1 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.
I read a psalm like this one and can’t help but think of the exceptions. What about the righteous who are killed in war, what about the unknown children of the poor, ravaged by famine? The idea that righteousness will always lead to prosperity seems to make sense but not always work out practically. However, as I seek God about this psalm I believe two things are in view.
- The end game. God’s Kingdom will ensure that righteousness is rewarded, that in all things the good and the lovely will be exalted and evil will be vanquished.
- Even as we wait for the universal reign of Christ, we have Christ reigning in our own lives. He brings abundance, joy and hope internally and that certainly spills over into the externals as well.
So yes, there are times the righteous are trampled, surely the psalmist would acknowledge this as there are many psalms that cry out because God’s justice seems to be far off. Jesus himself, the Righteous One, cried out ‘Father, why have you forsaken me?!’
But just as Jesus was raised from the dead and will now reign forever as king, so righteousness will be exalted, and God will not fail to punish the wicked.
Lord, no matter what I see, I declare that the good will be exalted. Thank you that in Christ we have a goodness that comes from you.
Written by Andrew Mellor