Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Lord Bestows...Honor

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

God’s favor is something we are probably comfortable talking about. After all, that’s just another way of saying “grace.” But how comfortable are we talking about God bestowing honor?

Do you know that when you trust in the Lord, God gives you honor? That might seem strange, but it really isn’t. We know that some of our deepest longings are for God’s love and acceptance of us. But it is also true that one of the deepest human longing is to be honored. To feel respected and admired. Now that might seem strange until we think about what the opposite of honor is. The opposite of honor is shame.

Shame is the voice of self-condemnation that we all hear from time to time. It says, “You’re not good enough.” “You’re unlovable.” “You’ll always be a looser.” “You don’t matter to anyone.”

You see, honor isn’t about being puffed up or arrogant; it’s about the restoration of dignity lost in sin and corruption. Shame is pervasive. Shame is even behind people who come off as proud or arrogant. Most people who seem proud or arrogant are simply overcompensating for the shame that drives them. It’s like the swimmer treading water. His or her ability to keep their head above water looks pretty impressive…until you see how desperately they are kicking their feet below the surface.

God bestows grace and honor. He restores to us the dignity and value that comes with being a child of God. This grace and honor are a piece of a bigger whole that the Psalmist calls “good things”. He says, “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

By walking uprightly, his point isn’t those who work real hard at their religious observance, he means those who walk and live by faith. We see this as the very last sentence is a parallel expression of this last half of verse 11.

84:12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! 

Throughout this Psalm, we are given something of an idealized picture of the heart of a faithful Israelite. In other words, the Psalm is saying, “those who are like this are blessed.” Blessed is the one who trusts in you.

The blessing noted here at the end of Psalm 84, points us beyond the typical Old Testament saint. Psalm 84 points us to someone who perfectly embodied this idealized picture.

For it is Jesus Christ who is truly the blessed one. It is Jesus Christ whose fullest joy was found in his fellowship with his Father. It is Jesus Christ who was the true and faithful pilgrim bringing the perfect sacrifice to the true temple, namely himself upon the cross. It is Jesus Christ who is the true anointed king who becomes a shield and source of strength for his people.