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God’s Word for You

Psalm 112:1-4 The circle of the upright

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, January 1, 2022

Psalm 111 teaches us about the value of God’s word and its study. Psalm 112 illustrates the person who responds to God’s word with a life of faith and godly works.

1 Praise the LORD.
  How blessed is a man who fears the LORD.
  In his commands he delights greatly.
2 His descendants will be mighty in the land.
  The circle of the upright will be blessed.

Verse 1 picks up where Psalm 111 left off: The Holy Scriptures (“his commands”) are what truly delights this man who fears, honors, and loves God.

The word “circle” (dor) is used the way we use it today when we talk about our family circle and the circle of our friends, or our circle at church. Here the circle “of the upright” is the group around this very blessed person who all believe the same thing and in the same way. They are a circle because they share the same doctrine and belief.

3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
  and his righteousness stands forever.

This is a marvelous little verse about riches. The man in question is not poor; “wealth and riches are in his house.” But we’re not told that wealth and riches “are” his house. They are only “in” it. Those things do not last. The truly righteous man uses the wealth God gives him to the glory and service of God. It is the man’s righteousness, which is given through Christ, that lasts forever. God gives us wealth to pass through our hands in his service. We are blessed by it, but we don’t take it with us. One of my teachers used to say, “I’ve never seen a hearse pulling a trailer.” This is also what John was talking about when he wrote in his Epistle: “Everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:16-17).

4 In darkness, light dawns for the upright.
  He is gracious and compassionate and righteous.

The world thinks that a Christian (a real one, not the rascals who pretend) will naturally be poor; “beggars who must starve and be the world’s doormat” (Luther). That’s because the sinful world paints its worldview in its own sinful image. If one man is wealthy, Reason reasons, it must be because he oppressed weaker men, stole what they couldn’t hold onto, and hoards, builds, and invests. But Reason left to herself doesn’t know Christ, and does not realize that the Lord is looking after his faithful ones. What is only darkness to the wicked, a cover for murder, theft, and immorality of every kind, is the blanket of rest to the upright, an image of a godly death which must yield to the resurrection on the Last Day. “Light dawns for the upright,” both today and when we will step from our graves and be carried into Paradise.

“He is gracious and compassionate and righteous”—these words are about the upright man who fears God. An ancient pastor said, “The righteous man has righteous plans. As long as his plans are righteous his reputation stands up in heaven and he finds the Lord ready to help him in everything he does” (Hermas Hv 1,1,8). God is not pleased when his people are persecuted, but he is there to help, to cheer us with the Gospel of forgiveness and the resurrection, and he gives us the things that we need. Do not pray for wealth, but pray as Jesus taught us, for daily bread. Your daily bread is everything you need for body and life. God knows your needs. Trust him.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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