The Deep Glories of Our Faith: Psalm 112:4-6

4 “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
    who conducts his affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
     he will be remembered forever.”

Psalm 112:4-6, ESV

We all I suppose, want life to come and show us something. We all have expectations and we imagine that life will eventually come around, and bring us what we want.

This psalm seems to insist that we should accept, rather than demand. There is a certain deceit that declares we should insist on certain things. (And yet there are very few that have ever done this.)  And yet, we see that our humility in this, is almost compromised into this triumphalism. We are no longer “broken” but fortified by our certainty.

Commentary

V. 4, Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.”

Light almost always is coveted. We definitely consider light to be a superior state. This verse seems to be  a understanding of a process where the believer will anticipate fluidity, a change. But those who connect to evil, are never ever given any sort of advancement. They are locked into a strange sort of stasis, they will never advance out-of-it. (This is scary, when you really think about it.)

We should anticipate the ‘light’ that comes. We’ve endured a long hard night, and we are suddenly surprised by the sunrise. And this can only really happen because of the heart of God.  “He is gracious, merciful, and righteous.”

And because He is like this, we can latch onto an aspect of God’s nature that is seldom ever seen. And because He has shown us these things, upon arrival, we are in a completely different state.

V. 5, “It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
    who conducts his affairs with justice.”

Admittedly, there is “kind of Old Testament sense” here. But if we insist, the glasses of Grace will change all we see.  These “glasses” tell us that there is something beyond legalism. We will never find our Father, by the efforts of our will.

And yet, a definite kind of goodness meets us when our hearts are generous and kind. When we are a blessing to others, we suddenly realize that we’ve been blessed through our own kindness. It’s a bit ironic, isn’t it? (I would never have sorted this out on my own.)

V. 6, “For the righteous will never be moved;
     he will be remembered forever.”

Becoming right with God, on every level, brings us stability. This means, “stability” and a definite immobility. We are latched on to something good, and we dare not let this go. I’ve been told that huge whales and sharks seem to acquire a small “sucker-fish” that attaches itself on its much bigger host. These little fish will “clean”  their hosts. But then they are given a deep protection.

“Never be moved,” is a tremendous place to be. There is a solid state of certain publicity that is given. We can only receive all that we’ve been forgiven. We must work through these issues. This is all  we need to arrive at a place that is extraordinary. All I can say, is the fact that God’s grace is quite exceptional.

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What a God! Psalm 111:4-6

4 “He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
    How gracious and merciful is our Lord!
He gives food to those who fear him;
    he always remembers his covenant.
He has shown his great power to his people
    by giving them the lands of other nations.”

Psalm 111:4-6, NLT

If you are God, I suppose you can take things into your hands. (Who will complain?) Yet He does work in our hearts, to provoke in us the things He really wants. I suppose we put far to much weight on our own wills and efforts. The Father purposefully works so that we may remember. Discipleship, if I look at it, is as much of God’s work as it is our doing.

When we gaze into our own salvation, we will see hand prints that are not ours. They are God’s. He is working to bring us into heaven. It’s a long and deep journey, but He intends to bring us home. I’m glad. Very glad!

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Commentary

V. 4, He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
    How gracious and merciful is our Lord!

Romans 8:31 declares that God is with us. “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” He is energized by this final effort. He fully intends to bring us to His side. As I grow older, I see more and more of His security. He seems more sure of His effort than I am of mine.

The psalmist defines Him as “gracious and merciful.” We would do well to weigh out these words, and give them the significance they truly do deserve. These are “two ringers” and the Psalmist rings them loud and clear on his anvil.

K

V. 5, “He gives food to those who fear him;
    he always remembers his covenant.”

For everyone who fears the Lord there comes a meal; something good to eat. For us who inhabit the “first world” we can’t remember going without lunch. But it seems to me that the “food” that He gives us doesn’t originate from this world system. (Press on this idea, and some good will come of it.)

A god who keeps his covenant is worth His weight in gold.

K

V. 6, “He has shown his great power to his people
    by giving them the lands of other nations.”

I suppose power must be seem (and considered) before it becomes something valuable. The power can not be avoided, or deflected. God’s people do see it, and all of it is visible and quite truthful. I do believe He is blessed when we acknowledge this “great power.”

There is something very “tangible” about this next thought. God has designed reality to work out this. The “lands” have become something solid and real and tangible about the graciousness of God. He turns over these lands to His covenant people in order to communicate His grace and amazing power.

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ybic, Bryan

Life is Hard, But God is Really Good: Psalm 145:8-10

8 “The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
The Lord is good to everyone.
    He showers compassion on all his creation.
10 All of your works will thank you, Lord,
    and your faithful followers will praise you.”

Psalm 145:8-10, NLT

Such optimism. And a sweet enthusiasm that just rolls through these words.

The Lord is pretty much the exclusive subject. And David seems to exhaust the human vocabulary trying to offer praise to God. He uses every venue he has to make God look good. And this just isn’t a vacuous publicity stunt. The Lord is truly all these things– and more.

There are those who attempt to disparage God. Lies and foolishness are at the core of their objections. The inane absurdities that they cling to are really nothing more than fig-leaves.

Commentary

V. 8, “The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.”

Each adjective opens up something quite huge. Even believers will skim these words, without ever letting them sink in. Yet, the Lord God is these things (and more). I’m think that I could preach six months on just this singular verse.

Men and women, are none of these things. We would like to be more noble, and maybe a tad more faithful. But the very best of us is really never enough. We start out poorly and end up badly. Even at our most pristine we are still a sewer.

V. 9, “The Lord is good to everyone.
    He showers compassion on all his creation.”

It’s all-inclusive– “everyone,” and “all.” And “goodness” and “compassion” are true-hearted mules. It is these two which carry the bulk of David’s praise and worship.

Can you imagine someone who is good to everyone they meet? Not just nice or friendly, but someone who engages a passerby and reaches out with a true desire to bless.

And this showering compassion bit. Who do you know who drenches everyone they meet with love? I know of no one who can do this. At our very best we are proud and inconsistent, and our worst we are devilish and harmful.

Is it any wonder that David latches on to the Lord?

V. 10, “All of your works will thank you, Lord,
    and your faithful followers will praise you.”

God’s unchanging character becomes the basis of a grateful people. Somehow I cannot imagine serving a God that is often ill-tempered and nasty; angry and grudge-holding. Or, for that matter– aloof and depressed.

It gets easier to worship when we see the true character and personality of our God of compassion. Purify your vision of Him and you will supercharge your praise.

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ybic, Bryan