Blessed is Best (Psalm 112)

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What do you want God to do in your life?

Really, if Jesus were to stand before you and ask, “How can I bless your life today?”, How would you respond? At this point, some of you are starting to think of dreams and desires. But there are likely others who have doubts. You’re thinking, “Does God even care about me?” and “Could God really bless me today?” And I am here to share a message with you today of great affirmation. God does want to bless your life and Psalm 112 tells us how.

Blessings_Summer Psalms_June 2017

EXAMINE           Psalm 112      Blessed Is Best

Blessed is the man… (Ps 112:1)

One of the themes we are looking at this summer is the way God blesses us. The Psalms speak of God blessing His people at least forty-eight times.[1] From the beginning of creation God is a blessing God (Gen 1:22, 28). And God blesses indiscriminately, “causing the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sending rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). The heart of God is like any good and faithful father who wants to bless his children.

ü  Matthew 7:9-11 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

ü  Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

ü  Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

ü  James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

 

In Psalm 112 we can view several ways we can know we’re blessed by God.

We are blessed when we praise (Ps 112:1a)

Psalm 112 is the middle of three psalms that are linked together. Each psalm invites the audience to “Praise the Lord”. Psalm 111 invites praise to the Lord for His greatness. Psalm 112 invites praise to the Lord for His grace blessings among His people. And Psalm 113 invites praise to the Lord for the glory of God for all eternity. The term “hālal” is the root of our English word “hallelujah”, and means to “praise Yah,” using a shortened form of the name yhwh (Yahweh).[2] So, these psalms and many others call us to praise God.

–        We are to praise the Lord with our worship. When God’s people gather to worship, it is to recognize God as worthy. Our worship should have a sense of expectancy to encounter and exalt God. Our singing is to be sincere – it would be great if we were also skillful, but it must be sincere. And part of sincerity in singing to God includes passion, which may be measurably loud or meaningfully soft.

o   Psalm 30:4 “Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name.”

o   Psalm 34:1 “his praise will always be on my lips.”

o   Psalm 147:1 “How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him.”:

o   Psalm 100 “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”

o   Cf. Ex 15:21; 1Chr 16:9; Isa 12:5-6; 42:10; Jer 20:13; 31:7; Zeph 3:14; Zech 2:10; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16; Js 5:13.

–        We are to praise the Lord with our work. As we serve God with our time and talents in our jobs, in our communities, and through our churches, we are to work for the glory of the Lord (Eph 6:7-8; Col 3:17). Our work is not isolated but integrated with how we understand ministry service.[3]

–        We are to praise the Lord with our walk. Our life’s journey will have peaks and valleys, but praising God in all circumstances is central for the believer. Praising God helps us to be good stewards of God’s blessings recognizing Him as the source, and how to be faithful saints in the burdens of life with Christ as our hope. Praise is also how we prepare and engage in battle (Ps 18:3; 2Chro 20:21; Joshua 6). Whenever God’s people were battling their enemy, they exhibited faith in God with worship in song and music.

o   It’s why in movies when hero of story is in overcoming/rescue moment, theme music plays.

–        We are to praise the Lord with our witness. God’s people can spread the good news of Jesus in song, in service, and in shared conversation. Our SPBC 2017 goal is “each one, reach one.”

o   Me: JKE

We are blessed when we fear the Lord and are fascinated with His truth (Ps 112:1b).

Fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 1:7). Our fear of God reflects reverence and devotion. We fear God because He alone has the authority not only over our physical body, but also our eternal soul (Mt 10:28). Yet, our fear doesn’t deter us from God but draws us closer (Lk 1:50; 12:7). In all, genuine faith in God has a healthy fear so that God isn’t viewed casually or carelessly.

For many Christians, we see God as important but not an all-consuming priority. We try to negotiate minimums – “What is the least I have to do for God but still do my own thing?” If we have to negotiate minimums then our faith is mediocre. Think about it: how much time and commitment do we spend with a friend, a spouse, a child, or a hobby/passion? That question sounds silly because those relationships are a delight and not just a duty. Likewise, our relationship with God is a delight.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 25:14 “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.”

Proverbs 14:26-27 “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

If we don’t grow in the fear of God we will grow indifferent and lukewarm to God. To grow in fear and faith with God we must recognize the

–        Inexhaustible Greatness of God.

o   We can do this by reflecting in creation.

  • Take time this summer spent in creation to reflect upon God. What does creation teach you about God, life, and faith?
  • This year’s VBS Galactic Starveyors will encourage families to see the God of creation and grow in our faith with Him.

o   We can do this by reflecting in the Scriptures.

  • Psalm 1 “Blessed is the man… like a tree that yields fruit…”
  • Joshua 1:8 “This Book… shall not depart from your mouth and you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.”
  • Memorize

–        Incomprehensible Grace of God.

o   We can do this by reflecting on the cross, revealing God’s love for us.

We are blessed when we our family has a legacy (112:2-9).

The blessing of God upon a person often resulted in 1) offspring, 2) prosperity. Having family – sons – to continue the family line and maintain the inheritance. The psalmist notes the legacy of one blessed by God is having offspring that is “mighty in the land”. The word “mighty” [gibbor] references one who is a warrior and champion. Further, the psalmist notes, “wealth and riches are in his house.”

Generational influence is the aim of God’s people. Prosperity for the people of God would be sustained strength for future generations for a family and a nation, with righteousness and integrity enduring for all eternity. While we may pass on physical features or even a financial inheritance to our children, the greater legacy is spiritual, which lasts for eternity.

–        Danielle’s family…  spiritual legacy is incomparable and irreplaceable

The spiritual legacy of enduring righteousness is referenced 5x

–        Upright are blessed (112:2)

–        Righteousness endures forever (112:3)

–        Gracious, merciful, and righteous (112:4)

–        Righteous never moved and remembered forever (112:6)

–        Righteousness endures forever (112:9)

è Lead by example…

We are blessed when our finances honor the Lord (112:3-5, 9).

The blessing of prosperity comes with a godly perspective. The blessed man is gracious and generous to others. He distributes freely to those in need. The test of a person who has experienced blessing and grace from the Lord is that they extend God’s blessings and grace to others. God’s blessings are not held on tightly or hoarded, but are shared to help others.

Psalm 37:21b “the righteous give generously, those the Lord blesses will inherit the land”

Proverbs 22:9 “He who has a generous eye will be blessed. For he gives of his bread to the poor.” 

 

We are blessed when faith is present in bad circumstances (112:4, 6-8).

The blessed person has a firm foundation.

“Light dawns in the darkness… He is not afraid of bad [ra’ = evil]; his heart is firm [kun = established, bring something into being with the consequences that its existence is a certainty / TWOT], trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady [samak: established to lean upon], he will not be afaid…”

Psalm 16:8 “because the Lord is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

Psalm 23:4a “I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling…”

Faith makes us firm in a world of frazzled and fretful world.

 

APPLY/THINK

Psalm 112 doesn’t have a name inscribed for an author. I believe one of the reasons for unnamed psalms is because the authors – and God – want the reader to envision themselves in the embrace and blessing of the Lord. You can experience grace and compassion from God. You can be abundantly blessed by the Lord. You can walk in joy and good news by taking steps of faith in Jesus Christ.

Blessing comes from God – The Maker and Blesser of all that is good.

 

 

[1] Ps 1:1; 2:12; 5:12; 21:3; 24:5; 28:9; 29:11; 32:1-2; 33:12; 34:8; 37:22; 37:26; 40:4; 41:1; 41:2; 45:2; 49:18; 65;4; 65:10; 67:1; 67:6; 84:4-5; 84:12; 89:15; 94:12; 106:48; 112:1; 112:2; 115:12-13; 115:15; 118:26; 119:1, 119:2; 119:56; 127:5; 128:1-2; 128:4; 129:8; 133:3; 134:3; 137:8; 137:9; 144:15; 146:5.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 104:35). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] https://growinggodlygenerations.com/2015/03/30/life-in-proverbs-my-work-before-god/ and https://growinggodlygenerations.com/2016/09/05/work-and-labor/

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