Saturday, November 14, 2009

Live Righteously

Psalm 112, one of the Hallelujah psalms, focuses on the benefits of being a God fearing believer. This psalm begins with Hallelujah or Praise the Lord, which was used as a call to worship.  We can never praise God too much, and when we praise Him, we give Him the credit He deserves, and we will see our circumstances in the proper perspective. 

Wisdom begins with fear of the Lord (Psalm 111:10 and Psalm 112:1), which in turns leads to obedience, righteous living and joy. Fear of the Lord is not the trembling, cowering paralyzing feeling that you may think of, but instead it is having reverence and respect for our Creator.  It is having the proper outlook, that is He is the One in control over everything and everyone and we are not -- we are at His mercy.  Fearing the Lord can bring a blessedness or happiness that is constant regardless of the many changes that we will go through in this lifetime.  If we revere God, we will also respect His Word, and will enjoy spending time reading, studying, meditating, memorizing and applying the Scripture to our lives.  We will want the God of Word to become an active part of our lives so the Word can shape us into the people God intends for us to be. "It is not enough to fear God, we must also love him: fear will deter us from evil; love will lead us to obedience. And the more a man fears and loves God, the more obedient will he be"  (Adam Clarke's Commentary) 

The remaining verses of Psalm 112 describes what our lives will look like if we put verse 1 into practice:
  • Blessings will extend from us to our descendants (verse 2).  This is a powerful reminder that our actions, both postitive and negative, affect others, even generations to come.  Therefore, it is critical that we put God first in our lives and live according to His commandments.
  • God will provide for our material needs on this earth as well as rewards in heaven.  If we are living a God-centered life, then we will not be chasing wealth because we know the things of this earth will soon pass away.  It is easy to be content when we are living a righteous life because we have the proper perspective about God, ourselves and this world. (verse 3)
  • In times of trouble we will have God guiding us through our turmoil, and we will not lose our joy because even though times change, God does not. (verse 4)  In turn, we will be able to encourage others during their trials by showing them grace and kindness. We will be "able to demonstrate the righteous character that reflects clearly our personal relationship with God".  (Explore the Bible Adult Learner Guide, Fall 2009, p. 94)
  • We will give generously to other (verse 5), which besides money can include our time and talents. We can do this because we know that everything we have is really not ours, but it is God's, and we are just Trustees of those things.   Also, "Generosity and respect for God places our trust in him, not our money, for justice and security." (Life Application Bible Notes) 
  • We "will be eager to conduct business with others in a way that is characterized by fairness and integrity."  (Explore the Bible Adult Learner Guide, Fall 2009, p. 95) (verse 5)
  • Because our life is built on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, we will have the strength to endure hard times. (verse 6)  Because God is faithful, we can have unwavering faith in Him regardless of our circumstances.  What better thing to be remembered for than for our deep faith in God that sustains us through the darkest of times? 
  • We will have no fear of bad news or tragedies because our trust remains steadfast in God. (verse 7 and 8)  When we fear God, our fears regarding anything else will be dispeled. 
  • We remain confident in times of adversity because our hope is in God; we know that God will deliver us from our troubles. (verse 8)
  • We will give freely to the poor (verse 9).  We can be generous with those who have less than we do because we are confident that God will provide for our every need.
"In contrast, wicked people will face utter disappointment in the future.  In fact, they will become angry over the way God's people prevail with honor.  At the same time, the wicked will find themselves in despair because none of their wants and dreams came to pass." (Explore the Bible Adult Learner Guide, Fall 2009, p. 97)(verse 10) This is because the wicked lived life on their terms, not God's, and by doing so, they invested their time, energy, talents and money in things that are limited to this earth only.  For all their efforts, the wicked will have nothing that will last into eternity.  Thus, their deeds will be forgotten, while those of the righteous will be remembered.

Questions to answer in order to apply Psalm 112 to our lives:
  • "How does your lifestyle demostrate that you want to honor the Lord above all else?
  • What are some ways you find joy in studying and applying God's Word to your life?
  • How do you demonstrate God's grace and compassion in your circle of relationships?
  • Do you remain steady in threatening situations because you know that God's in control?  Why or why not?" (Explore the Bible Adult Learner Guide, Fall 2009, p. 97)

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