>Light dawns in the darkness, Psalm 112

>As nuclear meltdowns threaten and the earth’s foundations shake, God reminds us today that the righteous will never be moved and light dawns in the darkness.

Like so many other psalms, Psalm 112 begins with praise to God. But it quickly shifts focus to the godly person (verse 1, ESV):

Praise the LORD!

Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commandments!

In the ESV Literary Study Bible, editors Ryken and Ryken identify Psalm 112 as an encomium, which they define in their glossary as “A work of literature that praises either a general character type (e.g., Psalm 1 on the godly person and Proverbs 31:10-31 on the virtuous wife) or abstract quality (e.g., 1 Corinthians 13 on love and Hebrews 11 on faith)” (p. 1887). If you’ve studied poetry or classical literature, you may already be familiar with the term.

The editors also note that the psalm’s “successive half-verses follow the sequence of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, making this an acrostic poem” (p. 876). Regular blog readers will recall that the previous psalm we examined, Psalm 111, was also an acrostic praise psalm. Psalm 112 assures the godly of God’s covenantal care for their ensuing generations.

His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever
(2-3, ESV).

Our children may not win wrestling meets and we may not have a safe stuffed with currency and jewelry, but our believing children are strong in the Lord and their eternal souls are treasures in our households now and in our eternal homes. Our righteousness is Christ’s, and that will never fail.

Because we have this never fading hope, light dawns in our darkness.

Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.

It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;

who conducts his affairs with justice (4-5, ESV).

In the murky shadows of this world, we can see the light of Christ. His dawn lights our way and lightens our hearts. He enables each of us to imitate him by being gracious and merciful. The righteous person is generous and helpful; he deals honestly with others.

The righteous are able to stand firm even in adversity.

For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries
(6-8, ESV).

Because our righteousness is the righteousness of Christ, we will not be shaken even when the earth trembles. The grass may wither and the flower fade, our earthly bodies may deteriorate and die, but the Word of the Lord stands firm forever. And our souls are eternally secure in Christ that living Word. We need not fear frightening news reports. Our pulse remains steady when we trust God. We can be sure that one day we will view all enemies from a victorious vantage point.

The righteous acts of the godly person have everlasting value.

He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor
(9, ESV).

The biblical image of a horn represents power. In this world, God’s people often are weak, oppressed, and humiliated. But the reality beyond this ephemeral sphere is that we are strong, powerful, and honored.

This makes the wicked very angry (verse 10, ESV):

The wicked man sees it and is angry;
he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
the desire of the wicked will perish!

The wicked may try to grind the righteous in their vicious teeth, but they will soon melt away like a mist dispersed by sunlight. Their desires and stratagems will disappear.

In the face of today’s bad news, take heart! God promises that the righteous will stand firm. Light will dawn in darkness!

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