Psalm 112 (NRSV)
1 Praise the Lord!
Happy are those who fear the Lord,
who greatly delight in his commandments.
2 Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
4 They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5 It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved;
they will be remembered forever.
7 They are not afraid of evil tidings;
their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn is exalted in honor.
10 The wicked see it and are angry;
they gnash their teeth and melt away;
the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.
Fear is one of the devil’s best tricks. Can you think of a single instance when fear led you to behave your best? Somehow, power seems to make people even more fearful. The more we have, the more we have to lose. When powerful people act out of fear, watch out!
This is one of the reasons a life of unearned privilege is a spiritual minefield. Those of us who receive respect, opportunity, and wealth because of our race or class have reason to worry. Will this unfair system be overturned? In order to maintain our power, we develop beliefs in our own superiority, we dehumanize others, and we isolate ourselves from relationships with our neighbors.
The psalmist reminds us that a life in God’s shared abundance means freedom from fear. When we share our power and possessions freely and trust in God for what is good, our hearts can rest securely.
Mighty God, loosen whatever hold fear may have over my life today. Where I am clenching too tightly, bring release. Teach all to trust in you so we might find freedom in the name of Jesus. Amen.