Putting God First Has Its Rewards - Psalms 112:1-10
Our society places a great deal of emphasis on the satisfaction of self. Individuals are encouraged to satisfy their desires and pursue their goals with the premise that such is the only way to achieve happiness and self-esteem. Undoubtedly, the pursuit of happiness and self-esteem are noteworthy endeavors. However, the manner how they are pursued should be scrutinized for their efficacy in contributing to a better society.
In looking at our society we find many who define happiness and self-esteem as the obtainment of wealth and/or notoriety. The methods by which such wealth and/or notoriety have been obtained have not necessarily contributed to the betterment of society as individuals have often been neglected, stolen from, proverbially stepped-on and prostituted via various means. Additionally, the promulgation of wealth and/or notoriety as worthwhile achievements has fostered a fracturing of society along the lines of “haves and have nots.” Thankfully, some have acquired wealth and/or notoriety only to discover that such was not in essence the source for true happiness and self-esteem. However, a small percentage have used their obtainment of wealth and/or notoriety for the benefit of the less fortunate.
The psalmist in this passage notes that an individual who fears (respects, reverences) God will be greatly blessed. I believe that such a blessing speaks to one’s happiness (joy) and to his/her self-esteem. The blessing that is referenced by the psalmist is not achieved simply by one’s self-reliance, but via recognition of Almighty God as the Sustainer of Life and a dependence that allows His grace and divine enablement to function effectively in one’s life.
The blessings that the psalmist pictures for the individual that holds a reverence for God are noteworthy in several aspects. First, his/her descendants will be greatly blessed and the wealth (not necessarily a promise of overabundance) required for the sustenance of the home will be provided. Next, the prevailing justice of God is noted for those that reverence God as they will not be dismayed by any dark calamities or disturbed by evil reports that exist in their society. Lastly, those that reverence God is pictured as being exalted and honored by God Himself, while the wicked will be vexed and ultimately destroyed.
The words of the psalmist readily identified his source for happiness (joy) and self-esteem as the God of All Creation. The reward of placing God “first and foremost” in one’s life inevitably brings about a non-diminishable happiness (a joy that our society cannot offer, nor take away) and a realistic evaluation of one’s self. This happiness (joy) and self-esteem achieved by living in accordance with God’s commandments and instructions effectively make life worth living in a society that is faltering with self-serving interests.