Preparing the Way – Week 4: Psalm 112
In 2 Cor. 5:21, we find one of the most exciting and uplifting statements in all of Scripture, commonly referred to as “The Great Exchange.” The Bible tells us that our wretched sinfulness was exchanged for Christ’s perfect and glorious righteousness. Thus, when Satan comes before the throne of God to accuse us before our Father, God looks at us and tells the Devil, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. All I see is perfection.” While this is a wonderful and comforting truth, it does carry with it responsibility. Psalm 112 gives us a bit of insight into what that responsibility entails.
In Psalm 112, we find the description of the righteous man. Of course, it is impossible for us to be righteous apart from Christ’s finish work on the cross. Nevertheless, for those who are in Christ, Psalm 112 provides us with some of the characteristics we should display in response to the work God has done in our lives:
- We should be gracious, merciful and righteous (vs. 4). These words used together most often are used to describe the character of God. The idea conveyed is of someone who displays free, unmerited love. When we fully grasp the love we have in God, it frees us to be generous and lavish in our love of others. In this world of quid pro quo love (I love you because of what you can give me), we are called to be different. We are called to display a generous, unconditional love.
- We should be generous (vss. 5, 9). Not only should we be unconditionally loving, we should be generous in every aspect of our lives. Most of us find it easy to be generous with something, and what that something is varies from person to person. For some it is money; for others it is time; and for still others it is talents. But if we are completely honest with ourselves, there’s usually at least one area where we draw the line, where we say, “God you can have this, but that belongs to me.” As we grow in our understanding and love of God, that growth should be displayed in our generosity. There should be nothing we have that is off-limits to God. It should all be on the altar of His kingdom.
- We should be steadfast (vss. 6-8). When we use words like “steadfast” or “unafraid” it is easy to get the wrong impression. It is easy to imagine someone like Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride, who seemed unmovable. But that is not the connotation with this Hebrew word. It actually has its root in the word “to prop” or “to lean upon.” In other words, steadfastness has nothing to do with our strength. It is instead dependent upon our willingness to lean into God and rest in His strength. And therein is the key to us being able to consistently love and give with everything we are and have. When we try to display those things in our own strength, we will eventually collapse under the weight of responsibility. But when we lean into God for the strength to love and to give, then we find rest and steadfastness in His unlimited strength.
We want to be a church known for our love and generosity. Let us strive together to love as Christ loves and to be generous with others as Christ has been so generous to us.
- What are the areas of your life where you find it easy to be generous? What are some of the areas where you find generosity more difficult?
- What does loving others unconditionally look like? How would displaying such love impact your relationships? How would it impact how you relate to those with whom you struggle?
- What are some of the ways we as a church can display unconditional love and generosity?
- Have you ever tried to serve or give in your own strength? How did that impact your service? Are you serving, loving, or giving in your own strength now? How can you correct that attitude?