be miserable unless, by one means or another, they seize as booty every thing which comes in their way.” Calvin (1509-1564)
I’m sure some of world’s attitude comes from not understanding: taking life seriously (as Christians should) does not mean there’s no joy in it. And, too, those Christians who look like they had lemons for breakfast and sour pickles for lunch don’t help matters. But biggest culprits – blindness from sin and deception from Satan. Truth be told, when unbelievers examine the life of a Christian, they are envious of what the Christian has. The unbeliever desires “the good life” for themselves; problem is how they go about trying to achieve it.
Last week, studied previous psalm, “God Is So Good, Forever”. Here’s something to think about: If Ps. 111 demonstrated that God’s character is revealed in his works, Ps. 112 says “Godly individuals will reflect the attributes and character of God.” Put another way, “A man becomes like his God.” G Campbell Morgan If that is true, what does it say about those who claim Christianity and their view / understanding of God? Could also ask what it says about the god of those who claim allegiance to one not the God of the Bible!!
Morgan is right with respect to Christians; at least that is God’s ultimate goal for his children: Paul declares Rom. 8:29 the destiny of the believer
“those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” NET
“the same day you become godly, you become blessed.” Thomas Watson That’s where our psalm begins after an opening Hallelujah! Let’s consider then the profile of a blessed man, the reward of that blessed man, and the futility of the wicked.
A. profile of a blessed man
fears the Lord (1a)
previous psalm ended with: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.”
not only beginning of true wisdom, fear of the Lord is root of all true blessing and happiness; must keep things in right order – proper attitude toward God must come first, must have primary focus
delights in obedience (1b)
same one in view here who delights in the works of the Lord (111:2) – delight in his works, in his word enhanced by strong emotional connection: it’s his works, his word
because the blessed man first loves God, anything associated with God is source of delight because God is source of delight
same love for God that fuels desire to obey God’s commands: because we love God and know he loves us, desire to show that love by striving to please him
if God loves us enough to reveal his will for us through his commandments, we should delight to show love for him in return by obeying him
walks in the light (4a)
notice the blessed man experiences light in the darkness, not instead of darkness; he will experience dark times, but…of limited duration
he walks and lives in the light, is not overwhelmed with darkness that continually surrounds him – is God himself who is his light
is the object of God’s favor, Aaronic blessing: Num. 6:24-26 “The LORD bless you and keep you;the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
gracious, merciful and righteous (Christ-like) (4b, 9b)
Ps. 111:4The LORD is gracious and full of compassion – Ps. 112:4 He is gracious, and full of compassion
“full of compassion” – part of God’s self-description to Moses, picked up on and repeated several times in OT; only here applied to anyone other than God
would be perfectly correct to say the upright person who is gracious, full of compassion, and righteous is Christ-like – is an expected result of delighting in God, his works and his word
generous and honest (5, 9a)
deals graciously and lends = is generous lender; the opposite of the ungodly, always looking how to come out ahead
even unbeliever who is generous toward some has an agenda: if not looking for material reward, has some other payback in view – making points with God or others, nice epitaph, name on a building, e.g.
“conducts his business honestly [fairly, with discretion]”: like the man in Psa. 15:4 “who swears to his own hurt”; copier guy – said he could fix it, repair didn’t fix, wouldn’t charge; under-quoted price, adjusted invoice to compensate
steadfast (6a, 7b, 8a)
not because of an extreme helping of personal fortitude – will never be shaken, will not be faint-hearted because he trusts in the Lord
confidence in God that enables him to ride out the storm – convinced of God’s love for him, God must then keep him secure
heart is established, resolve is firm – presses confidently forward focused on God and not distracted or dismayed by what’s happening in his surroundings
unafraid (7a, 8b)
does not fear bad news: at worst, for the child of God the worst news is only a test designed to increase faith and dependence
does not give in to fear: high-dollar business these days, diagnosing and medicating anxiety, panic attacks
the blessed man responds to fear, anxiety like Peter: he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” Matt. 14:30
don’t hurry over the next line: “immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him”; not overcome/paralyzed by fear
B. reward of a blessed man
a godly posterity (2)
are exceptions in both directions, thank God for that; God does reach down into dysfunctional wicked families and rescues people
but is also general principle: man who delights in God will usually have children who delight in God also, and receive his blessing on their own account
children will be people of distinction and honor as they build on godly foundation laid by their parents
“It may be that gold and silver may not sparkle in their homes; but they are endowed with the treasures of peace and joy, compared with which earthly possessions are an empty show. The world may scorn them, but they are kings and priests unto God. Godliness is true greatness, which rust and moth destroy not, and spoilers cannot touch.” Henry Law
perseverance (3b, 9b)
perseverance of the saints – all those who are truly born again will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians
perseverance, righteousness enduring forever, is the visible evidence of God’s blessing and gracious preservation
an honorable reputation (6b, 9c)
the one who lives a genuine godly life is held in high esteem by Christian brothers and sisters, will be held up as exemplary to others – look at him/her, follow that example
even for all the criticism, opposition, even persecution, the wicked want what God’s children have for obvious blessings
C. futility of the wicked (10)
right living by the righteous puts the spotlight on the wicked, showing them for what they really are, revealing evil
no matter how hard they try, God frustrates their efforts, makes it impossible for them to achieve same level of “success” (blessing) as the righteous
they end in despair, all their hopes and dreams unfulfilled, they are powerless to change themselves or the outcome
Here’s what you know of God, his nature, his character, his attributes. Based on that, all of God’s giving must be good and all his gifts must be perfect. Must be true since God is the source, his giving and gifts flow out of his being and character, and he is inherently good. Even God’s giving of trials is good and the final outcome is perfect.
So,… that means bad things don’t happen to good people, good in the sense of a member of Christ’s body. If God is sovereign, means all things come to the believer by way of God’s hand; if God is good, those things that come must be good and for our good and the outcome must be good, even perfect. Our life is a continual stream of good giving from God that has our perfection / our holiness in view. So, we should consider even our trials as good giving to be enjoyed, not evil things to be endured.
Even when life is hard, it is good and will only get better for child of God. Good in this life is mixed with trials and difficulties and pain and sorrow. Imagine trying to endure all of that apart from God!! Life is good, when God is our Father and we are committed to following Christ. And it continues good, forever.