Sentences from the Psalter: Blessed is the Man that Feareth the Lord

Psalm 1 outlines the way of the man of God, Psalm 112 his works, and Psalm 128 his wealth. Each delightful Psalm commences with “Blessed is” or “Happy is,” reminding us that godliness fosters a unique, heaven-sent joy foreign to the world. The twenty-two alphabetically sequenced sentences of Psalm 112 are in an arrangement of ten verses, each of which highlights one particular characteristic of the man of God: “the man that feareth the Lord.” As we traverse the Psalm let us ask ourselves. “Are we marked by these defining features?”

His Spirituality (v 1)

What delights and pleases the man or woman marked by the fear of God? The litmus test of spirituality is this: all genuinely spiritual saints “delight greatly in His commandments.” The inner pulse of their life beats in love and obedience to the principles of the Word of God.

His Godly Posterity (v 2)

A Christian daughter knelt at the bedside of her dying father. Stroking his tired and furrowed brow she whispered, “Father, there can be no greater blessing in life than having godly parents.” The old saint replied, “Except it be to have godly children.” Truly the God-fearing man feels a deep burden that his children and grandchildren are raised in the proper nurture and admonition of the Lord.

His Prosperity (v 3)

The man who fears the Lord is a wealthy man. His knowledge and understanding of the Word of God make him “like unto a … householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matt 13:52). Are you known as a spiritually wealthy believer? William Kelly wrote that silent gaps in the breaking of bread ought to be the exception, not the rule. Does the Lord’s Supper expose our wealth or our poverty?

His Charity (v 4)

The previous Psalm (111) states that the Lord is “gracious and full of compassion.” Here, the Psalmist says exactly the same of the man who fears the Lord. He takes character from his God! May the Lord help us to be “imitators of God” in love for one another and for sinners (Eph 5:1)!

His Sagacity (v 5)

The man who fears the Lord is marked by practical wisdom, discretion, and judiciousness. The context is financial, but how we need these qualities in every sphere! It was C. H. Spurgeon who, with his characteristic “eloquent bluntness,” said: “Alas, some professedly good men act as if they had taken leave of their senses; this is not religion, but stupidity. True religion is sanctified common sense. Attention to the things of heaven does not necessitate the neglect of the affairs of earth; on the contrary, he who has learned how to transact business with God ought to be best able to do business with men. The children of this world often are in this generation wiser than the children of light, but there is no reason why this proverb should continue to be true.” A godly man inspires confidence in his wife and family. He is not marked by the constant changing of appearances, jobs, houses, and even assemblies! No – he “guides his affairs with discretion.”

His Security (v 6)

The man who fears the Lord is promised a permanent and infallible record on high. Though men may revile and misunderstand him, his God will ensure that neither the man nor his memory will ever be forgotten. What an encouragement to godliness and walking in the fear of God!

His Stability (v 7)

Who among us can claim to be “not afraid of bad news”? We all fear the doctor’s negative prognosis, the employer’s letter of severance, and the news of a divorce or death in the family. Yet the man or woman who has patiently and consistently walked in the fear of God will be prepared to meet the inevitable storms of life. Annie Johnson Flint wrote:

I will not doubt, though all my prayers return unanswered from the still, white realm above;
I will believe it is an all-wise love which has refused the things for which I yearn;
And though at times I cannot keep from grieving,
Yet the pure ardor of my fixed believing, undimmed shall burn.

I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain, and troubles swarm like bees above a hive,
I will believe the heights for which I strive are only reached by anguish and by pain;
And though I groan and writhe beneath my crosses,
I yet shall see through my severest losses, the greater gain.

I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea come drifting home with broken masts and sails;
I will believe the hand which never fails, from seeming evil worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are tattered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered; I trust in Thee!

His Bravery (v 8)

The paradox of verse seven appears again in verse eight. The man who fears the Lord will not be afraid. How so? The fear of the Lord fortifies and empowers the saint to fear nothing else. He may face his ungodly sneering colleagues at work in the same spirit with which Moses faced the Red sea, by which Asa faced the Ethiopians, Jehosophat the Ammonites, David the giant Goliath, Daniel the lions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego the fiery furnace, and Stephen the Sanhedrin. He shall not be afraid!

His Generosity (v 9)

The man who fears the Lord is no scrooge. He gives and gives again – just like his Lord. What a lovely epitaph for the gravestone of the godly saint; “He hath dispersed!”

His Testimony (v 10)

The wicked watch this curious fellow – this man who fears the Lord – and he, the epitome of true Christianity, thoroughly exasperates them by his triumphant life of godliness and righteousness. May it ever be so with us, men and women who fear the Lord!