Summary: Obviously, obedience and respect for God is an essential element to obtaining God's blessing.
How to Be Blessed
We’re continuing to explore the theme – “How to be Blessed.” Once again, I want to remind you that we are not using the definition to express the ability to get rich or to simply access positive things in our lives. Instead our threefold definition is simply:
1) To be especially happy and content
2) To have inner peace within
3) To be confident and fulfilled
This is the definition of blessed that we will use as we explore this particular theme of obtaining God’s blessing.
Today’s texts will begin with Psalm 111:10. “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”
That particular verse concludes the 111th Psalm and the first verse of Psalm 112 ties together with it to make the main text we will consider today. Psalm 112: 1 says “Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.”
So the theme this morning is finding God’s blessing by Fearing the Lord. Now, this word fear is interesting because Paul told Timothy that God does not give us the Spirit of Fear (We will look at that verse more later for comparison purposes) and John wrote that perfect love casts out fear. Why then, are we being told in the Psalms that we are to fear God?
This word “fear” means to have a healthy respect for and to recognize the danger of crossing. It doesn’t mean to shake in our boots of God, but it does mean we have a knowledge of God’s holiness and don’t want to do things that would bring dishonor to Him. Or course, some of this will involve a certain amount of healthy fear that will judge us for our transgressions. Since God is a perfect example of fatherhood, we don’t have to live in fear that He will lash out and unjustly discipline us, but it involves the knowledge that He, in His righteousness, and in His love. To fear God is to know that He will discipline us and to love Him for that expression of His divine holiness.
In some ways I think we need to “fear” God like we do electricity. We recognize its potential to harm us, but also the need for it to be used properly in our lives. Of course, in Southern California, the major part of electricity that we learn to fear is the bills, especially in the summer months when we are running our fans or air conditioners. We don’t need to tremble in fear, but we need to know that touching a downed power wire is a hurtful thing to do.
The Psalmist writes that the “fear” of the Lord is where wisdom begins. Wisdom is needed for every area of our lives. It is needed to know how to deal with our children, our employer, our neighbors, our finances, or generally life’s problems. When God appeared to Solomon, Solomon had a chance to ask for whatever he wanted. He could have asked for riches and power. Instead, he confessed his need was for wisdom and his desire for God to show him how to govern the people. He saw that the job was bigger than he was and recognize he needed God’s direction.
A really cool thing about wisdom is that it is the ONE THING in the Bible that God promises to give liberally to anyone who asks without an expression of displeasure. (See James 1) It is the one thing God wants to pour out on His people. If want ask him, He will give us real wisdom.
This is a good place to talk about the opposite of wisdom- foolishness. Psalm 14:1 provides the Biblical definition of a fool, which is different that what we remember Mr. T calling Murdock on the old A-Team television program. In fact, Jesus tells us not to call our brother a fool, which seems to make Mr. T. a terrible person for all those times he said, “Shut up, Fool!” The Biblical concept of a fool is the one who has rejected the existence, the authority, and the commands of God. Psalm 14:1 says it clearly, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God!” Therefore, the fool is the one who has rejected God.
You see, our experience with the word fool comes from the medieval concept of the court jester, or the fool who simply mocked anybody and everybody with his imitation and silliness. He would do the opposite of what people expected. Even some Native American tribes had a concept of a “contrary” or a person who acted contrary to the mainstream. These contrary men were considered to be sort of holy as they dressed backward, walked backwards, and sometimes even spoke backwards. To us, this just sounds completely silly and absurd. Of course, rejecting God is of course the highest pinnacle, the summit of silliness, isn’t it?