Short Meditations in Psalms: 5.12 The Blessed Righteous
Psa 5:12 For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
Having noticed it in the previous verse see again here the plural sense behind David’s words – ‘them’. Not just one but many. We may think this is inconsequential but again and again in scripture, someone felt they were alone, the only one left, but the Lord often spoke of ‘the remnant’, believers who held on while the majority drifted away. As we conclude this psalm, I find a challenge here – will I hold firm to the faith and remain firm in living it out even if all around me seem to be drifting away from God?
I am part of that group of people referred to in places like the Psalms or Proverbs as ‘the righteous’. I have been made righteous by Jesus Christ and I am called to live out on a daily basis a righteous life, a life corresponding to God’s rules, God’s laws that are in line with His design for His world, how we best ‘work’. In this psalm David has been separating himself out from the unrighteous, described here as those who do evil, the wicked, the arrogant, those who do wrong, who tell lies, who are bloodthirsty and deceitful. It’s all about how he isn’t like that! So again the challenge comes, will I make sure that I am not like that? Will I remain one who can truly be described as righteous?
But then he says something that I believe is meant to encourage himself and encourage others who are ‘the righteous’: “For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous.” This takes us on to a whole bigger area of thought, about the God who blesses. That simply means the God who decrees good for His people. When God blesses someone He decrees good for them – good WILL come!
Hey, look at this! We are the righteous in Christ and we are called to live out righteous lives and because we are this, the Lord WILL decree good for us. Your life and mine has God’s decree over it – that He WILL do good to us. OK, you may be struggling, you may be going through difficulties but the Lord has decreed good for you – it WILL come through in your circumstances!
And then he expresses it in slightly different way, a lovely way, “you surround them with your favor.” His favour is not something abstract, it is God leaning on people, suggesting to people, prompting people to look at you favourably. Joseph knew ‘the favour of the Lord’ as a slave (Gen 39:2-6) and in prison (Gen 39:20-23). Even in bad circumstances the Lord was there for him, decreeing good for him!
But this blessing also has another effect, it works “as with a shield.” With this decree of God’s goodness over you it is like a force field shield you see in Sci-fi films. You are safe AND blessed. Hallelujah!