Psalm 112:1–10comment (0)
November 12, 2009
By Douglas Wilson
Related Scripture: Psalm 112:1–10
Explore the Bible
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Book Five (107–150) of the Psalms includes groups of songs. Several psalms of David are located in this section. Psalms 113–118, known as the Egyptian Hallel, were sung in the temple during the sacrifice of the Passover lambs. Psalm 119 stands as the great acrostic masterpiece with 176 verses. The Songs of Ascents (120–134) follow, which likely were sung by pilgrims making their way to Jerusalem to celebrate annual festivals. Finally the Hallelujah Psalms (146–150) each begin and end with the command to praise the Lord.
Acrostic poetry is one of the unique features of our Old Testament. Psalm 112 is an acrostic and one of the few that utilizes all 22 Hebrew letters. Several other psalms are acrostics, including 34, 37, 111, 119 and 145. This technique may have been used to aid in memorizing the songs, or it may have been a simple artistic way for the writers to convey God’s message. Psalm 112 reminds the worshiper that growing dependence upon God leads to righteous living. Actually the real key is relationship. Abraham believed God and his faith was counted as righteousness. The man described by the psalmist lived with confidence because he had nothing to fear with God.
God Is Your Priority (1)
Like Psalm 1, this song begins with “happy is the man.” In fact, the word translated happy (or blessed) is employed 26 times in various psalms. This man was joyful because he knew God, had covenant fellowship with Him, feared Him and delighted in His commands. In a sense, this psalm reiterates the message of Psalm 1:2. So often, American Christians think satisfaction can be found in personal possessions, relationships or desires being fulfilled. While these have value, they are passing away and will not meet our greatest needs. Deuteronomy 6 instructs us to know, follow and pass on God’s commandments to our children. Jesus commissioned us to teach disciples from every nation to obey everything He commanded. He also taught that if we love Him, then we obey Him. American church members must reject the attitude of being consumers and renew their commitment to follow Christ at any cost.
Have a Heart for Others (2–5)
Family relationships are affected by submitting to the will of God. Long before the apostle Paul described how fellowship with Jesus affects the relationship between husbands and wives and between parents and children, the writer of this song addressed the impact of a faithful man upon his family. Using the parallel of descendants (literally seed) and generation, the psalmist conveyed that this man who feared God would have children who were mighty in the land of the Lord and those descendants would be blessed. A man committed to following Christ would be a blessing to others. He would receive graciously from the Lord and lend generously. The principle of proportion applies here; the measure by which we give directly affects the measure that we receive.
“Good will come to a man who … conducts his business fairly.” Businessmen and women honor God when they deal honestly. “Do not steal” and “do not bear false witness” are two commandments directly related to honest conduct. The Old Testament prophets regularly called the people of Israel back to honest dealings with their neighbors.
Find Your Strength in God (6–10)
Trusting God brings great confidence in the lives of believers. Pride in self has no place in our lives, but unwavering assurance in God’s faithfulness leads us to step out in bold obedience. Two different responses come from others who see God’s blessing upon our lives. One group becomes recipients of blessing, in part because it admits its needs. It is poor and gratefully receives provision. The other group is characterized as wicked. Rather than celebrating God’s bounty, it is angry and grinds its teeth in contempt. It is unwilling to receive from God or His servants, and its empty desires go unmet. Coveting our neighbor’s blessing weakens us; celebrating with him or her gives us encouragement to remain faithful to the Lord.