Virtue is its own reward, we’ve heard many times. As a writer, I’ve been told that the work is its own reward. That is true, but a little money wouldn’t hurt! 🙂
Last week, in Psalm 111, we heard about the nature of wisdom. This week, in Psalm 112, we hear about the rewards of being wise. Psalm 111 and 112 are acrostic hymns that complement each other. One focuses on God, the other on the God-fearing person. We learned from Psalm 111 that fear of the Lord was beginning of wisdom; in 112 we learn about the fruits of wisdom.
According to Psalm 112, a wise person is truly blessed.
- He will have many descendants – “His descendants will be mighty in the land, the generation of the upright will be blessed.” (2)
- He will be rich – “Wealth and riches are in his house.” (3a)
- He will endure and be steadfast – “And his righteousness endures for ever.” (3b, 9b) “For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered for ever.” (6)
- And he won’t fear evil – “He is not afraid of evil tidings, his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady, he will not be afraid, until he sees his desire on his adversaries.” (7-8)
As he has been blessed, he shares with others, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor.” (9a)
This psalm promises rewards in this life for the righteous and punishment for the wicked.
“The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked comes to naught.” (10) But how is this true? There is a thread in the Old Testament that contends that the righteous will be rewarded with good fortune and riches. Hence, when Job suffered so many losses, his friends assumed he had done something wrong to warrant those losses.
We all know of good and righteous people who have not received success in this world. We need only look at Jesus, the most virtuous man to walk this earth, to see this. For all of his wisdom and good works, Jesus was punished with floggings and an ignominious death.
If this psalm were true, we would see the reversal of fortunes of many in our world, with the rich and haughty being brought down and the poor and lowly being raised up, as the prophets have promised.
So what are the riches the wise receive? Are they material riches? Or perhaps it is an attitude about riches? The wise see through the fallacies of this world and recognize that the riches of this world are insignificant in light of the riches of the next.
For some, no matter how much money they have, it’s not enough. Not so for the wise. They are rich even if poor in the eyes of the world. These are riches that can never be taken away from them. They don’t fear evil of this world that threatens to take away their money. They are able to remain steadfast because they know their riches come from their belief in God and God’s righteousness which cannot be taken from them.
Wisdom truly is its own reward, as is virtue. If we obtain wisdom, then we will have riches beyond our imaginings.
Are you wise? What are some of the ways that you are rich?
As we are inundated with the commercial messages of this season that prompt us to buy, buy, buy, let’s be wise and focus on the true riches that come from the reason for the season.