You’ve probably seen #BLESSED somewhere on social media. Or maybe you’ve seen it tastefully adorning the bumper of an expensive car, or emblazoned on someone’s T-shirt, or scribbled in the sand! Of course, just displaying a hashtag doesn’t make it true, but I imagine we’d all like to experience more of a “blessed life.” So, what does it mean to be blessed…how does it happen…and how can it happen to me? Psalm 112 begins to provide an answer to those questions. Let’s read the whole psalm this week and let the song speak for itself.
Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands. 2 Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. 4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. 5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. 6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. 7 They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. 9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor. 10 The wicked will see and be vexed, they will gnash their teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
This song begins with a command, Hallu-Yah in Hebrew (sound familiar?), which means “Praise the Lord!” The psalmist is quick to remind us that praising God is at the very heart of #BLESSED.
To be blessed (Hebrew esher, meaning happy or fortunate), begins by giving praise to God, “from whom all blessings flow,” and it ends with giving thanks to God, “in every circumstance” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Our “hallelujahs” are both responsive and prescriptive praise. They are not only an appropriate thanksgiving for the blessings we have received; they are also an essential prerequisite for receiving those blessings in the first place.
So, who is #BLESSED, according to Psalm 112? Those who fear the Lord and delight in his commands (vs. 1); those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous (vs. 4); those who are generous, honest and just in their public and private affairs (vs. 5).
And how are they #BLESSED? Their children will flourish (vs. 2); they will be provided for abundantly (vs. 3); good will come to them (vs. 5); they will never be shaken (vs. 6); they will be remembered forever (vs. 6); they will feel secure and not afraid (vs. 7-8); they will be a blessing to the poor and honored by everyone (vs. 9).
In short, Psalm 112 tells us that the way to be #BLESSED begins by praising God—not only with our lips but also with our lives. #BLESSED means that good things will come from that life of praise—not only blessings for us, but also for everyone around us. #BLESSED will be true for us in the hard times as well as the good times. #BLESSED will bring “great delight” to those who are righteous and reveal the empty “longings” of those who are wicked.
#BLESSED sounds like a pretty good deal! But is it really possible for us to be good enough, gracious enough and generous enough for God to bless us? Unfortunately, no! We could never be good enough to deserve God’s love and blessing, but here’s the good news. God’s blessing doesn’t depend on us; it depends on Him. Yes it’s true, if we live the way God calls us to live we will certainly experience more of the blessing, but God is the one who makes #BLESSED a possibility and a reality.
Our word “bless” comes from an Old English word that meant “to consecrate with blood.” It’s possible for us to live a life of #BLESSED because the blood of Jesus Christ makes it possible. By Jesus sacrifice on the cross, we can receive atonement for sin (Romans 3:25), communion with God (Ephesians 2:13), reconciliation & peace (Colossians 1:20), and access to God’s presence (Hebrews 10:19). Because of God’s love and self-sacrifice, #BLESSED means even more than receiving a few perks in this life. It means we can participate in God’s good blessing forever.
#BLESSED – that’s what Jesus meant when he said, “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14) If you want to experience that blessing, that eternal life now…begin by raising up a Hallelujah of praise to God, continue by living a life of praise to God, and allow God’s blessing to well up in you and flow out from you. He is the blessing…He is the Living Water…stay thirsty, my friends!