Psalm 112 is our focus today.
I can remember a time or two, as I was growing up, using manipulation to get something I really wanted from my parents. I mean, didn’t we all clean up our rooms for an allowance, or be extra good for a week so they would let us go to the movies over the weekend, or work hard and get good grades so we could get some kind of reward? Now, I know a lot of times this is innocent, and our motivations aren’t really “wicked” or “evil” when we do these things. But aren’t we really being a little manipulative; being good, working hard, or being nice, in order to get something ?
I also know that we have all also done something for our parents, or a loved one, just genuinely out of love for them as well! We are just moved in our hearts out of love to do something out of kindness to them or for them.
I think sometimes we approach our relationship with God like this. I think sometimes (not always) we can try to manipulate God and act a certain way, “be good”, “be obedient”, in order to get something from Him.
I want us to look at Psalm 112 and see that God blesses obedience and godly character that is motivated by delight in Him, and reverence for Him and not to get something from Him.
It begins in verse 1, the psalmist says “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments.”
So the promise of blessing comes from a place of “fear,” or in other words, “reverence” for God and a “delight in his commandments.” The fear of God means to have a deep respect for God, and to admire or be in awe of who he is as God. To delight means to take pleasure in. That’s a weird concept to a lot of us. Do you take pleasure in God’s word? Do you enjoy it like you enjoy relationships, money, food, water, vacation, success? Do you take pleasure in God’s word and in His commandments?
Fear/reverence and delight/pleasure in the Lord and His word; it creates a different character in our lives. From the desires of our heart flows a different character, and God blesses that different character.
Throughout this psalm we see the character of the one who delights in the Lord and fears the Lord, and the blessing that flows from it. Follow with me.
The result of one who fears the Lord and delights in his commandments is in verses 2 and 3, “His offspring will be mighty in the land, and his house will be filled with wealth and riches.” Verse 4 says that he will be like, “light that dawns in the darkness.” Meaning he will bring light in the dark places because he is gracious, merciful and righteous.
Two other characteristics of someone who is blessed by God is one who is generous and just (verse 5). Verse 6 tells us that those who are righteous, “will never be moved and will be remembered forever”…and in verse 7 we see that the righteous person is “not afraid of bad news because he trusts in the Lord” and has “distributed freely to the poor.” (verse 9).
In verse 10 the psalmist contrasts those who fear the lord and the wicked. It says that the wicked look at the one who fears the Lord and how the Lord blesses them and gets mad. The wicked’s desires will “perish.” This contrasts with the desires of those who fear the Lord that their desires will never fade away!
So, this is what I mean that we manipulate God. We see what God blesses, so we DO what we think God likes in order to GET his blessing. We must see how this is backwards! The psalmist intentionally starts with a heart that fears the Lord and delights in Him!
I want to ask you: do you follow God, or try to be a “good” person in order to GET something from God? Or do you just truly delight in God and who He is as revealed in His word?
I want to ask you an even harder questing: did you “ask Jesus into your heart” so that you can get heaven and not Hell? Is that the only reason you ever started to follow Jesus? So that you can GET something in return?
I want you to really think about your relationship with Jesus…has He become someone that you USE to get what you want? Even heaven. OR do you just love Jesus for who He is and how much He has demonstrated His love for you through His death, burial, and resurrection? Does your heart delight in Him and that delight motivates the way you live? Living in a way that honors someone you love?
Take a few minutes this morning and confess if that is your motivation in your relationship with the Lord. I know I am guilty of this at times, just using God or trying to manipulate him, and I need to confess. The good news is that God is infinitely gracious, loving, patient, forgiving and kind, and if we “confess our sins…he is faithful to forgive us.”