Going Deeper 8-28-19

The Psalm for Pentecost 12…

Psalm 112   Praise the Lord!  Happy are those who fear the Lord, who greatly delight in his commandments.  Their descendants will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.  Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever.  They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.  It is well with those who deal generously and lend, who conduct their affairs with justice.  For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever.  They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.  Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.  They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever; their horn is exalted in honor.  The wicked see it and are angry; they gnash their teeth and melt away; the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.

 

This Psalm would fall under the genre of “Wisdom,” which, like the Proverbs, provides both general and specific guidance as to how to best live one’s life.  The wisdom communicated here can be summed up: “live right and live well; or do wrong and suffer.”  And generally this is the case, although Job and Ecclesiastes speak of apparent exceptions to these ‘rules.’

 

What can become problematic is to conclude that the primary motivation for living “right” is in order to be rewarded.  This mistaken mindset is a major factor in what has caused Israel’s ‘religion’ to deteriorate into simply observing a lot of rites and rituals in order to either appease an angry God or earn His favor and rewards.  The truest core motivation for obedience has always been gratitude, not fear or the desire for reward.

 

Within that context of understanding, one can then see the wisdom of being among those “who greatly delight in his commandments.”  Life is better when we live it according to the plan of the Creator of life.  It is better not because of the rewards we earn or the punishment we avoid, but because it is lived out of gratitude and love, and has great purpose and truest joys.

 

Therefore, let us pursue lives which are “gracious, merciful, and righteous”, marked by generosity and justice… lives which reflect our Creator/Father, in whose image we were created to begin with.

 

With You in Him,

 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington, Colorado

 

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”