You know those people who believe God will speak to them if they open the Bible to a random page and read a random verse?
I’ve never been one of those people. At least, most of the time.
I remember reading an example of this fallacy in Kevin DeYoung’s book, Just Do Something. A young man opens his Bible, seeking God’s Will for his life, and reads Matthew 27:5: “And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he [Judas] departed, and he went and hanged himself.” Point taken. Hopefully no Christian believes that if they read this verse at random, God’s Will is for them to hang themselves.
That said, on Monday morning, as I was desperately seeking God’s guidance, God spoke to me this way.
I am not a very spiritual person. I admit that. My attitude towards life has been to do the best I can with what God has given me to work with. I’ve always relied on Him to take care of the rest.
I can’t recall a time I’ve ever heard a “word” from God. There have been times when I’ve felt the Holy Spirit pulling at my heart to do—or not to do—something. There have been times that, after sincere prayer, I’ve set out to do something challenging with all my might, and God blessed the result. To Him be the glory.
But I believe Monday morning, when I opened my Bible to a “random” page, I read exactly what God wanted me to read. Or as some might phrase it, I heard a “word”.
Most Christians are familiar with Proverbs 31, or have heard of a “Proverbs 31 woman”. The passage describes a woman who is the ideal wife and mother—loving, caring, excellent in all she does. It praises women who exhibit these traits, and rightly so.
This morning, I believe God led me to an equivalent passage for men: Psalm 112. Unlike other Biblical passages, where “man” is interchangeable with “woman” or the generic “person”, I believe God intended this passage specifically for men. I’ve read it at least five times today alone, and I’m still convinced of that.
Read it for yourself and see if you agree:
1 Praise the LORD!
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commandments!
2 His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
7 He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor.
10 The wicked man sees it and is angry;
he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
the desire of the wicked will perish!
(Psalm 112, ESV)
Here are the things that stood out to me:
- In verse 2, God promises that the offspring of the God-fearing man will be mighty in the land and be blessed. This echoes God’s covenant with Abraham and His promise to bless Abraham’s descendants. I believe there is a special way that God blesses a family through the father’s righteousness and faithfulness.
- The man is the breadwinner of the family, and ordained by God for toil (Genesis 1:28, 2:15, 3:17-19). The statement in verse 3 that “wealth and riches are in his house” means that God has blessed the man’s labors and allowed him to enjoy the fruit of his work.
- In verse 4, “light dawns in the darkness for the upright”. Having struggled with fear, anxiety, and bouts of semi-depression, I take this to mean that God will deliver Godly men from the dark times of our lives.
- In verse 5, God blesses “the man who deals generously and lends”. Again, with men historically as the breadwinners, I believe this is a reflection of a man’s character as provider and defender. It reminds me of Boaz, who allowed Ruth to glean the wheat from the edges of his field (Ruth 2).
- In verse 7, the righteous man “is not afraid of bad news”. He is grounded in the LORD, so he doesn’t have to worry when things don’t go his way. And I love the passage that “his heart is firm”. He’s not just logically trusting in God (something I struggle with), but trusting in God with his innermost being.
- “His heart is steady” in verse 8, a reiteration of verse 7. “He will not be afraid”. This, according to Dr. Charles Stanley, is the most-repeated command in the Bible. That’s because God’s trying to make a point: “Trust in me and you don’t need to fear.” Also, the man will persevere “until he looks in triumph on his adversaries”. For most of us in the 21st century, that’s probably not a wartime enemy. But it could be a person or institution that the man of God is taking a stand against. Regardless of the circumstances, the God-fearing man does not give up the fight against evil and injustice.
- In verse 9, the God-fearing man distributes freely and gives to the poor. As a result, “his righteousness endures forever” and “his horn is exalted in honor”. In ancient Hebrew, the word “horn” is symbolic of one’s strength. Here it implies that the man who gives will be more prosperous because of his giving. This is consistent with God’s principle of multiplication when His people give. (Recall the young man in John 6:1-15 who gave Jesus five loaves of bread and two fish, which Jesus used to feed five-thousand people.) My ESV Study Bible notes that this is the verse that Paul quotes in 2 Corinthians 9:9, encouraging the Corinthian church to give to support poor Jewish Christians. And on a more secular level, this ties in to the idea of adopting a “growth mindset” or an “abundance mindset”.
- The final verse in this passage provides a stark contrast between the righteous man and the wicked man. While the righteous man “will be remembered forever” (verse 6), the wicked man “gnashes his teeth and melts away” (verse 10). That doesn’t mean that the wicked man won’t prosper for a time (as is evident in other Psalms and throughout the Bible). But it does mean that he will suffer in the long run for despising God’s commandments. He will pay the ultimate price by being separated from God for eternity.
In reading this Psalm daily, I am working on internalizing the traits of the God-fearing man described here. When faced with tough situations or attacked with thoughts of doubt, I now meditate on this passage. “I am not afraid of bad news. My heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. My heart is steady; I will not be afraid.” Quoting this passage and praying its words pulls me out of the negative thoughts and emotions that I believe Satan places in me to make me doubt my calling as a Son of the Most High God.
Let us not grow weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9). Christian men especially, let us be strong and courageous, standing firm on God’s Word of Truth. Let us become Psalm 112 men. God has called us to be no less, and with His Holy Spirit living within us, we will become everything He wants us to be.