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Sunday, June 20, 2021

“Blessed is the Man who Fears the LORD” Psalm 112 [Matt's Messages]

“Blessed is the Man who Fears the LORD”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
June 20, 2021 :: Psalm 112

Psalm 112 is kind of like Proverbs 31 but for guys.
Often on Mother’s Day churches will pull out Proverbs 31 and extol the virtues of that godly woman who fears the LORD. You might remember that Proverbs 31 is an acrostic poem, with each line of the poem starting with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Kind of like the ABC’s of being a blessed woman who fears the LORD.

Well, it turns out that Psalm 112 is also an acrostic poem with each line starting with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet: Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth and so on. It is also the ABC’s, but–in this case–of a godly man.

Verse 1 says, “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD...” 

That’s from the 1984 NIV. The 2011 NIV has “blessed are those who fear the LORD” which is totally true of anyone and everyone who does, but the initial referent of this psalm was male [Hebrew “ish”], and I think this song–at least in part–was composed in the first place for guys to inspire them to be godly men.

Somebody, we don’t know exactly who, has gone to a lot of painstaking trouble to carefully compose a song about the blessing of being a man who fears the LORD.

So Psalm 112 is a great song to pull out and study on Father’s Day when we tend to focus in on the guys.

Of course, just like Proverbs 31 is to be read by the guys as well as the gals (and maybe even more so if it’s there to show the guys the ABC’s of what to look for in a godly wife) Psalm 112 is to be read and applied by the ladies, as well. So, everybody listen up, but especially the men.

Psalm 112 is not just like Proverbs 31. It’s also like Psalm 1 and Psalm 111, the immediately preceding psalm.

If we had enough time, it would be good to study Psalm 111 and Psalm 112 simultaneously. They are definitely sister psalms that correspond to and complement one another. Psalm 111 is about LORD and Psalm 112 is about the man who fears the LORD, but they use a lot of the same language, and the truth of Psalm 112 flows out of the truth of Psalm 111. You might want to sit down this afternoon and read them in tandem.

Psalm 111 ends with these words, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”

And then Psalm 112 begins, “Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.”


Psalm 112 begins with worship. This is, fundamentally, a praise song.

It begins, “Praise the LORD.” Praise Yahweh. Praise the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Praise God for being God!

This song is going to extol the blessings of a being a godly man, but make no mistake, this is song is ultimately about the God of the godly man. He deserves the praise! He should get the glory because He is the One giving out the blessings.

So then the songwriter sings, “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.”


It means to be in a state to be congratulated. It means you really have it good. 

“Way to go! Good on ya!”

The CSB says, “Happy is the man who fears the LORD.”

Oh yeah! That guy is really blessed. He’s really got it good.

It is so wonderful to be the kind of man whose life is characterized by the “fear of the LORD.” 

Now, this kind of fear obviously does not mean “terror” or “fright.” Because you aren’t happy if you’re scared out of your wits.

This kind of fear is a fear, but it’s more of a reverent awe kind of fear (a-w-e). It’s worship in awe. It’s being amazed and trembling because you realize in your heart how holy and awesome and wonderful is the LORD.

And the parallel idea is “delight.”

“Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, [what does that mean? He’s the one] who finds great delight in [the LORD’s] commands.”

Fear and delight together.

The guy who has that has it really good!

Now, I said Psalm 112 is also a lot like Psalm 1. Remember Psalm 1? How does it begin? “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”


The man who fears the LORD, loves God’s Word!

He delights in God’s commands.

We don’t normally delight in commands.

Do you love it when somebody tells you what to do?

Sometimes we do. Like when my wife says, “Come to the table. It’s time for dinner!”

The psalmist says that that’s what it’s like for the man who fears the LORD. God’s Word is a feast to him, and he loves to hear, “Come and get it!”

Now, for most of the rest of this psalm, the emphasis is going to be on just how good it is to be this kind of a godly man.
We’re going ask the psalm, “What does this blessing look like?” And it’s going to answer us back in song.

But the deeper and more fundamental question we should be asking ourselves is, “Am I a man like this? 

Does this song sing about a guy (or by extension, a gal) like me?

Is this song about me?”

Do you fear the LORD?

Do you find great delight in the LORD’s commands?

Do you know God so that you love and trust and worship and obey Him?

If so, the psalmist says that great blessing awaits you.

I’m going to try to summarize that blessing in three words. Here’s the first one.

The blessing of:

#1. LEGACY. V.2

“Blessed is the man who fears the LORD...His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”

The song says that the man who fears the LORD will have children, they will be mighty, and they themselves will be blessed.

Now, this psalm is set in the Old Covenant context. So all of the ways that the blessings are described are shadows of the greater blessings of the New Covenant.

These are the kind of earthly and temporary and Old Testamenty illustrations of what blessing looked like under the Old Covenant.

To understand what this means for us today, we have to transpose the song into a New Covenant key.

But the lyrics are beautiful. The psalmist says that the god-fearing man will be blessed with mighty children who are themselves blessed.

What a legacy!

The point is that blessed people bless others.

The blessing doesn’t just stop with the first generation. The man who fears the LORD is so blessed that the blessing spills over onto his children.

They become influential and powerful and blessed themselves.

A legacy.

Isn’t that a great thought for Father’s Day? That a Christian man would so fear and love and worship and obey His Lord that the blessing that comes from that would spill over onto his children?

And not just physical children, but spiritual children. Not all men will be biological fathers, but all godly men can be spiritual fathers to others.

And bless others with the blessing they have received.

Now, that doesn’t mean that, even in the Old Testament, every single child of a blessed God-fearing man will also be a blessed God-fearing man. King David was a man after God’s own heart, and look at Absalom. Look at Amnon. 

But the psalmists knows that God loves to overbless His sons so that the blessing they receive spills out and over onto others in a legacy of blessing.

Doesn’t that sound good?

That’s the kind of thing you can expect if you fear the LORD.

I want a legacy like that. Both in my biological children and in my spiritual children.

“...mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”

What is this blessing like? Blessing number two. The blessing of:

#2. PROSPERITY. V.3

“Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.”

Now, again, it’s easy to go wrong here, and think of what is often called “The Prosperity Gospel,” if you do good and be good, then you’ll get good stuff. Health and wealth and prosperity. Christians are called to be "healthy and wealthy and prosperous."

And you can see where some people might get that from verses like this one.

And in the Old Testament, wealth and riches and land and so on were promised as a part of the Old Covenant. Promises to Israelite believers in the book of Deuteronomy.

But those are just shadows of the greater blessings to come in the New Covenant.

They are pictures of the glorious blessings of knowing Christ in the here and now and the blessings of the kingdom in the age to come.

But even in the Old Testament, these promises were not the whole story.

Remember Job.

He was a godly man who feared the Lord, and what happened to all of his wealth and all of his health and all of his prosperity?

Was this song true for him?

Yes, it actually was. Just not in the short run.

In the short run, the wicked can prosper!


So we shouldn’t assume that just because somebody has wealth and riches right now that they are righteous. And we shouldn’t assume that the song is wrong just because a righteous man does not have visible prosperity right now either.


Look at the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Was this song true for them?

Yes, it was. Because it’s ultimately about ultimate things.

“Wealth and riches are in his house, [second part of that line] and his righteousness endures forever.”

That’s the kind of prosperity that doesn’t fluctuate! V.4

“Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.”

Interesting that it says that darkness will come. This psalm is not blind to the dark realities of the world. But the darkness will not win for the upright.

Morning will break with daylight at the dawn. It’s inevitable!

For a certain kind of man, and here we get three important words to describe a godly man. V.4 again.

“Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.”

Who does that sound like?

Look up the page to Psalm 111 and look at verses 3 and 4.
“Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate.”

If God is like that, then the men who fear God will be like that, too.

Are you gracious?
Are you compassionate?
Are you righteous?

Those three things sound really nice, but they are actually really hard to do.

To be forgiving and merciful and generous, and do the right thing?

That doesn’t come naturally. We need God’s help to live like that.

But when we do, how blessed we are! V.5

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.”

Genuine ultimate prosperity comes to those who live like this.

It’s interesting to me how much this song emphasizes generosity as the mark of godly man. Yes, this man is blessed with prosperity, but the point of prosperity is generosity.

We have been given so much to give even more.

We have been blessed to be a blessing.

A godly man gives.

And then gives some more.

Guys, are you a giver? 

Or are you a taker?

There is certainly a time to be a receiver. This psalm extols all of the blessings that we can receive. But we don’t just receive, and we should never just selfishly take.

Instead we should receive blessing and then pass the blessing on.
And receive blessing and then pass the blessing on.
And receive blessing and then pass the blessing on.

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.”

He thinks about what does. He’s careful with his behavior.

His business dealings are fair and above board.

He treats his customers and his clients and supervisors and his employees and his employers like he would want to be treated if he was in their shoes.

He doesn’t put his finger on the scale.

He doesn’t fudge the numbers on the balance sheet.

He doesn’t evade his taxes or steal from his employer.

Because he knows that God will prosper him. 

He doesn’t have to take because he knows that “Good will come to him.”

“Blessed is the man who fears the LORD.”

Here’s how blessed. Number three. The blessing of:

#3. STABILITY. V.6

“Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.”

There will be a quality of stability in his life. And it will never end. He will be remembered by others and especially by God forever.

Now, obviously trouble will come. Earthquakes will come. The world will be shaken.

But this man will not be shaken. V.7

“He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”

Obviously bad news is going to come, but it won’t scare him!

Because this man knows the good news, the ultimate news. So he is unwavering. He is a “Steady Eddie” because he’s not trusting himself, he’s trust in the LORD. V.8

“His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.”

Doesn’t that sound good? I want to live like that!


This is not saying that trouble will not come. Trouble will come. Scary things will happen. But this man’s heart is secure, he will have no fear.

Why?

Because he’s read the end of the book, and he knows who wins!

Remember Psalm 110? The Messiah will win, and win, and win, and win, and win, and never stop winning!

“In the end he will look in triumph on his foes.” They will all be a footstool for the Messiah’s feet.

Yes, the Cross happened, but so did the Empty Tomb, and one day soon will be the Glorious Return.

And that gives us stability.

And from that stability, we can practice generosity. V.9

“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.”

More about generosity. This song really emphasizes that godly mean are generous men. 

The Apostle Paul quoted verse 9 in 2 Corinthians 9 when he encouraged the Corinthians to give sacrificially and cheerfully. 

Because there is great blessing that comes from generosity.

It’s a hallmark of righteousness.

That’s one of the things the Pharisees got wrong. They were into tithing and figuring exactly how much they had to give. They weren’t into grace giving and figuring out how generous they could be!

But Jesus was.

Jesus was the ultimate in generosity.
He was the ultimate in stability.
He was the ultimate in prosperity.

But He gave it all away to be the ultimate in generosity which created the ultimate in legacy!

What a model of godly manhood for you and me!

Men, are you generous?

Have you “scattered abroad your gifts to the poor?”

Or are you spending it all on yourself?

Psalm 112 is a wisdom psalm. Like Psalm 1 and the like the Proverbs, it presents two ways, the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked.

But unlike other wisdom psalms, Psalm 112t only gives 1 verse to the wicked, and it’s just by way of contrast. Look at verse 10.

“The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.”

The wicked man will experience the opposite of the righteous man.

He will not have the blessing of legacy.

He will not ultimately have the blessing of prosperity. He will look at what the righteous man receives and be confused and angry. He’ll be vexed. He will grind his teeth in despair.

And he will not have the blessing of stability.

Everything he longs for will waste away. It will come to nothing. He will come up empty.

But this songs says the opposite is true for the man who fears the LORD.

His longings will be fulfilled.

In this world, some.
In the next world, all.
In Christ, he will be blessed.

May we be men (and women) who fear the LORD and find great delight in his commands. Praise the LORD!

***

Fortifying Truth - Psalms - Fall 2020 to Summer 2021

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132
16. "My Son" - Psalm 2
17. "Search Me" - Psalm 139
18. "Cleanse Me" - Psalm 51
19. "A New Song" - Psalm 96
20. "Hear My Prayer, O LORD." - Psalm 86
21. "May All the Peoples Praise You" - Psalm 67
22. "A Wedding Song" - Psalm 45
23. "My Feet Had Almost Slipped" - Psalm 73
24. “Rejoicing Comes in the Morning" - Psalm 30
25. 'The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck" - Psalm 69
26. "Cast Your Cares on the LORD" - Psalm 55
27. "“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" - Psalm 22
28. "You Will Not Abandon Me To the Grave" - Psalm 16
29. "He Will Rule" - Psalm 72
30. "Taste and See That the LORD is Good" - Psalm 34
31. "Since My Youth" - Psalm 71
32. "Your Statutes Are Wonderful" - Psalm 119
33. "The LORD Our God Is Holy" - Psalm 99
34. "Not To Us, O LORD" - Psalm 11
35. "Blessed" - Psalm 32
36. "Sit At My Right Hand" - Psalm 110

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