Friday, April 13, 2012

The Beatitudes of the Psalms-Part II

We are continuing to look at how blessed we are according to the Psalms.

Psalm 65:4 How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You to dwell in Your courts.  We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your Holy temple.  Being chosen, called, and kept is not confined to the NT.  Here the Psalmist speaks of the blessed state those have that have been chosen by God to be brought near to Him so as to permanently abide with Him in the new Jerusalem.  The Scripture tells us that the nearness of God is our good, and it is good for us because we are blessed by it.

Psalm 84...the whole of this Psalm deals with the state of blissful spiritual prosperity that we dwell in, and is particularly expressed in verse 2b..."my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God." and, verse 11, "For the Lord is a sun and a shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly." Here the Pslamist exults in his blessedness bestowed upon him by the Lord because of his right relationship with Him; and so should we, and this type of exultation, giving glory to the Lord should inhabit our prayers. 

In this Psalm, the Psalmist goes on to exclaim, "How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion!" and, ends the Psalm with, "O Lord of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You."  The path to heaven starts in the heart, and the Lord has circumcised the heart of every true believer, giving him a heart that knows and accepts and trusts the truth;  this is the start of the path that leads to Zion, and is the first blessing of the Lord.  The heart of a true believer knows this very well and we rejoice exceedingly in this great blessing.

Psalm 80:15 How blessed are those who know the joyful sound!  O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance.  Wasn't this the promised blessing in Numbers 6:25-26 for those who would keep Him as their God?  They know the joyful sound, as seen in Psalm 84:2b, the sound of a joyful heart, their own heart.  We too should know this joyful sound, the sound of praise and exultation for our Lord as we experience the light of His countenance because He is near, and drawing nearer, to us.

Psalm 112:1 Praise the Lord!  How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments.  The reason the person who fears the Lord is greatly blessed is because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, God's wisdom that is found in His commandments.  True wisdom will find great delight from the commandments of God, for from them flow the springs of life, and through them we live a life pleasing to God; and a life pleasing to God is a life of great and blissful prosperity. 

Psalm 119:1-3 How blessed are  those who way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are the those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him will all their heart. They also do no unrighteousness, they walk in His ways.  This great Psalm starts out with a double blessing, but the key to the blessing is seeking the Lord with all Your heart.  The Lord, Himself, is our greatest blessing.  He is our very great reward.  For it is Him that is missing from our lives.  It is was our sin that separated us from Him, and even now continues to cloud our relationship, and foul our fellowship with Him.  We must seek Him through His word, and when we are obedient to His word our ways will be His ways, and our walk (way of living life) will be blameless before Him.  This is a blessed state to be in and a state that exists because of a right relationship with Him.  And, when we seek Him, His promise to us is that He will let us find Him, and in finding Him is life, abundant life (Amos 5:4, Deuteronomy 4:29, I Chronicles 28:9, Jeremiah 29:13-14, Jeremiah 33:3, John 10:10).  This is a very great blessing indeed!

Psalm 128:1-4 How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.  When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you.  Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive plants around your table.  Behold, for this shall a man be blessed who fears the Lord.  Wow, quite a promise!  Quite a blessing!  Notice here, the Lord did not say He would make you rich, but that the fruit of your labors would be sufficient to make you happy, and it will be well, not only for you, but for your family as well.  Godliness is a means of great gain when accompanied with contentment (I Timothy 6:6), and we are to find our contentment in the Lord.  Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (food, clothing, shelter) will be added to you."  Being taken care of by the Lord is a great blessing, and we live in that blessing when we fear Him and seek Him, trusting Him to provide for our needs.  After all, He is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think....and does.

Psalm 144:12-15 says much the same thing as Psalm 128, but ends with, "How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord."  There are many things/gods to worship in this world; and they all are the making of man's own desires, most usually cast in his own likeness.  True blessing, blessing both for now and eternity only comes from the Lord, the one true God.  Our great blessing is that God changed us from self-worshippers to God-worshippers.

Psalm 146 is a great praise Psalm, and verses 5-10 are praises because of the great blessings given by God. "How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.  The Lord sets the prisoners free. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous; the Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, but He thwarts the way of the wicked.  The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations.  Praise the Lord!  Our being blessed is the total of all the blessings of the Lord that are ours.  All the blessings that He gives those with whom He has entered into covenant.  His is our great Helper, our very present help, and our adequacy.  Whom else could we need, whom else could and would do all of this for us?  So are we greatly blessed?  You bet we are!

These are the exclamatory blessings enumerated in the, powerful, awe and reverence inspiring, and wonderful to meditate on.  They let us know how truly good and gracious our God is to us.  But there is more, yes there is more.  Let's look at Ephesians 2:4-7, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  I boldly italicized the so that, so that you would not miss it.  It is the purpose statement for why God saved us.  He loves us, has always loved us, and in the ages upon ages upon ages to come He will lavish His gracious love upon us...blessing upon blessing upon blessing for all eternity.  Incomprehensible, unimaginable...yet true.  As blessed as we are now, and we are greatly blessed now; our current state of blessing cannot compare with our eternal state of blessing when all sin that stands between us and our God has been eradicated, eliminated, and exterminated.  A state of heavenly bliss that cannot be imagined or described or broken will be ours for eternity.

So my friends...what is your response to this great God?  Will you make Him your trust, your greatest desire, your God?  Will you seek Him with all your heart?  Will you revere Him and praise Him, and live to please Him?  Will you bow in submission to His great love, and experience His great blessings, now and for eternity?  Or will you turn from Him to pursue your own desires, making yourself your own god, and experience the wrath of God for all eternity? 

An old children's Sunday School song comes to mind, "Count your blessings, name them one by one.  Count your blessings see what God has done.  Count your them one by one...count your many blessings...see what God has done."  A good word then, a good word now.

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