God’s Pilot Light

[Blessed is the man who fears the Lord]…His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. Psalm 112:8

There is an entire multi-billion dollar industry built around Security. Whether it's security for your home, your car, finances, or even as simple as your computer, we all want to feel secure. But as we're beginning to see, the security we once knew in America is unraveling, especially in the financial markets. Everyone is looking for a secure place to park their hard earned dollars. Even the experts say there is no place to hide that’s full proof.

But when we trust in God, our security is different. It is safe and solid with nothing to fear. Well, in an ideal world, that is. We let fears and worries creep into our thinking, sometimes to the point that it immobilizes us. Deep inside, though, like a pilot light in a gas stove, we have God’s security to lean on during those insecure times. It's always there; it's always on; it's dependable. We need only to call out for that security.

Fearing and Trusting

He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7

You don't have to go very far these days to hear or read about the bad news. From the economy to increasing violence in the cities and schools to an overall moral decline in society, there's plenty of bad news to go around. And often, it's tough not to let it all get you down.

But the one who trusts in the Lord has something else going in his favor: a bedrock belief that come fire or flood, God is in command. Period. He doesn't deny that there are very bad things happening in the world around him, but he chooses to trust in God instead.

So, whenever you pick up the doom and gloom newspapers or turn on the nightly news, pray that God will give you clarity to see that ultimately the Lord is who we should be fearing and trusting.

Remembered Forever

Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. Psalm 112:6

O that there were an army of equipped and passionate Believers marching across the land in defense of Godly causes and the Gospel. How would our world be different if we had unshakable faith and an unquenchable thirst for righteousness? What would that look like in our day and age?

And yet, there are many, even those reading this, whose faith is solid and strong, who cares not what the world says or thinks, but does he or she knows to be right. You don't get a lot of credit or "glory" now, but you will. Later. I suspect that there are even those who have done a world of good and just want to give up or give in because you think your righteousness is in vain and no one is noticing. Corruption and envy and greed and selfishness and blatant Godless living abound around you and life just isn't fair. Even Believers around you are falling. You want to give up fighting and just "go along to get along."

Take heart, my friend, take heart! Your righteousness will be rewarded. Your labors and toils and sufferings are not in vain. You have been called to do what you're doing and you mustn't give up.

Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.

Generosity and Justice

Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Psalm 112:5

How would our lives change if we sought to practice generosity and justice in everything we did? I believe the results would be astounding.

Being generous is fairly easy to accomplish, and it goes beyond “not being stingy.” Generosity is ungrudgingly giving something that you have to others so that they are more comfortable. It can be deal with money, food, service, time, and material goods. Of course you can even expand it to being generous with your knowledge and wisdom. As I said, generosity is easy.

Justice is a little trickier. It’s tricky because it’s not as obvious as generosity. The opposite of justice is injustice or unfairness, and we can usually spot that (people being abused, mistreated, or cheated come to mind). In today’s verse, conducting your affairs with justice seems straightforward. Honesty. Integrity. Doing what’s right.

Former Senator Alan Simpson from Illinois said this, “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.”

That’s a fair assessment of justice in business dealings, don’t you think?

Take a Peale Pill!

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. Psalm 112:4

When I was in high school I played the character of General Bullmoose in the play “Lil' Abner.” I told my secretary, “I'm not taking my Peale pills. They make me think…too positive.” The reference is to Norman Vincent Peale, the famed optimist. The optimist referred to in this verse is not merely optimistic for the sake of being up, but he's displaying the quality of his moral character.

I'll admit it, life can get you down, especially in the times we’re in now. But too much of the negative news will just wear you down completely. I think we need to guard against that. I don't say that we need to be a Pollyanna or swallow giant-sized Peale pills, but it's important to keep a healthy perspective.

Such as?

God is in control; we're not. God is not caught off guard by events. And God will give us the grace to handle anything life throws our way.

So, anyone for a bite-sized Peale pill?

Burdensome or Blessing?

Wealth and riches are in his house; and his righteousness endures forever. Psalm 112:3

This is a verse that refers back to the previous two verses. Because a man fears the Lord, he has great wealth and riches, and it may very well be that his children are the source of those “riches.” Let me put it another way. Have you ever known a person with many children to be unhappy about it? I’ve personally known two families with 10 and 12 children each, and the parents couldn’t be more pleased with their decision to have that many children. Sure, the kids run them ragged but they are having the time of their lives raising them. They truly are wealthy families, though, as I recall, they didn’t have a lot materially.

So legacies are lived out through the children, and through their children’s children, and so on. The children may not turn out exactly like the parent had wanted, and may very often disappoint, but the legacy will still live on.

On the other hand, many parents consider their kids to be a burden, sadly. They don’t view them as the “riches” that they are, only that they are a drain on time and finances. I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter, but it’s not hard to spot someone who is not enjoying life with his children. I’m afraid that twenty years from now those same people will regret that they didn’t appreciate their kids more.

So, are children burdensome or a blessing? It’s probably an important question to ask as the kids grow up.

Mighty in the Land

His [man who fears the Lord] children will be mighty in the land; each generation of the upright will be blessed. Psalm 112:2

This is a continuation of the previous verse. Each verse following will note that when a man fears the Lord, this will happen.

Many years ago, there was a commercial on television that ended with a father walking through the forest with his young son. The two sit down and rest against a tree. The father takes out a cigarette, lights it, and puts the pack on the ground. The young boy picks up the cigarette pack and looks intently into the pack. “Like Father, Like son, Think about it” were the only words the announcer said. It is has been said that religion is caught not taught. I think it’s true. The kids see the parents as they truly are, and not as the public sees them.

Do your kids see and hear you being nice to your spouse? Do they hear you bad mouthing your spouse or the pastor or co-workers? What do they see when you’re angry at another driver? Do you find fault with everything the children do and very little praise, or worse, no praise at all?

To be sure, the little ears and eyes are watching. They have the potential to be “mighty in the land,” but they might also be bitter by what they’ve seen and heard in their homes. Many reading this are doing the right things and should be encouraged to keep doing those things. It’s tough raising children. Kids aren’t expecting their parents to be perfect by any means, but they do understand love and affection and godliness and respect. They’ll take those qualities sprinkled with a few faults any day of the week.

Presence of Greatness

Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. Psalm 112:1

Have you ever been in the presence of someone truly great? The greatness I’m talking about is not someone who’s powerful or influential or famous or rich. I’m talking about someone who you admire so much that you hang on his/her every word. You write down what he/she says. Sometimes you understand everything she/he says and there are times what he/she says is a complete mystery to you. You inquire more about the person. You ask others what they know about this person. You have a reverent fear of that person. It’s not that he’ll strike you if you say something wrong, but that’s the point, you don’t want to say anything wrong. You want to impress and learn from that person. These type of people don’t want the glory or the fame for something she’s done.

That’s the kind of fear this verse is referring to. You hang on his every word (find great delight in his commands). You fear Him. You have a reverent spirit about you because you want to please Him; you want to learn from Him. And yet, you may not quite understand everything He does or says, but you want to try.

We have a golden opportunity to sit in the Presence of Greatness daily.

Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.

Perspective

The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Psalm 113:4

I love putting things into perspective especially after I’ve had a frantic day at work. We all have those days; some obviously more often than others. Then I get home and read about the news in the world; it’s enough to make me want to close myself from the world and hope they cancel tomorrow (or next month) completely.

Perspective.

You see, God is in control. I say it often enough in this space, probably more to remind me than to remind you. When you get a chance, go outside on any cloudless night and look up. That’s when we begin to see the absurdity of someone saying that God really doesn’t exist or if he does, he’s not really in control. Galaxies upon galaxies, and they’re finding new universes daily. And there’s no God?

Right, absurd.

More to the point, God is in control of your world too, as ludicrous as it might sound at the moment when the kids are screaming like crazed lunatics and the dog decides to chase the mailman while you’re on a conference call with an important client.

This too will pass and God will still be in control.