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.
How do you know if you’re one of the ‘righteous’? It’s a real challenge for many of us who are people of faith. The confidence, the trust, the relative certainty needed to know that you are in the right place, facing in the right direction, living in the right direction, being the kind of follower of God that will enable you to know and trust that all is ok, that you are ok, that people around you are ok. It causes a lot of people real angst when they aren’t sure. Is there anything we can do to help them?
I think so. When talking about people who speak of God and the way we should live, Jesus said ‘you will recognise them by their fruit’, that is, does your life and the way you live, what you say about God, end up with good outcomes? Are people helped? Are they shown love? Are they welcomed? Are they pointed to the hope and freedom that only God can give, ultimately? If, to one extent or another you can say these things about your life, then I think you can be counted as one of the righteous. If your trust isn’t just in yourself only, but in God, then ultimately that is the greatest sign of all that you are one of his people. We are told that faith that is planted first as a seed can grow in people so that they become oaks of righteousness, planted in the Lord as a display of his splendour (Isaiah 61:3). Later in the Bible we’re told that God himself is the gardener (John 15:1). If you put your trust in God, a seed of faith is planted, a new creation is made, the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). If that is the case, God tends the seed and watches it grow and you are never out of his sight (in a good way). Seeds that God is tending may get pruned sometimes and the bad bits that bear no fruit thrown in to the fire, but they are never forgotten or given up on.
Put your trust in God and you can know that when a storm comes, it might make you wobble, it might make it seem like you are flailing about with barely anything to hold on to, but the true foundation at the core of your life will never be shaken or uprooted. That is the power of the love, mercy and passion of God, that we might grow up as trees bearing good fruit and be displays of His splendour, to point people to him.
Something to Do
What ‘branches’ of you are there to celebrate today? What do you think might need to be pruned off?
Something to Pray
Pray for all those afraid today, including you if you are, asking God to bring peace and calm. Maybe someone comes to mind as you pray. Get in touch with them and ask them how they are.