Psalm 112 has been a source of deep encouragement for me. Even writing through this piece, my spirit has felt so energized! I feel as though letting it marinate richly into my mind is causing my “soul to prosper” (3 John 1:2), and I pray it will yours, too.
I really would like to exposit this with you—one of my favorite things to do! Study the Scriptures!—but let’s start first with some context. The author of Psalm 112 remains anonymous to modern worshipers, but it’s written in a way that almost hearkens us back to Psalm 1, as it’s a eulogy of sorts to the godly man. It is also likely intended to be a complement or even a continuation of Psalm 111, as the pattern, prose style, and themes are the same. These twin poems are both alphabetic acrostics (each line begins with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet), and the main body of each text develops the theme introduced in their first verses respectively.
So, let’s take the 10 stanzas of this psalm verse by verse and see what the Holy Spirit might be saying to us through Psalm 112, “The Triumph of the Faithful.”
1. God blesses the righteous.
“Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in His commands” (Psalm 112:1).
Yes, it’s true that God blesses all of His creation (see Matthew 5:45 as an example) because that’s who He is. He is generous and merciful, regardless of the deservingness of the recipient. But the Scriptures are full of evidence that God is enthusiastic to pour out in a special way blessings on those who adore Him. Isaiah 64:4 rings, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him,” a verse that is paraphrased by Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:9: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” Friends, when we revere, prioritize, think affectionately about, and abide in God the Good, we have positioned ourselves for blessings beyond expectation!
2. God’s blessing will roll from us onto our children and grandchildren.
“His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed” (Psalm 112:2).
The Message Bible simply says, “Their children robust on the earth” (emphasis mine), and The Passion Translation puts it this way: “Their descendants will be prosperous and influential. Every generation of His godly lovers will experience His favor.” The NLT says, “Their children will be successful everywhere,” and the CEV sings, “Their descendants will have great power in the land.” No matter how you slice and dice it, it’s abundantly clear that because of our sincere worship of Him, God prophesies that prosperity, influence, and strength will belong to our children, grandchildren, and generations to come! And this itself is yet another blessing to the godly man because, as any parent would eagerly testify, the father and mother feel undeniably blessed when their child prospers.
Of course, I believe that God is enormously invested in the salvation of mankind, so part of His blessing on our children and grandchildren is bringing them into His family! Yes, this “robust life” the psalmist writes about is only ever fully realized on the other side of salvation. Friend, do you have children who have yet to call on Jesus’ Name? Take heart! Grab hold of this prophetic statement and meditate on it again and again, and I will believe with you that your family will experience the cascading, cleansing wash of God’s salvation! Full of faith, I agree with you, my friend, that it is bound to happen!
3. Prosperity is the inheritance of the godly.
“Wealth and riches are in his house (that is, the house of the man who fears the LORD), and his righteousness endures forever” (Psalm 112:3). The Hebrew words by which we translate to English “wealth” and “riches” literally convey the idea of sufficiency and abundant money or property. At the time of the psalmist’s penning of this psalm, Jewish worshipers would have understood “prosperity” to include being taken care of, being protected, having a respectable family name, and having the ability to lend instead of borrow, which I think is a pretty good grasp on biblical wealth.
Psalm 1:3 says of the godly man, “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers,” and Psalm 128:2 speaks of the one who fears the Lord: “You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessing and prosperity will be yours.”
Make no mistake, God warns us about having a love for money (Matthew 6:24, for instance), and I think I can laughingly say with certainty that it’s not God’s will for every Christian to be a millionaire. But I think I can also say with certainty that it is God’s will for every Christian to prosper! Can you imagine a good father adopting a child, only to keep that child hungry, cold, and lonely? Absolutely not! (See Jesus’ comments on this in Matthew 7:9-11.) So while a Christian’s prosperity probably does not include finding the excessive riches in Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders, I believe it means that believers have no need to worry about what to eat or drink or wear (Matthew 6:25-34, Psalm 37:25) because God does a really, really good job at taking care of us.
I do want to acknowledge that many of you reading through Psalm 112 with me might admit that you are in a place of lack or need. Perhaps seeing in Scripture that the heritage of the godly is one of “wealth and riches” feels like a jarring disconnect for your reality right now. In your circumstance, similarly to the previous verse about God’s blessing and salvation on our children, I would encourage you to grab Psalm 112:3 like handlebars, and prophesy it in faith over your situation. Jesus instructs us to intentionally pray for God’s will to be done (Matthew 6:9-10), and we know that the heart of God is to provide (Philippians 4:19), protect (Isaiah 54:4-17), and promote (1 Peter 5:5-6). Don’t let your situation dictate your theology—let the Word of God and the Spirit of God alter your situation until it aligns with His will!
4. Breakthrough is coming!
“Even in darkness, light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man” (Psalm 112:4).
Faith in Jesus does not give us a ‘pass’ on difficulties, sorrows, or persecution. Instead, Psalm 112 clues us in on a promise—that even though darkness settles upon the godly man from time to time, light will dawn! Breakthrough is not far off!
The way that I understand it is that there are two different kinds of breakthroughs: the kind that only God can do, and the kind where the ball is in our court. It’s usually easy to identify the sort of breakthrough that only God can do: it’s a plight absolutely beyond our control. Maybe we’ve done everything we can do to reconcile with our spouse and nothing seems to be changing; maybe a loved one is struggling with an private addiction; maybe there is a demonic influence at work in a particular situation; maybe a prodigal child still hasn’t come home; maybe there is physical healing that desperately needs to happen. Friend, even in darkness, light dawns! God will break through!
The other sort of breakthrough is where the ball is in our court. Here’s what I mean. Sometimes we find ourselves in a self-inflicted darkness. Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church says something to the effect of, “If you’re feeding your soul with the news and social media, then any discouragement you may feel is self-inflicted.” You know, I think that makes an awful lot of sense. If we’re crying out for financial breakthrough but we keep mismanaging the resources God has trusted to us, I don’t suppose that financial breakthrough will come. Or, if we’re praying for reconciliation in a relationship but we’re unwilling to humble ourselves, I’m not so sure that breakthrough will ever come the way we want it to. If we are feeling tormented by evil spirits yet continue filling our minds with horror movies, staring at pornography, dabbling in the occult, or playing with other religions or gods, we’re kind of giving those evil spirits a license to stay, right? First, we must intentionally break partnership, absolutely sever ties, with any lies, destructive habits, ungodly influences, and the like, and then healing will begin to flow to us.
The truth is that for the godly, light will dawn every time darkness slinks in. Identify through the power of the Holy Spirit if the situation requires activity on your part or if it’s altogether supernatural, and then pray accordingly. Yes, darkness will come from time to time, and it may stay longer than we want. But Psalm 112 promises that breakthrough will come! Breakthrough will come! Yes, breakthrough will come, in Jesus’ Name.
5. We can expect good things to happen.
“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice” (Psalm 112:5).
Again, the theme of Psalm 112 is exploring the ways the godly man receives blessing. In this verse, the psalmist poetically elaborates on what godliness is: the man who fears the Lord has a generous way and acts justly. When a man is godly like this, “good will come to him.”
Have you ever met someone a hypochondriac? A pessimist? A Debbie Downer? When I was a kid, I once commented to one of my uncles, “Isn’t the sunset beautiful?” to which he jokingly replied, “Eh, it’s all pollution.” Isn’t it almost comical how our minds can tend to wander to negative spaces? Why is that? For instance, if we’re expecting someone to arrive at 5:00 and she is late, our minds can immediately think, “Oh, no. She doesn’t like me,” or “I wonder if she got in a car accident?” Why don’t our minds wander to places like, “I wonder if she’s late because she’s buying me a gift?” or “I’ll bet she’s late because she’s getting amazing news”?
It is not the way of the righteous man to expect the worst, dwell on depressing thoughts, or have a ho-hum attitude. Instead, the mentality of the righteous anticipates the goodness of God! My prayer for us all is that our minds would be so transformed that we can’t help but always see the silver lining! And something supernatural happens when we begin to expect good things… Since God loves to exceed our expectations (Ephesians 3:20-21), I want to always keep my expectations for blessing and good news super high!
6. We will not be shaken.
“Surely he (the godly man) will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever” (Psalm 112:6).
Here the psalmist says that the one who fears the Lord will not be ruffled or disturbed by circumstances. He is not shaken! Perhaps it’s because he’s surrounded by influential children (verse 2), lives in prosperity (verse 3), experiences regular breakthroughs (verse 4), and sees the goodness of God with every turn (verse 5)—but at any rate, no situation has the power to faze him. It’s not because bad things never happen to him (verse 4), but because his heart is fixated on the Father (verse 1). And because of this, his community sees his example and his life, and celebrates him.
In the Name of Jesus, let that be a picture of us! May our genuine commitment to Christ and His Kingdom be so profound that it causes the world around us to “glorify our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16)!
7. God will take care of us.
“He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD” (Psalm 112:7).
I’m going to employ a silly example. The people of Metropolis had grown very accustomed to Superman saving the day! They were constantly exposed to him rescuing damsels from crumbling skyscrapers, stopping cars that were careening out of control, and easily warding off unwelcome alien visitors. Day in, day out, the people of Metropolis grew familiar with what Superman could do and what he was like. If you were to stop a citizen on the street, then, and tell him, “A meteor is going to hit Metropolis!” he would likely respond, “Oh, that’s no problem for Superman. He’ll take care of it.”
Now, God is not Superman. Forgive me for making up a laughable story to illustrate a bigger point. But when we fill our “viewfinders” with the testimonies of God’s mighty power, the countless times He has healed people, and the miracles He has enthusiastically performed, it becomes easier and easier to trust Him. Really. It does. When we receive bad news, it becomes a knee-jerk reaction to respond, “Oh, that’s no problem for God. He’ll take care of it,” just like that Metropolis citizen.
It would be terribly easy to fall apart at the seams when we receive bad news if we don’t truthfully trust in the Lord. In fact, a crisis actually proves to us where our trust level is at. To say, “I trust God, but…” or “Nothing is impossible for God, but…” is a dangerous thing. But when we fill our minds with the promises of Scripture and the testimonies of others, when we often rehearse what God has done in our lives, then bad news doesn’t shake us. The righteous man says, “Yes, a report of cancer may be bad news—but God is going to take care of it.” The righteous woman says, “Yes, getting laid off unexpectedly may be bad news—but God is going to take care of it.” The one who trusts in the Lord doesn’t downplay the reality of bad news, but he can honestly acknowledge that God is infinitely bigger, and perpetually good. And that person might even recall verse 4: “Even in darkness, light dawns for the upright!”
8. Victory is inevitable.
“His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes” (Psalm 112:8).
The Word of God probably couldn’t be filled any tighter with God’s promises regarding the inevitable triumph that lies in wait for His children! Psalm 27:2 exclaims, “When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.” Regarding our everlasting victory against Satan and sin, Paul shouts in 1 Corinthians 15:57, “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” King David wrote, “Now this I know: the Lord gives victory to His anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of His right hand” (Psalm 20:6, emphasis mine). Psalm 108:13 declares, “With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies.” In the context of spiritual salvation, Isaiah saw this vision: “Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with His garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of His strength? ‘It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save,’ [says the Lord]” (Isaiah 63:1).
One of my favorite stories in the Bible on victory is Israel’s soon-to-be-beloved David against the demonic, spiritually uncircumcised, blasphemous Goliath. Everyone else cowered in terror when Goliath reared his ginormous, ugly face, but not young David! We face many modern-day Goliaths, the least of which isn’t cancer. I know many who speak in hushed, almost reverent, tones about that disease, speaking of it and behaving around it in a way similar to David’s comrades: “Oh, no, what are we going to do? There’s no cure! We have much reason to fear!” I’m not sure if I’m naive enough or faith-filled enough, but I want to be like David and, full of the Holy Spirit, rush against cancer—and sexual perversion, and racism, and divorce, and fear, and any other giant that dares to pick a fight against the Bride—and declare, “You come against me with lies and sickness and demonic attacks, but I come against you in the Name of the Lord Almighty, the God of Heaven, whom you have defied! This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head! This very day, you will be defeated, and the whole world will know that there is a powerful God at work! All those watching will know that the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into my hands” (See 1 Samuel 17:45-47)!
Now truthfully, for some believers, victory comes in death—which itself is a beautiful picture of the Gospel. Some are miraculously delivered from “giants” only when they reach Heaven’s shore. However, let us be careful to not construct a theology that suggests victory over sickness (for example) comes only in physical death. If that is the case, then Jesus is no longer the Savior and Healer—Death is—and that’s borderline heretical at best. I would rather err on the side of “I will see the goodness of the Lord while I am alive” (Psalm 27:13) than the side that suggests victory probably won’t happen. And regardless of how the victory arrives, may we all say with the psalmist, “My heart is secure, I will have no fear; in the end I will look in triumph on my foes!” Hallelujah!
9. We will leave a powerful legacy.
“[The godly man] has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn (dignity) will be lifted high in honor” (Psalm 112:9).
In the time when the author penned Psalm 112, having a reputable family name was extremely important to Jewish communities. For many Western students of the Bible, this concept may be minimized or altogether lost, but even still to this day in many Eastern cultures, bringing shame to your family’s reputation is one of the worst possible outcomes. So, one of the most supreme blessings for an ancient Jewish family was to have a positive, powerful legacy carried on through many generations.
When we orient our lives around the truths of Scripture and deeply become lovers of the Kingdom, the ramifications of the choices we make will bring glory and honor to the Father long after we’re gone from earth (should the Lord tarry). A practical example might be this: if I know my family history is that of abusing alcohol, I can choose to make that vicious cycle end with me, and in so doing, I am setting up my children and my children’s children for an understanding of alcohol that is healthy.
No act of generosity is wasted. No avoided temptation goes unnoticed by God. No moment of saying “yes” to the Spirit is fruitless. Scripture teaches that this creates for us a profound, honorable legacy that far outlives our hours on this earth—not to mention a remarkable reward in Heaven!
10. It is best to be on the Lord’s side!
“The wicked will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing” (Psalm 112:10).
The closing verse of this psalm is inserted as a counterpart, a stark contrast, to the opening verse. By framing the passage this way, the author is able to emphasize how magnificently blessed the godly man is and how utterly awful the life of the wicked man is. Something we playfully say at Oakland, my church, is that at the end of days, you don’t want to W.A.G.—that is, “weep and gnash.” But it’s true. There is a season in his life when the one far from God may appear to thrive, but his life will undoubtedly end in ruin, desperate confusion, and loss, especially when we understand life in the context of eternity.
Instead, “blessed is the man who fears the Lord”—yes, most blessed! How enriched his life is! How prosperous! How divinely advantageous!
As I wrap up, the prayer with all my heart I have for you is that you would experience profoundly the blessings described in Psalm 112. Oh, that your life would be so marked with the Presence of God that you can’t help but flourish in every aspect of your life! And this is exactly what happens when we are soaked in His nearness (see 2 Samuel 6, with the understanding that the Ark of the Covenant represented God’s Presence, and pay close attention to what happened in verses 11 and 12).
Seek the Kingdom of God, and seek righteousness, and you’ll be flabbergasted at the blessings that God signs over to you. He is a good, good Father, and He loves us so thoroughly. That’s who He is!