“Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!” (Ps 112:1–10)
Psalm 112, in the ESV, is entitled: The Righteous Will Never be Moved. I believe that is an apt title for this Psalm of praise. The righteous, as we will see, should not be moved by anything, let alone bad news.
The Psalm carries the theme of the wisdom literature in general “blessed is the man who fears the Lord.” Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and understanding.
What does it mean to fear the Lord?
Fearing the Lord does not necessarily mean that we stand afraid of God. Certainly, God is to be feared. He is more powerful than the strongest storm, earthquake, or volcanic eruption. He is to be feared for His power as well as for the judgment He will bring on those who have continued to set their face against Him.
The Psalmist, however, primarily has another fear in mind in this passage. He has in mind a reverential fear as we stand in awe of the Lord. Our God is mighty. He is powerful. As well as He can bring destruction and death both physical and spiritual. For those who are in Christ, we need not fear the wrath of the Lord. Christ has taken the wrath we deserve on our behalf. He suffered and died in our place. As a result, we don’t have to fear the punishment of the Lord. Instead, we can experience a relationship with Him. But that relationship must be driven out of a healthy reverence for who He is – the all-holy, wise, powerful, sovereign Creator and Ruler of this universe. We must give Him the respect He deserves, which should lead us to follow Him, seeking His wisdom, instead of living by our own wisdom and rules.
A blessing for those who fear the Lord
Those who follow the Lord are blessed – they live in a happy and joyful state not necessarily because everything goes well for them at all times, but because they experience the divine favor of the Lord that Christ has won for them. Those who fear the Lord are a part of the Lord’s family. They receive the blessings of an eternal relationship with Him. As well as they received temporal blessings. In fact, everything we experience that is good comes from the hand of the Lord. We have a good job, a good home, a good family, a nice yard, car, bike, etc, because God gave them to us. We must not believe for a moment that we have what we have because we have made it happen. That is not to say we shouldn’t work hard. And that hard work doesn’t pay off. It certainly does. But we must ask, why can and do we work hard? God has a hand in everything we do. God blesses His children, just as you seek to bless your own children.
God is able to give blessings freely because He owns the land, He has wealth and riches beyond measure, He is eternally righteous, gracious, and mercifully. As a generous God, He does pour out blessings. Not only temporal blessings, but He also pours out spiritual blessings. He has given us the greatest blessing of all – His son Jesus, who died in our place.
We should not be afraid of bad news
Those who serve such a good and generous God, should not be afraid of bad news. This is where our current situation in the Corona Virus connects. We know the Lord has a plan. He is the all-sovereign God after all. The virus and the destruction that has resulted, and will result, does not surprise God. He is working in and through this virus to bring blessing to the nations, primarily through the hope of Jesus, but secondarily through His day to day provisions. Even if we face sickness, or worse yet death from this virus, we can rest assured that God has not left us or forsaken us. The hope Jesus offers is still the same.
As well as we can know that God is working through this virus in our own life. Paul says in Romans 8:28:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Ro 8:28)
Everything works together for our good because our ultimate good is life with God in His eternal kingdom. He works, even though there is bad news, to bring us to our eternal resting place in His eternal kingdom.
God is the same today, as He was yesterday, and as He will be tomorrow. He has not changed. He is a faithful God who loves His children. He is a God to be praised. Blessed, indeed, are those who fear the Lord for they are not afraid of bad news.
Question for Reflection
- What blessings have you experience from God recently?