The Blessed

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Reading the Word

Psalm 128:1–6 (ESV)

1 Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the LORD.

5 The LORD bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life!
6 May you see your children’s children!
Peace be upon Israel!

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm tells us that the one who fears the Lord is blessed. To “fear” God is to understand who we are in relation to him. He is our Creator, the one who sustains us, and the one who is Judge over all. We are called to live in obedience and will one day give an account before the Lord.

The psalm describes blessing as prospering in our work, being fruitful in our families, and living long lives. This is wonderful! However, when we consider what we read elsewhere in Scripture (e.g. Psalm 127), we know that this psalm is not offering a guarantee of such blessing. We are sinful and our lives are filled with disobedience, wrong thoughts and feelings, and improper motives. We do not fear the Lord as we ought. The blessings that we receive are by God’s grace.

We also must remember that we live in a sinful world where things often seem unfair. Those who are good struggle and those who are wicked seem to prosper (read Ecclesiastes for reflection on this truth). In the end, we must realize that the great blessings, prosperity, and peace that we long for will not be realized until we are with Christ in the new heaven and new earth. In the new creation there will be no sin, the wicked will be judged, and God’s people will experience true blessing and fellowship with the Lord. What a day that will be!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

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Is It Worth It?

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Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading for the day. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 73:10–14 (ESV)

10 Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. 11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.

The Danger of Prosperity

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Reading the Word

Psalm 73:4–9 (ESV)

4 For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. 5 They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. 7 Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. 8 They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. 9 They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 73:4-9 resumes by speaking about the seeming prosperity of the wicked. They are healthy and well-fed. They live care-free lives. They are proud and arrogant as they speak against others and even against heaven.

These verses describe the danger of prosperity. Great riches and possessions can cause us to become self-sufficient. There is no need to rely on God day-to-day. This is why Jesus said that it is harder for a rich person to go to heaven than for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24). This is also the point of the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21).

May God give us all that we need, but not so much that we feel we no longer need him. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “Let not the gifts Thy love bestows estrange our hearts from Thee.”

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!