September 20, 2017
Scripture Reading – Psalms 111-113
The psalms in today’s scripture reading begin with the same opening theme and call to worship— “Praise ye the LORD” (Psalms 111:1; 112:1; 113:1). In essence, to “Praise ye the LORD” is to boast of Him; glory in Him; celebrate the LORD for He is Yahweh, Jehovah, God Eternal!
Psalm 111 begins with a vow to “…praise [give thanks] the LORD with my whole heart…” (111:1b). Sincere praise of the LORD arises from a trusting, undivided heart. The psalmist’s meditations on the LORD reflected on His works…the wonder and expanse of His creation (111:2), “His righteousness”— He is just, and “is gracious and full of compassion” (111:4b).
Psalm 112, like Psalm 111, begins with a word of praise to the LORD and an affirmation that the man who “feareth” [trembles; reveres] the LORD is “Blessed” [happy] because he “delighteth [desires; takes pleasure] greatly in his commandments [Law; ordinances; precepts]” (112:1).
We find four traits of a “Happy” man in Psalm 112. A “Happy” man is Blessed (112:1), Upright (112:4), Good (112:5-6a) and Righteous (112:7-9).
He is “Blessed” because he is the object of God’s grace (i.e. unmerited favor).
Because he “feareth the LORD” (lit. reveres the name and rejoices in the character of the LORD) and “delighteth greatly in His commandments” (112:1c), such a man finds the Law and Commandments of the LORD a delight (Psalm 1:1-2) and the overflow of God’s grace in His life affects his family (112:2).
Secondly, a “Happy” man is “Upright”, meaning just, righteous, a man who fears and reveres the LORD (112:4). The “upright” are not exempt from dark days: they suffer sickness, deaths of loved ones, disappointments, betrayal of friends and broken promises; however, they have the assurance: “there ariseth light in the darkness” (112:4a). David wrote from his experience, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Believers go through dark times; however, they have assurance the light of the LORD will pierce the darkness. Having experienced darkness and God’s grace, believers are “gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous” (112:4b). Why are the upright inclined to be “gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous”? Because they reflect the character of the God they love and serve!
Psalm 111:4 – “He [the LORD] hath made His wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.”
Because they have known God’s light in the midst of darkness, the upright are gracious….kind to the needy and forgiving; full of compassion…merciful and tender.
Thirdly, a “Happy” man is a “good man” (112:5).
We notice four things about a “good” man’s character: 1) He is gracious in demeanor (pleasant and pleasing); 2) He is generous (“lendeth” to those in need); 3) He exercises “good sense”, guiding “his affairs with discretion” (112:5); 4) He is well “grounded” for “he [good man] shall not be moved for ever” (112:6).
The fourth and final trait of a “Happy” man is he is “righteous” (112:7-9). Consider three qualities of this righteous man:
1) He is fearless… “he shall not be afraid of evil tidings” (112:7a) for he has a settled confidence in the LORD.
2) His heart is firm… “fixed, trusting in the LORD’ (112:7b) and “he shall not be afraid” (112:8b).
3) He is freehearted, generous, giving to the poor (112:9); he is not a hoarder of riches, but a steward of God’s blessings and a conduit ministering to those in need.
What is the response of the wicked to a man who is Blessed, Upright, Good and Righteous? Envy!
Psalm 112:10 – The wicked shall see [look; behold; regard] it, and be grieved [troubled; angry]; he shall gnash [i.e. grate or grind] with his teeth, and melt away [faint; be discouraged]: the desire [longing; greed] of the wicked [immoral; ungodly] shall perish [be destroyed].”
What do the wicked see in the “Blessed” man that provokes anger and grieves them? Their joy! The joy and happiness of the godly is a grief to the wicked who grind their teeth like rabid dogs and “melt away”… consumed by their anger (112:10c).
In the words of King David, “For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6).
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith