Psalm 112: Blessed is He who Fears the Lord
Most of what we get from the Bible comes from plain hard work; mental slothfulness never leads to understanding and happiness. When we pay the price of intensive reading and meditation on the Scriptures, do our homework, study the writings and teaching of others whom the Holy Spirit has illuminated and gifted, then the Holy Spirit will illuminate us also.
Here we have a reminder that Scripture is to be memorized as well as read. Psalm 112 puts the emphasis on the Lord’s people, and their works.
Scripture: Psalms 112:1-10 (KJV)
1 Praise ye the LORD[Hallelujah].
Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD,
that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
“Praise ye the LORD[Hallelujah]. Blessed[happy] is the man that feareth the LORD,” The last verse of Psalm 111 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This Psalm picks up and expands that thought.
Although human beings look everywhere for happiness, the secret of happiness is simple: BLESSED OR HAPPY IS THE PERSON WHO FEARS THE LORD. We remember the sad conclusion to the book of Ecclesiastics. He [Solomon believed to be the author of Ecclesiastics] thought he could find it in thought (or accumulated knowledge). He sought understanding from God and became a man whose wisdom was well-known even in his own day. But that did not make Solomon happy.
Next, he thought he could find happiness in thrills, so he dedicated himself to pleasure. He tried everything that money could buy, or that the mind could conceive. His partying was unrestrained, yet none of it made him happy.
Then he thought he could find happiness in things, so he set his sights on making money. Solomon was so successful that even the pots and pans in the palace kitchen were made of gold. And that did not make him happy either.
At the end of the book, he says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: “Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastics 12:12).
Here then is the secret of the blessed man. He loves the Lord. When the term is applied to the people of God, “the fear of the Lord is never slavish fear. It is reverent awe that draws out the heart in wonder, love, and praise. Those who fear God discover the joy of following Him and are eager to praise Him.
Blessed is the man that . . . delighteth greatly in his commandments.
Happiness can only be found within the pages of God’s blessed book. The only way of delighting in God’s commandments is to do them (Rev. 22:14). Our society has tried to discredit this book and as a result, it is unhappy, unsatisfied, and unsettled. This book makes people good and makes nations great. Happy are those who delight in God’s Word. They have found the secret.
2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth:
the generation of the upright shall be blessed.
Here the psalmist looks at the godly man’s family and says two things about his sons:
- They are mighty men
“His seed shall be mighty upon earth.” Are power, wealth, and position the natural inheritance of those brought up in a home where the Lord and His Word are honored? In order to find the answer we must remember the Old Testament setting of the psalm. In Old Testament times domestic blessings were promised to those who were obedient to the covenant. Material prosperity is not part of God’s promise to His people in this age, as the Sermon on the Mount makes clear. Still, the Lord delights to reach out and bless the children of those who love Him.
- They are Moral Men
“The generation[posterity] of the upright shall be blessed.” This has also been rendered “a generation of upright men shall be blessed.” The verse refers to the descendants of the man who fears the Lord. They become the pillars of society, a stabilizing influence, the backbone of the nation, giving moral fiber to its life. They ensure that the moral tone of the nation is in keeping with the Word of God. A country with no such men at its helm is one that has lost its moorings. It is a country adrift on treacherous tides. It will make certain shipwreck apart from the grace of God in revival.
We have ample reason for believing that though godliness is not hereditary, yet the religion of the godly parent has the strongest possible influence on children, and a blessing is passed onto future generations (Ps. 103:17; Isa. 59:21).
3 Wealth and riches shall be in his house:
and his righteousness endureth for ever.
Next, the psalmist sees two things; He sees a man who has:
- A House Full of Riches
“Wealth and riches shall be in his house.” [“Shall be in his house” means possessed by him while he lives and when he dies they continue to be in his family.] Again we must remember the Old Testament setting of this psalm. Wealth and prosperity were guaranteed fringe-benefits under the Old covenant for those who loved the Lord. That is why Job’s calamities were so puzzling to his friends. They concluded from the disasters that had overtaken him, that he must have been guilty of some secret but horrible sin. Arguing from the premise that wealth and health are the heritage of the godly, they accused Job of sin and hypocrisy and urged him to confess.
They concluded from the disasters that had overtaken him, that he must have been guilty of some secret but horrible sin. Arguing from the premise that wealth and health are the heritage of the godly, they accused Job of sin and hypocrisy and urged him to confess.
- A Heart full of Righteousness
“And his righteousness [His righteousness, i.e., the fruit or reward of His righteousness, which is God’s blessing upon his estate, for the work is often put for the reward of it.] endureth for ever.” The character of the godly man, in other words, reflects the character of God.
The supreme example is the Lord Jesus. Every aspect of the Lord’s character was a reflexion of God’s character. He was God in focus, so to speak. The Lord Jesus was literally “God manifest in the flesh.” The God who had been manifest for countless ages⸻ in burning suns and shining stars, in the wind, thunder, and rain, in changing seasons and changeless laws⸻was now manifest in flesh.
4 Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness:
he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
The blessed man is marked by guidance. “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.”
The blessed man is marked by grace, goodness, and godliness.
“He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.” He doesn’t have to stumble along in the dark like the ungodly man. He has light in the darkness. By “HE” is meant either, 1.God. And this is added as a reason why God causes light to shine on the upright, which is because the Lord is gracious. Or, 2.
The good or upright man whom he is speaking of.
We are living in a dark world. To have light in darkness is the special blessing of those who are saved. Jesus said; “There ariseth light in the darkness.”⸻We may not always see the light, but it is behind the cloud, waiting on God’s signal (Ps.97:11; Isa 50:10).
The upright man is “gracious,” the psalmist says. He looks at others with a kind caring smile. He is not harsh, unforgiving, malicious, spiteful, mean, unlovely. Graciousness is another God-like attribute
Goodness. He is gracious and full of compassion. After years in the company of Jesus, Peter tells us that “He went about doing good.” His heart overflowed with love for all. He had come into a world that was one vast graveyard, a world where sorrow and sickness preyed on all, a world where oppression was enthroned in the seats of power, where poverty and want were common. His heart ached for people. He tramped endless miles in tireless service to humankind. He was, above all else, a good man.
He was gracious and full of compassion, marked by the characteristics seen in the blessed man of Psalm 112, marked by characteristics that should be seen in us. Paul could say: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Do we?
Godliness. “He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.” Righteousness, the quality of always doing what is right, is another God-like attribute. It is of sterner stuff than goodness, though goodness is much more appealing. Paul says, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die” (Rom. 5:7). The man the psalmist is describing is both good and righteous. Goodness has its roots in love; righteousness has its roots in law. “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
Here, then, we see the serenity of the blessed man. He enjoys guidance, grace, goodness, and godliness. No wonder he is a happy man.
5 A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth:
he will guide his affairs with discretion.
“A good man sheweth favor and lendeth.” He gives freely to some and kindly lends to others, according to the status of their conditions. Lending is a form of gracious dealing. When someone in need asks for a loan, the good and gracious man will be sympathetic to his needs. But that doesn’t mean he is foolish. He manages his affairs with discretion. He does not foolishly expose himself to the fraudulent man. Few things can be more disturbing than to realize you have loaned money to a person who has little or no intention of paying you back. If one knows right from the start, that he is never again going to see the money he is loaning, that is one thing. In a sense, it is being given. But to loan money unsuspectingly to an unscrupulous person is something else. The blessed man of this psalm is compassionate, but also careful.
“He[the good man] will guide his affairs with discretion[with judgment].” Being a believer, being willing to help others, does not mean we should not take proper care of our concerns and not secure our interests as well as we can. Because some people have no conscience, it is no part of Christian charity to aid and encourage their wrongdoing.
When the psalmist said “guide his affairs,” he meant to maintain and manage his estate or domestic affairs.
6 Surely he shall not be moved for ever:
the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.
The blessed man enjoys: Everlasting Security, “surely he shall not be moved for ever.”
“Surely he shall not be moved for ever”; though he may be afflicted for a season, yet he shall not be utterly and eternally destroyed, as wicked men will be. Such a person is immovable. The foundation rocks of our planet will someday be removed. They will melt with fervent heat. The stars that burn and blaze in the vastness of the heavens will be folded up like a garment. On the other hand, the security of the blessed man is forever. That is the kind of security purchased for us at Calvary; everlasting security. This blessed man may not be remembered down here, but he is one of the nobility of heaven. Up there he has a great name.
“The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance”; though while he lives he may be exposed to the censures, and slanders, and contradictions of sinners, yet after death, his memory will be precious and honorable, both with God and all men, his very enemies are not exempted.
The next two things are written about the upright man
7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings:
his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.
Bad news does not shake him: “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings;” for “his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.” “Of evil tidings”; at the report of approaching calamities and judgments of God, at which the wicked are so dismayed and frightened. Even the best of persons at times is overtaken by bad news. A loved one dies, the bank fails, lightning strikes, fire or flood cause damage, war is declared. God does not take us out of the world nor does He exempt us from life’s ordinary disasters. What He does is allow us to rest our hearts on Him. We may not be able to praise Him for what happens, but we can praise Him IN what happens.
The godly man “trusts in the Lord,” therefore, bad news need not shake him; God is still on the throne and He invites us to cast all our cares upon Him; and firmly rely upon His providence and promise.
8 His heart is established, he shall not be afraid,
until he see his desire upon his enemies.
Good news does not avoid him. “His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.” There may be bad news, but not all news is bad. Persons of faith know that no matter how trying their circumstances, all are well. Good news is on the way. Believers are the only people in the world who have any right to be optimistic. The man who is an optimist and still in his sins is a fool. The believer need never be a pessimist because; in the end, everything is going to be alright.
Although his enemies may be many, and mighty, and terrible, yet he shall confidently and cheerfully wait upon God until he sees their ruin, and his own deliverance and safety.
9 He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor;
his righteousness endureth for ever;
his horn shall be exalted with honour.
In verse 9 the psalmist acknowledges three things:
- His Pity. “He hath dispersed; he hath given to the poor.” Here we see the essence of practical godliness. To realize that a person is in need and not to give some practical help to that person is a denial of the faith. We are living in a needy world. Millions are starving to death; half the world goes to bed hungry. Countless Christian agencies specialize in providing relief to the hungry, to victims of disasters, to those in chronic need. Christianity teaches us to love our neighbor in the same way we love ourselves. Just as righteous people give to the poor to supply what they don’t have; God supplies those righteous people with honor and power [symbolized by the horn in verse 9]. Every believer should have some kind of personal program for giving to the poor.
- His Piety. “His righteousness endureth for ever.” In his great masterpiece on Christian giving, the apostle Paul quoted this verse (2 Cor. 9:9). Giving is a grace in which all Christians should participate as proof of righteousness. Piety without pity is lifeless which is why the early pioneer missionaries set up clinics, hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions of mercy.
- His Power. “His horn shall be exalted with honor.” A horn epitomizes the strength of the wild beast. Throughout the Bible, it is a symbol of power.
The word “dispersed,” as used in the context which the psalmist uses here, refers to his goods that are given freely and liberally to several persons, is offered as His Word implies.
10 The wicked shall see it, and be grieved;
he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away:
the desire of the wicked shall perish.
This last verse sets the blessed man in contrast with the wicked man in much the same way as the first psalm does.
We are given a glimpse of:
- The wicked man’s frustration. “The wicked shall see it, and be grieved.” The wicked man does not like to see the good man prospering. Time, however, is on the side of the good man. God has designed the dispensations so that, in the end, good will triumph on this planet. Wickedness can never win in the end. Divisive and self-defeating, it carries the seeds of its own destruction. The Millennial reign of Christ is to be the great manifestation to the world of the principle that God is on the side of goodness. Wicked men will witness God’s goodness to others and be angry, partly because they are aware that the righteous have possessions of which they are destitute; and partly because their own schemes melt away before their eyes, as wreaths of smoke.
- The Wicked Man’s Fury. “He shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away.” Gnashing with the teeth is a Bible metaphor for fury and rage. The wicked are on their way to a place of gnashing of teeth. All their schemes have come to nothing and they will be incarcerated forever where their violence and vileness can no longer affect the course of human events. They will see the blessed in heaven, Christ enthroned, and all the angels of God worshiping Him. They will see the blessed reigning on high and going from glory to glory; their longings will remain unfulfilled and will gnash their teeth in fury.
- The Wicked Man’s Folly. “The desire of the wicked shall perish.” All he has lived for has come to nothing. The deadly passions he has kindled in life consume him now with no means of quenching them. He could have been one of the blessed, he could have desired holiness and found the way to true happiness, he could have loved the Lord and loved His Word⸻but he didn’t. He desired other things, and now, in death, he is betrayed and burned by the evil desires he cultivated in life.