18 July. Psalms 108-114
Three of these are classed as Psalms of David (108-110), and show a wide range of attitude, from confident praise and joy to anger, fear and despondency. Even allowing that they were written at different times in an eventful life, they seem to have been written by someone with wide mood swings (possibly what we would now call bipolar?)
The other four in this set (111-114) turn back to exploring God, his character and his dealings with people. I will focus on Ps.112. It deals with “those who fear the Lord, [and] delight in his commandments”. ‘Fear’ of God in the Bible does not mean trembling and anxiety, like fear of an earthly enemy or bully, but rather a healthy respect for God’s power over all aspects of our lives, including life and death, and an awareness of the consequences of rebelling against him.
So what is promised to those who fear God? There is a promise of material prosperity in verse 3, but the more important reward is righteousness before God and “being remembered for ever”, in contrast to the “wicked” who “gnash their teeth and melt away; their desire comes to nothing.” This “Being remembered for ever” is possibly by their descendants, but maybe this refers more to God himself “remembering”, i.e. acknowledging them in eternal life.
It is not only such people themselves who obtain blessings; their “descendants” and their “generation” will also be blessed. How? Because those who fear the Lord are “gracious, merciful, and righteous” (attributes of God himself), they are generous and honest. But they are also characterised by stability: consistent in their faith, not afraid of evil, nor of anyone.
So the lesson seems to be that fearing God and being generous to others seems to be a win-win strategy: you will be blessed, and so will they and your descendants.