By Benjamin H. Liles
When I think of all the things God has done on my behalf and throughout my life I can't help but lift my lips in praise and thankfulness to Him. Even on those days it seems hard to do the same I still look at Him as my source and my comfort. It is with this reason I'm going over a psalm I believe to be important. It's not just important to me, but to every one who reads it.
We read, "Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in his house, and [God's] righteousness endures forever. Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man deals graciously and lends; he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; He will not be afraid, Until he sees his desire upon his enemies" (Psalm 112:1-8, New King James).
A number of things jump out at me in reading these verses:
- The man who delights himself in God and His ways (His commandments) is blessed.
- This man's descendants will be mighty, and a generation of them will be upright and blessed.
- Where it says, "wealth and riches" being in the house of this man I believe God blesses each man with an ability to make something in life for himself (I will explain in a bit)
- Those who choose to be upright in God, even in dark times there is a light.
- God's graciousness, compassion and righteousness settle on this man who walks in Him.
- This good man deals graciously and lends all he has to those who will do likewise, guiding his affairs with "caution."
- This man is firmly planted as well, he will be remembered always.
- This man is never afraid of bad tidings, his heart being firmly planted, always trusting in God.
And then there's a question I have, rhetorically, of course: what desire does this man have to see on his enemies? I will also address this as well as best I can in this article. Really and truly the whole of this psalm focuses entirely on God's Son Jesus Christ. It takes a moment to realize what all this means if we take into account that almost all scripture focuses on the man and the Godliness of Jesus Christ.
In all of his earthly life and even in the three years of his ministry Christ gave immensely to all. When we look at his life we see things such as the healing of others as well as the forgiveness of sins. An interesting thing to note is the religious elite charge Jesus a number of times for being heretical by claiming he has the right to forgive the sins of the people, but if they knew and understood God's words they would have known this man Jesus the Messiah of Nazareth means he would die for all, including for them, too. It would mean they would be blessed, right?
Last night, I felt being led to talking about the most important thing God requires of all to be and belong in Him: faith. That's all He needs from us. Jesus told not only his disciples but the Jewish population in Judea, "Because you have so little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20, but he says close to this same thing as well in Mark, Luke and John). A few times in Mark he says, "Have faith in God," " All things are possible to him who believes," as well as "If you say to this [problem], 'Be removed and cast into the sea, not doubting his heart, believing it will happen, will be done for him."
We all go through almost the same set of circumstances that everyone goes through in life: death, funerals, marriages, divorce, sadness, happiness, having wealth, not having enough, and yet through it all the man who is blessed keeps his eyes on the Lord. Why is that so important? And how does this lead to that final cryptic part of seeing "his desire on his enemies?"
The man who is so blessed in and by God desires to see God's will be done, regardless of what that means and entails in his life. If it means suffering a little for the sake and kingdom of God, he will do so even if it is for a time. God upholds those who put their "faith," their trust in Him. Furthermore, this mans' faith has so consumed and filled within him he even desires that faith to be placed within his own enemies. Did you just see that? Read that sentence one more time:
The man who is blessed by God, who puts his faith and trust in Him (who saves and redeems), desires that God's will (His saving grace, to show His compassion and mercy) on those who continually do evil. Think about the phrasing of that last part of Psalm 112:8 - "he sees his desire upon his enemies." It's not talking about seeing the demise of those who are this man's enemies, but rather seeing them come to know and to have that same thankful heart he has in God.
The biggest reason I say this is because of how Jesus taught the disciples to pray. He taught them, saying, "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us." It's in there in the Lord's prayer. Even at the cross when He was crucified Jesus proclaims, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). So, for those who are made pure and righteous in God by putting their faith and trust in Him, they live this life of blessing others as God has blessed them. It doesn't mean they won't see times of trouble, but they know God is bigger than what they go through.
It is why Paul could say with confidence, "I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:11-13, Berean Study). Those last few words shows where Paul's mindset is: through Christ who gives Paul his strength. That is the same for the man of faith for God is this man's ultimate reward! I pray this blesses and encourages you this day to see God in a different light.
Yes, God disciplines all. He wouldn't do this if He didn't love us at all. I know it doesn't ever seem like He's loving us in those seasons of rebuking. He determines, though, when we need to learn something of Himself and His nature. It just goes to show His desire is for us to not simply to know Him, but to live life in and through Him, to give to others what He has given to us: His Son Jesus Christ.
At the right time, before we were even born, Jesus Christ was born of a woman who was filled with God's Spirit so that her son, Jesus, would bear our sins for us before a holy and just God so that we might have the Son's righteousness with and in God. He took our sins far from us so that God's wrath wouldn't remain upon us. This same desire that the blessed man has in Psalm 112 is the same desire I have for every one who reads these words.
It is to know the gift of God: that Jesus Christ took your sins so you may stand in the presence of a God who loved you enough to extend His merciful compassion upon you. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.