The Blessed Man Renewed
Today’s psalm picks up from where we left off yesterday, and issuing a ‘hallelujah’, tells us:
‘Blessed (Asher) is the man who fears the LORD, and in His commandments (bemiswotaw) greatly delights’
The phrase ‘blessed is the man’ is a key phrase in the Psalms as a whole. You’ll remember that this is how the very first psalm begins, and it is fitting that in this final book of re-gathering, we come to the eighth and final occurrence. As such, this is the psalm of the ‘new man’ – that man Paul speaks about in Ephesians:
‘As the truth is in Jesus … put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness’ (Eph 4:24).
Righteousness Working In
Firstly we note that putting ‘on the new man’ is linked with being like our Saviour, Jesus, THE New Man, instead of like Adam, the Old Man. Paul also makes clear that the new character we are to have is God’s character: in righteousness and holiness. The truth of the Deity of Christ is once again seen woven into the very fabric of Scripture.
With these words in mind, we return to Psalm 112 and it is no surprise to find righteousness the main characteristic of the blessed man who fears the Lord and delights in His Word.
‘His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. Unto the uprightthere ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.’ (v2-4)
And as surely as ‘righteousness exalteth a nation’ (Prov 14:34), so shall the individual who seeks to model Christ be exalted. They shall be spiritually mighty, blessed and enduring.
I love verse four as it reminds us that life for the new man is not all a bed of roses, for there will be dark times. Yet, with his trust in the Lord there ‘ariseth’ unto him ‘light in the darkness’.
I cannot help but see Christ Himself in this, ‘the Sun of righteousness’, who shall ‘arise with healing in his wings’ (Mal 4:2), and as we enjoy the sunshine of His presence, we shall not become cold or uncaring in our righteousness.
Rather, we will come to have the very same heart that we are told the LORD has (Psa 111:4) – a heart that reaches out to others: ‘gracious and full of compassion’ (Psa 112:4). And here you see beautifully the symmetry between these two psalms.
Grace Working Out
Through the following verses, we are given an inspiring glimpse at what the life of the new man in Christ practically looks like. Now, we may wonder at how far we are from enjoying these things, but don’t panic!
First you’re not alone – we all feel like this just now, and must realise, that only Christ Himself the Perfect Man, knew the full blessedness of these things. Second, this psalm looks forward and gives us hope that one day, we shall be like Christ. So with that said, let’s look at this blessed life.
1) A generous life
‘A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion’ (v5).
We note that while we are to be generous with our possessions, owning that they are the Lord’s, not ours; yet, we must be good stewards and dispense generosity justly.
2) A calm life
‘Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.’ (v6)
In situations of distress, we do not need to fret, pace anxiously, or become hysterical. Why? Because we know we are held ‘in everlasting remembrance’ by the LORD. He knows what we go through; is with us; and will deliver us in His time. (1 Cor 10:13) Therefore, we can truly ‘keep calm and carry on’.
3) A steadfast life
‘He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.’ (v7)
The secret to remaining steadfast and afloat in the face of adversity, is trusting in the Lord.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but Horatio Spafford shows us that it is within our reach, do in the shadow ‘of evil tidings’, a business lost to fire, and children lost at sea, he could write ‘When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, It is well with my soul”.’
This only comes from knowing by faith there is a ‘hope set before us, which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil’. (Hebs 6:19).
4) A supported life
‘His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies’. (v8)
As we consider the word ‘established’ we see it is the Hebrew ‘samuk’ also used in 111v8 in relation to the Word of God, and I think this is instructive, for it is only when we lean upon the Word of God and its eternal perspective for our support, that we can go forth with boldness into a world of opposition saying ‘what can man do unto me?’ (Psa 118:6).
Just as the beginning of this psalm links us to Psalm 1 with the phrase ‘the blessed man’, so the concluding two verses of this psalm similarly link is back by presenting two opposite paths; two opposite ends.
The end of the blessed man is given in verse 9, and this is an upward trajectory, to glory and honour. We see this fulfilled in Christ, and we are blessed because by being ‘in Christ’ ourselves, we too shall be raised to glory and honour.
However, for the wicked, verse 10 shows their end: grief leads to torment; their eternally worthless lives waste away and ultimately perish.
I trust all who read this have come to Christ, and are enjoying the blessing life of the new man.