“Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments!” Israel was a great congregation made up of many individuals. Each one was told to “fear the Lord,” and was promised that great blessings would come from the sincere reverence of honest worship.
What were the characteristics of a man who delighted in God’s Word? He would be “upright” in his personal behavior, but not in a way that was designed to be showy. His eye would not be searching for the approval of men, but for those in need, that he might lend them a helping hand. He would have that delightful combination of holiness and mercy which reflects the heart of the Almighty. Such a man would build his entire life on truth and would trust the Lord with a steady heart in every circumstance.
What were the blessings that would come to the righteous man who conducted himself in these ways? His offspring would be “mighty in the land.” He would possess “wealth and riches.” The light of the Lord would guide him through the darkness and he would “never be moved.” The blessings that would come to him would not be fleeting, for he would be “remembered forever.” Finally, in any contest with the wicked, he would look “in triumph on his adversaries.” The desires of the ungodly would “perish,” but he would be “exalted in honor.”
Yet when the most righteous man among the Jews lived on this earth, He did not seem to prosper. Jesus, who perfectly obeyed the Word of His Father, appeared to have the end of someone who was cursed by God. To understand the life of the Messiah, we need to look beyond the land of Israel and to consider the new resurrection kingdom that He came to establish. He suffered and died outside the city gates of the Jerusalem below, but then He rose from the dead as the King over a new realm of glory.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to imitate Him in His holy generosity. We know that all the rewards for following the Word of God may not come to us immediately. Yet even now we can have the peace that comes from believing that the Lord will keep His promises. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
O Lord Our God, we praise You. Make our young ones mighty in Your service. Bring Your light into our homes and show forth Your glory in Your church. Give us courage in the spiritual battle that we have before us. Grant us hope and security in Your everlasting love.