Happy are those who fear the Lord,
who greatly delight in the commandments.
(adapted from Psalm 112:1)
Egypt, that once-proud, powerful nation, will be destroyed, its people scattered.
What has been possible by faith--
making it out of Egypt and into the promised land
settling the land and protected it from enemies
Many suffered, many did not reach the goal
We remember them, how they lived their lives and what they accomplished by faith. Their lives and accomplishments are an example for us. They had a goal and were willing to make sacrifices.
And we have Jesus as our example. He strived and suffered, and he has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Thomas Long in his commentary Hebrews in the Interpretation series characterizes the author's message:
The Preacher knows that it is late in the day, and that we have already run several sprints and dashes. We are winded and tired, but this is the race that counts, so we are to strip off anything that would slow us down--all the weighty encumbrances and shackling sins and run our portion of the race with endurance. The trail has already been blazed; the path of the race has already been forged by Jesus. He is the lead runner, and he shows us where to go, since he is the "pioneer," the one who sets the course. He also shows us how to run, since he is the one who runs the race with flawless form, the "perfecter of our faith." Indeed, it is Christ who makes it possible for us to run at all.Psalm 112:1-10
This psalm answers the question, "What is life like for people who are doing what God wants them to do?"
First, they are happy.
Then follows a list of attributes of happiness, beginning with they are rich--a little troubling because we know so many non-rich people that do try to follow God's will.
Because they trust the Lord, they don't get scared easily.
Also, they are good examples. They are gracious, merciful, and righteous. They give to the poor.
For an exercise, try reading the front page of your local paper. Watch your favorite news channel for about 5 minutes or so. Do you see happy there? Or, do you see scared? Can we in our lives connect God's will with actually changing our habits and attitudes? Do we believe that if we were more generous that we would be less afraid?
What do you think about the assessment in verse 10, that it is the wicked who are angry about distributions to the poor?
Iron sharpens iron,
and one person sharpens the wits of another.
Prayer for Today: O Lord, strengthen our faith. Amen.