“Blessed” Is the Man (v. 1)
Psalm 112 begins with the simple statement “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord.” Simple stated this means the man who has settled in his heart that God gets to define…
… the priorities of life,
… what has value, and
… what is worth my time,
… will be the man who has a “peace that passes all understanding.” There are two questions we must ask ourselves in light of this reality.
- On which of these seven items do we believe we know better than God?
- When we believe this what are we fearing (i.e, trusting in, relying on, hoping for) more than God?
As you answer these two questions you will be ready to read the rest of Psalm 112 and allow it to have the purifying affect that God intended.
8 Marks of the Fear of the Lord
Psalm 112 is a practical call to and celebration of the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is held forth and both right and effective. In the course of the psalm eight marks or fruits of the fear of the Lord are presented.
1. Upright (v. 2): As we walk in the fear of the Lord we do not have to cower in shame or insecurity. A good spiritual, emotional posture becomes more natural.
2. Righteousness (v. 3): A fruit of enduring in the fear of the Lord is an enduring righteousness that is the very righteousness of Christ (2 Cor 5:21).
3. Gracious (v. 4): A mark of the fear of the Lord is graciousness because we know our accomplishments are completely rooted in Christ so we are able to be patient with others.
4. Compassion (v. 4): Another mark is compassion for those who have not yet surrendered their heart to the fear of the Lord and are stuck in their folly (Prov 1:7).
5. Generosity (v. 5): With the fear of the Lord the temporalness of greed makes less sense to us and frees us to be joyously generous.
6. Integrity (v. 5): As we are gripped by the fear of the Lord all gains not achieved with the character of God are seen for the loss they truly are.
7. Steadfastness (v. 7): Once our motivation is rooted in the fear of the Lord the despair, insecurity, and laziness that lures us to quit dissipates.
8. Benevolence (v. 9): Finally, the great freedom of the fear of the Lord is that we are all sinners saved by grace—unmerited favor—and are thereby freed to extend to others what they have not deserved in the name of Christ.
Longing that Come to Nothing (v. 10)
We are all motivated by the desires of our heart (James 4:1-3). The sad truth is that sin never pays on its promises. The great hope of this verse—which almost seems to end the psalm on a negative note—is that righteous longings are fulfilled. When sin comes up short we are left in fear (not the fear of the Lord) and we experience the reverse of the eight marks above. Go back to the evaluations you made in verse 1. Look at the areas where you tend not to walk in the fear of the Lord. How have you seen the opposite of the eight marks above manifest themselves in your life during those times?
Introduction to the “Living Our Faith” series.