The Fear of the Lord (Part 1)
This Psalm is about a man who fears the Lord and obeys Him and cares for his fellow men.
Such a person is sure of a reward. Such a man will be able to withstand the knocks of the world and the trials and tribulations that go with it. The man who fears the Lord will be unafraid of what is before him. The Psalmist describes the rewards in material terms, because in his day there was no real or clear concept of afterlife. The afterlife is explained in the New Testament by Jesus Himself and then by His Apostles after that.
What the Psalmist is telling us is that God’s people have their full share of trouble, but are given resources to meet it. This in a nutshell is what this Psalm is all about, but let us go a bit deeper into the Psalm to find out how we, today, can use this particular Psalm to help us through hard times.
Nothing in God’s word is superfluous, each word has something to tell us .We won’t be looking at each word structure but we will be looking at a group of words that convey a truth to us. I have come up with eight main truths which can be broken down into smaller sections if need be. This morning we will look at two of them, and the first is:
1. WE MUST START THE DAY THE RIGHT WAY (verse 1)
Verse 1 Has three sub-sections that will get us on the right side of the day, and if we practice these three in our daily life all the other verses of the Psalm will fall into place.
a. The Importance of Praise and Worshiping
Notice that the Psalmist starts off with the sentence “Praise the Lord” or Hallelu Yah”. This Tehillim (Psalm(s)) in the Torah also starts of with ‘Ha-lelu Yah’
What is important to note is that this is the best way to start in anything we put our hands or mind to. To Praise the Lord and to extol His Name is like medicine to the soul. Prov. 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Praise and worship is where the believer and God unites in Spirit and as you praise the Lord so your Spirit is rejuvenated and healed. When your spirit is healed you become a new person with strength to face the day ahead.
b. The Importance of Fearing the Lord (verse 1)
“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord.” This is a Biblical expression that many get hung up on. They conjure up wrong ideas about the nature and the work of God, and as a result they go through life missing out on the blessings that God has for them. In Hebrew the expression YEREH ET-YEHOVAH is translated correctly as “fear the Lord” but the word YEREH also has another meaning, and it is “awe”, or “Reverence”.
We have to recognize God for who He is, the Almighty One. We have to show the necessary respect for Him. Over familiarity will eventually slide into contempt. In all our communication with God we MUST show the necessary respect and reverence towards Him and when we come to realize this then we are on the right path on our Pilgrim Journey. Whenever we read “Fear the Lord” we must read it as “Show awe, respect and reverence to the Lord.” He is a holy Father to us, but He is NOT (reverently speaking) our playmate as some are wont to make Him..
c. Divine Legislation
“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.” God’s commands are really divine commandments, divine legislation for those living in His kingdom. There is much more than just the Ten Commandments in God’s Holly book that we must follow. When it is a drudgery and an effort to follow God’s commands then I query whether you really love God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. When your walk with Jesus becomes a labour of love, then following God’s commands becomes a pleasure; in fact it will become a burning desire to do so.
Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Again He said in John 14:23, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.” What we learn here that there is only one way in which you can show your love for Jesus, and that is to show to the world that you are following Hs commands, not under duress, but in absolute love for the Master.
A tree is known by its fruit. So the professing Christian should show the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of the life Jesus wants from us. There are too many Christians who show the fruit of the world in their life. Unfortunately this becomes a stumbling block to the person seeking to come into the presence of Jesus. I plead with you, if you claim to love Jesus, do all in your power to rid yourself of the ways of the world and to add to your way of living the things that Jesus desires of you.
A command is something that has to be obeyed, at all cost. Soldiers are trained to obey commands exactly and immediately under all circumstances. There is a very specific reason for this for if an order is disobeyed during an attack from the enemy, disobedience could cost the disobedient one his life, and most probably the lives of others in his section. We must not forget that we, as Christians, are also involved in a fight against the enemy. Our greatest enemy is Satan and he fights us in the spiritual.
I am spending quite a bit on this subject this morning as it is of vital importance to every Christian. You see, it all involves about your love for the Lord Jesus Christ in your life. The more you love Him, the more you will desire to obey Him, the more you will find yourself automatically following Him. The less your love for Jesus is the more you will find yourself disobeying Jesus’ commands and doing the things that are not pleasing to the Father. It is a Spiritual Law that your love for Jesus is proportional to the amount of commands you obey.
2. OUR OWN WAY OF LIVING AFFECTS OTHERS IN THE HOUSE (verse 2)
Verse 2 tells us that the children of the man who practices what we have just be talking about will be “mighty in the land” and “The generation of the upright will be blessed” There are the well-known expressions “like father, like son” and “The apple does not fall far from the tree”, in other words, whatever the father and the mother does and says has a tremendous affect on the children.
Parents have a great responsibility towards the children they produce, and in this they will have to answer to God for any wrongful leading. Generally, if the parent is a God fearing person, then the children will follow suit, maybe not for a while, but the time will come in the child’s life when a change will come. Prov. 22:6 has this to say, “Train the child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
It stands to reason that if you train a child opposite to what the Bible teaches then only a miracle will change the child to the ways of God. People often wonder why their children turn out to be no-goods, yet in many cases the parents should examine and look back on their own lives and the way they lead it. It is no good scolding a child for smoking and telling him that it is not good for him when you yourself are saying it with a cigarette in your mouth. It is no good telling him not to drink when you yourself have a house full of liquor. It is no good telling your child not to mess around with women when you yourself are doing that very thing.
When you set your heart to follow the Lord in your house, as well as in public, and you prove yourself to be steady and reliable in your speech, thoughts, deeds and worship, then the blessings of the Lord will automatically spill over to all who live in your house. It is like building a fire to warm yourself by. All those who sit around the fire will also feel the warmth, except those who deliberately do not come near the fire.
Lastly, seeing the word “generation” in verse 2, I want to discuss something that confuses a lot or people, and who do not fully understand the meaning of the verse that says that sins of the fathers will rest on the children unto the third and fourth generation. They ask how can God allow this to happen? They query how can God punish the third and fourth generation just because of what their great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather had done? So many punish themselves unnecessarily, just because they do not read the verse correctly and study it properly.
Exod. 20:5, as part of the Ten Commandments, God says, “You shall not bow down to them (idols) or worship them; for I the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation (now listen carefully – and emphasis mine) OF THOSE WHO HATE ME.” What God is saying here is that if the children of the sinful father turn to God, then that curse will immediately be rescinded or taken away from them. You see God is not the unjust God some make Him out to be. If anyone turns to His Son Jesus Christ, (for remember we live today in the New Testament times), then ALL sins of his own will be forgiven and thrown away as far as the East is from the West.
Let us end this portion of Psalm 112 on a bright and positive note. Exodus 20:6 God promises to, “Show love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands” Listener, you, too, can be part of this promise if you set your heart to follow Jesus.
If you have not already done so, I invite you to invite Jesus into your heart this morning, acknowledging that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness, and through the shed of Jesus you will be cleansed of all unrighteousness..
God bless you.