Recently friends and family from various parts of the country came together to joyously celebrate my mom’s birthday. Some of my nieces who had not seen my brother for a number of years commented on how much he now resembled my dad who’s been gone from us for over 23 years.
Over the years people who know our families of origin have commented on how our two sons have characteristics that are obvious hand-me-downs from previous generations—the family name and appearances are being carried on!
Walter Brueggemann posits that Psalm 111 and Psalm 112 belong together. They are probably from the same pen and composed in the same manner. In both psalms there are 22 lines corresponding to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The first eight verses in each psalm consist of two lines and the last two verses of three. Further, along with identical structure, the thought in each is similar, and the same phrases recur. In Psalm 111 the deeds, glory, and righteousness of God are celebrated, and in Psalm 112 the righteousness, worth, and happiness of the good themselves are celebrated.
Note: just as God is known by His faithful actions [Psalm 111], the righteous, or “happy” person is known not by essence, but by actions [Psalm 112]. We’re told in this psalm that the righteous person is generous and pursues justice [v.5], and cares for the poor [v.9]. As followers of Jesus we’re blessed to have a sure standing before God for time and eternity, but, in the eyes of our world, our goodness must be marked by our actions within our social contexts.
The Apostle Peter reminds his readers that by the grace of God they’ve become “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. As we surrender to Christ and allow His Spirit to transform our natures, the family character is seen through our interactions with others in our world!
An old gospel song had a plaintive chorus, “let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.” The testimony of the psalmist in Psalm 112 is that the character of our God is manifested by the faithful actions of His people. May it be so in us!