“How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments.” – Psalm 112:1 (NASB)
“He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” – Psalm 112:7 (NASB)
“The wicked will see it and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and melt away; the desire of the wicked will perish.” – Psalm 112:10
We have chosen three verses which reminded us of steadfast heart and how the world responds. Verse 1 encourages believers – those who fear the LORD God. They delight in God’s Word. Verse 7 describes a picture of a heart that is resting on something solid so that it is not shaken no matter what happens. There is no fear of the evil in the world. It is common today to hear the angst expressed by believers when they see that the world around us is unstable and coming apart. Our promise is that our hearts can remain unmoved. The verses today explain how this comes about. It is by trusting in the Lord. What else could provide a more solid foundation than our God? As we trust and fear the Lord we find satisfaction in his promises and commands. The wicked in the world will be disturbed by the believer’s steadfast faith. Gnashing of teeth they melt away. We won’t be bothered by things going on around us. Our feelings and our thoughts will always be steady knowing that God is faithful. Today, let’s be like the person in verses 7-9.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” – James 1:12 (ESV)
We are promised blessings if we remain unfaltering under trial. This is a promise we all need because steadfastness is not easy to come by. And when we are depending upon ourselves, it becomes impossible to fend off the doubts and uncertainties that come with the trials and testing of our faith. Believers who successfully endure trials are truly happy. Nobody is saying that trials are easy to face and live through. Quite the opposite and that is why a passive, painful survival of a trial results in endurance and focuses on a victorious outcome. Through such endurance we do not relinquish our saving faith in God; we successfully have the victory over these trials which is evidence of our faith. The “crown of life” promised is best translated “the crown which is life.” Our ultimate reward is eternal life which God has promised to all who believe. It is granted in full at the time of our death or at the time of Christ’s coming again. This promise is given to those who love Him. By grace and through faith we declare our love for Jesus who secured our eternal life in his death and resurrection.
“In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.” – Psalm 119:88 (ESV)
Is your world pressing in on you and keeping from you the peace that surpasses all comprehension? It happens. We may wish for our lives to be easy all the time – if it ever is at all. Everything in our lives may, for a season, seem to be rolling along in a positive direction and then BLAM! From out of nowhere comes something we do not expect and would never choose. Sometimes it is a loss from a natural disaster – we’re thinking of the many who lose their homes in hurricanes, tornados, flooding and fires. Or is it a sudden illness, a diagnosis we can’t bear hear? But there it is, and we’re just not ready. And the most difficult might be the unthinkable loss of someone dear and near; a husband, a wife, a child, a close friend. The sudden loss of a life partner way too soon certainly is a really difficult circumstance to cope with. Look at the verse now. God’s love for us is steadfast, even when our loss is greater than ever imagined. His lovingkindness will give us hope and his testimonies from His word are good to keep in mind and heart.
“Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” – James 5:11 (ESV)
In our passage today our promise is mercy if we remain steadfast in suffering. It is those who suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ that are promised this mercy. Not only receive mercy but show mercy when we face tribulation, persecution ⸺ any undeserved action because of our confession of faith in God. As faith believers we recognize that suffering is a part of the life that comes with proclaiming the Gospel of salvation which comes only from believing in Jesus. His half-brother James, had not always believed in Jesus during His earthly ministry on earth. But James came to believe and was the leader of the early church in Jerusalem. James had seen the suffering firsthand. This included decapitation, stoning, imprisonment, whippings, beatings, and attempts to eliminate or squelch the believers of Jesus. So James reminds us to consider two things in this verse. First, that we remember how Job remained steadfast through the worst trials and suffering we can imagine. Second, that the Lord is full of both compassion and mercy – that means Jesus delights to show mercy to those who are suffering. That is why He willingly went to the cross to die.
“For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. ” Psalm 33:21-22 (ESV)
There is joy in the Christian life and our verse reminds us that we rejoice because we trust in Him, in His name. Why is it that trusting the Lord results in joy? Because He is trustworthy. When we trust the Lord we are trusting someone who is dependable. Because we can trust in His name we have a certain hope in what He has promised This whole Psalm, when we read through it, is packed with the magnificence of our Lord God. He looks down from heaven and watches over us. He knows everything we are going through, every challenge we face, every need we have. That is why, when we trust in Him it brings joy to our hearts. And when we look to Him for help and He responds by giving us what we need, our hearts respond and rejoice. That had been the experience of the Psalmist and it can be our experience too. Let’s join with the Psalmist and say as he did, “Because of Him we are happy! We are trusting him. And we trust his holy name.”
“Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands.” Psalm 112:1 (NIV)
“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7 (NIV)
There is a positive result seen in the promises of these two verses from Psalm 112. With no title to this Psalm, it is evidently a companion to Psalm 111. We consider the promises in these verses. The exhortation at the beginning of 112:1 is never given too often; our Lord is the LORD God and He always deserves praise. The exhortation is for all thoughtful persons who observe the way and manner of life that appropriately fears the Lord. God’s favor towards the God-fearing is a display of His character and encourages gracious feelings in others. We study the divine precepts while we endeavor to observe them, and we rejoice doing so. Our promises are: We will have no dread that evil tidings will come, and we will not be alarmed when they do come. If our hearts are fixed in our reliance upon God, any change in circumstances will barely affects us; our faith makes our conviction steadfast. When the worst should come to worst we rest and remain quiet, patiently, waiting for God.
Compare line by line Psalms 111 & 112 and see the greatness of God and its reflection.
“Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments.” Psalm 112:1 (NASB)
“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7 (ESV)
The act of fearing the LORD is an emphasis throughout the Old Testament. The concept “fear of the Lord” occurs most prominently in the Old Testament’s Wisdom Literature such as our selected verse today. It is defined as the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10) or, as the responsible attitude of all humanity toward God (Ecclesiastes12:13). When it is used it conveys either devotion or dread of consequential punishment. Such a devotional attitude is both fitting and pleasing to our Lord God. We can and should fear God in both ways. When faith believers are walking in the fear of the Lord, they are also in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Such and attitude actually give us courage from our faith so that we are not afraid when bad tidings come our way. No one likes bad news but true Christians have no need to fear any news we receive. We have been given steadfast hearts, firm and trusting in the LORD. We can actually say, if we fear the Lord God, we really have no need to fear anything else in this world ⸺we are blessed because we fear only the Lord.
“…strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” – Colossians 1:11-12 (NASB)
Again we look at this passage from the letter Paul the Apostle wrote to the church in Colossae. He cared much for the people in all the churches he had a part in establishing. Praying for them every day, he sought God’s very best for them and for them to recognize the promises and blessings they received. These are promises for us as well. In our passage today is a third factor, spiritual strength, that results from knowing God’s will and pleasing Him. Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, a promise for overcoming uses three words for strength: “being strengthened” ⸺enable; make strong;¹ “power” ⸺be able, can;² and “might” ⸺power that overcomes resistance;³ This God-given strength produces great endurance and patience. This endurance or perseverance (James 1:3), we saw characterized by Job (James 5:11). To this endurance Paul added “patience,” a word generally associated with gentleness and calmness. When patience-producing power is manifested it is often accompanied with a joyful spirit of thanksgiving to the Father from whom comes every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Our promise is we are made qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints.
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NASB)
Our promise today is found in the last verse chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians. It continues the instructions Paul gave in the first verses of the chapter (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). Where we are is spiritually depends on what we are taught and learn and believe. The gospel Paul had preached in Corinth (1 Corinthians 2:1–2) had not changed; but he feared that along with the declension in the church concerning the message of Christ crucified and its implication for believers, the same was happening with regard to the message of Christ resurrected. False teachers who work for the enemy to turn people away from the truth of Jesus’s resurrection. The proof Christ is who He claims to be is His resurrection. So the enemies will always attempt to deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul had clearly stated the case for Christ’s resurrection and that if He did not rise from the dead our faith in Him would be useless. But it is true. Christ did not say in the grave. He conquered the sting and power of death for all who believe. He secured our victory over death so that what we do for Christ’s Gospel is not in vain.
“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8 (NASB)
The importance of the promises, as in our verse today, is better understood when we consider source and context. This is a psalm of thanksgiving and praise by David. We may have considered this verse previously and repetition of God’s promises is always beneficial. David declares our LORD God is exalted over all His creation. He favors the humble in spirit but the arrogant, who David calls haughty, are kept far from Him. Additionally, God watches over our lives and protects us from the hatred of our enemies. The conclusion of Psalm 138 has critical importance for us because we do not always turn to God and trust these promises. Our fears and worries distract us and we are prone to believe God gives up on us. He doesn’t because His promise is that He will accomplish and fulfill all that is His purpose for us. God’s love is steady and holds fast in all circumstances. We can always trust this promise even though we might strongly feel the need to call on God to continue His work in our lives. When we think we’ve lost, God says it is not finished. God’s work continues in our lives.