Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Reward For Righteousness

Psalm 128:1-6

A Song of degrees

‘Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.  For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.  Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.” (Psalm 128:1-3)

When Peter went to Caesarea, in Acts 10:34-35, he had just learned something.  “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”  God doesn’t play favorites.  Everyone who follows God’s commands will reap the benefits for having done so, even those who have little or no knowledge of God.  Paul emphasized the same thing in Romans 2:14-15.  “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”  They will not be saved as a result of their works, but they will receive the earthly blessings. 

Unfortunately, in the United States, we have been blessed for so long we accept the blessings as our due and don’t take time to appreciate them.   In many countries, one is not allowed to enjoy the results of his labor.  Socialist governments and thieves take what one has earned, leaving the worker to survive on what they leave.  Happiness, health and peace are blessings from God that are often overlooked, yet they are a natural result of a good conscience and following God’s plans.  Finally, the marriage will be a satisfying and enjoyable relationship, producing children of whom one can be justifiably proud.    

“Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.  The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.  Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.” (Psalm 128:4-6)

These are not things we are entitled to have, but blessings from God.  Most people do not enjoy these things, because they do not follow God’s plan.  Everyone who fears God can expect to have these blessings, because they obey him.    They can expect to see their country blessed,  and their children and grandchildren living productive and happy lives, as II Chronicles 7:14 promises.  “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  God promises that if his people will serve him he will bless and take care of their land.

Some say this promise only applies to Israel.  In Genesis 18-19, we have the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.   Though Sodom was a huge city in its day, God said he would spare it if even ten people who lived there would do what was right.  As it turned out, even Lot had lost his testimony and was no longer serving God.   God saved him and his family because he was a righteous man who believed in God, but he would have saved the entire city, even if only Lot and his children had served God, according to the promise to Abraham in Genesis 18:32.   

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