A Picture of the Righteous Person: Psalm 112

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Merry Christmas Sowers! I will be taking a few days off from the Daily Text. Welcome Dr. Timothy Tennent (my boss) for the next few days with reflections from several celebratory Psalms fitting for the season. I’ll be back January 1 with a reprise of our most popular series ever: First Word. Last Word. God’s Word.—to take us through January. Speaking of which, I have a New Year’s Sowing Challenge with a REWARD for you to consider. 

Psalm 112 (NIV)

Praise the Lord.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
    who find great delight in his commands.

Their children will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
    and their righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
    for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
    who conduct their affairs with justice.

Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
    their righteousness endures forever;
    their horn will be lifted high in honor.

10 The wicked will see and be vexed,
    they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
    the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

Sing this psalm with the Seedbed Psalter today! Visit the resource here.

CONSIDER THIS

This psalm is considered a companion psalm to Psalm 111. Like Psalm 111, it is an acrostic, with the first line of each stanza beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to sing an acrostic psalm, please look at the companion volume to these meditations. We have also produced a metrical Psalter, which re-creates the acrostic by beginning each successive verse with each of the letters of the English alphabet, enabling you to enter into the experience of what it was like for a Hebrew to sing this psalm.

This psalm picks up where Psalm 111 left off. Psalm 111 ended with the great summary of wisdom: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (v. 10). Psalm 112 uses this affirmation as the starting point: “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord” (v. 1). Psalm 111 focused on the nature and character of God, whereas Psalm 112 focuses on the nature and character of the one who follows the Lord. As a pair of acrostics, these collectively set forth two of the four great themes of the acrostics that we explored in Psalm 9; namely, the character and nature of God and what it means to be on the path of the righteous who follow him.

The beauty of these two psalms is that the character of God is reflected in the lives of the righteous who love him. Like him, we are “gracious and compassionate” (compare Psalm 111:4 with 112:4). Just as God is generous and provides for our needs, so God uses the righteous to provide generously for those in need (compare Psalm 111:5 with Psalm 112:5). Just as God’s character is steadfast, so the righteous are steadfast (compare Psalm 111:8 with Psalm 112:7). To worship him is to become like him (just as we see the converse in Psalm 115:8 regarding idols). Finally, it is important to note that although both Psalm 111 and Psalm 112 point out that the beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord, Psalm 112 declares twice that we “have no fear” (vv. 7–8). This shows that the fear of the Lord, properly understood, is not an emotive experience, but rather reflects our resolve to orient our lives under his sovereignty, not our autonomy.

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Timothy C. Tennent is the President of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Professor of Global Christianity. His works include Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century and Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology. He blogs at timothytennent.com and can be followed on twitter @TimTennent.

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