1 Praise the LORD! How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands.
Psalm 112:1 (NLT)
I am starting a series again. This time, I shall write on Psalm 112, which happens to be among the most quoted psalm among the Word Of Faith circle. In this article, we shall study in depth the meaning of Verse 1.
It begins with the proclamation of praise to the Lord. Have you wonder why we need to praise the Lord? Does the Lord have problem with his self-esteem that he will feel insecure if he does not hear praises from us that he demands us to praise him? The answer is no. Throughout the Bible, the act of praising God has always been spontaneous and not forced. People praised God because deep in their hearts they knew of his faithfulness in delivering them from any troubles and blessing them with riches in every area in their lives. This is the real praise.
I remember one religious guy in this blog mentioned people who praised God when they were poor and sick, in his attempt to prove that God is the pervert who spread disease and poverty to his people. Let me address this issue. When we were in a bad situation, we praise God despite the bad situation. We do not praise God because of it. What is the difference?
When we praise God despite the bad situation, we believe that our God is greater than the bad situation. We believe he is able and willing to deliver us. This is an act of faith. We believe what God said is true even if the situation around us says the opposite. God will be pleased with our faith and our trials will not last for long.
However, if we praise God because of the bad situation, we are accusing him to be the pervert who caused it. We responded by pretending to be thankful for him to take time to create troubles for us. This is a blasphemy. Praising God because of bad situation is an insult to God. Religious people are experts in this line of heresy.
Therefore, we should praise God in all times, good and bad. When we praise God in good times, we are believing God for the good times to get better. When we praise God in bad times, we are believing God for the bad to turn into good. This is the truth about praising God.
Next, Psalm 112:1 speaks of the joy of those who fear the Lord. My emphasis here is “fear”. This is also one of the most abused words in the Bible. What is the fear of the Lord? Do we fear the Lord the way we fear monsters? If you are afraid of frogs, do you imagine God as a big frog in order to fear him? If God is to pay you a personal visit and say “hi”, will you scream and run away in fright like the characters you watch in the horror movies?
If you are to search the Bible, you will find that none of those people who had contact with God behaved like the characters in horror movies. They feared God but their fear was not the same as the horror movie fear. What exactly is the fear of God?
Let us examine the following verse:
10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’”
Matthew 4:10 (NLT)
The above were Jesus’ words when he was tempted by Satan to worship the latter. Jesus quoted the Scriptures and said, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”. If you check the footnotes in your Bible, it will tell you that Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:13. Let us see what it says.
13 You must fear the LORD your God and serve him. When you take an oath, you must use only his name.
Deuteronomy 6:13 (NLT)
Notice the difference? Deuteronomy 6:13 never said anything about worshipping God. It speaks of fearing the Lord. Somehow, Jesus interpreted fear as worship. Therefore, to fear God is to worship God.
So back to Psalm 112:1, worshipping the Lord brings joy. The subsequent part of the verse says the other source of joy is from the delight in obeying his commands. Please note the word “delight” before the “obeying his commands”. This means we obey God willingly and joyfully. We are not forced, threatened nor blackmailed into following God’s commands.
This is the opposite of the practice of religious churches. Religious preachers seemed to think that they are doing God a favor when they threatened their people into obedience. The truth is God is only pleased when people obey him willingly and delightfully. He will never be impressed with people who were blackmailed into obedience.
We have completed in our study of praise, fear and obedience. The subsequent verses speak of the benefits of praise, fear and obedience, which we shall study in the next installment of this series.