What does today's psalm illuminate about the path of faith? It seems like prosperity gospel, or transactional at least - do this, and you'll have a great life. It seems too simple.
First, some context:
- This is a wisdom psalm, somewhat equivalent to Proverbs or Ecclesiastes. It contains ideas for wise living, not a guarantee of results.
- It says: Generally, good behavior will lead to generally good results.
- This is an acrostic psalm, each line begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet
- emphasizes completeness of God and completeness of this psalm's application to our lives
- Also aids in memorization to help people internalize the psalm.
- This psalm is paired with Psalm 111, which is also acrostic.
- Psalm 111 focuses on the nature of God
- Psalm 112 focuses on the nature of God's followers
This psalm says there is a relationship between acting justly and flourishing, but it is not prosperity gospel.
- v 4-5 - The blessings that we recieve, we pass on to others. We shine like a light in the darkness.
- v 6-8 - Even when bad things happen, we approach life with an attitude of peace and confidence.
So how do we put this together?
- Another Lectionary reading today is Matthew 5 - the Beatitudes. This psalm feels like an extension of the beatitudes.
- Can we really do what Psalm 112 asks? We need Jesus. Consider again, Psalm 111 comes first. We who seek to follow God are empowered to act like Him. We are capable of justice because God is just, merciful, etc. We mirror God's actions and are shaped by Him.
- We don't do these things to be blessed. We do it as a result of blessings.
- Are we so "heavenly mindind" that we do no earthly good?
- Would others consider us generous? kind? just? compassionate?
- Psalm 112 is not a transactional formula. It's an opportunity. Because we love God, let's change the world.