What can a righteous parent expect for doing a good job? Obedient, successful children? Prosperity? Join AMBrewster as he guides Christian parents through Psalm 112 and unwraps its glorious promises.
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Listen to the following episodes on Apple Podcasts by clicking the titles.
"Merest Christianity" series (stars in episode 95)
“The Sufficiency of Scripture in Parenting” (episode 174)
“The All-Bible Family” (episode 181)
"Teach Your Children to Learn, Part 2 | the Circle of Learning” (episode 208)
“Parents Who Joy” (episode 70)
“Rock, Bread, and Donut” series (starts in episode 106)
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Much has been written concerning the consequences of good parenting. In fact, I’d say that most people try to be good parents because they’re hoping to receive those consequences.
And that philosophy grows from a more base presupposition that our good works earn us blessing and benefit.
Is that true? If it is, what blessings and benefit do we gain by being good parents?
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it feels like I’m being such a great parent, but there’s no discernible health and wealth coming my way.
In this two part episode we’re going turn to the Psalm Book to discover what righteous parents can hope to experience in this life.
But, before we do that, I’d like to thank Dave and an anonymous donor for making today’s episode possible. I’m so grateful for our Sponsors and Patrons who give of themselves so that all of us may benefit. I hope you’re thankful too.
This is a listener-supported podcast, so those who can give are a huge blessing to all of us who learn from this content.
Dave, you’re the man. Thank you!
As always, you can click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP" link in the description of this episode to learn more about Truth.Love.Parent. and how you can be a blessing to parents all over the world.
Cool. Now, let’s be encouraged and challenged as God describes for us the experience of a righteous parent.
We’re going to work our way through Psalm 112, but there are some preliminary observations that must be made.
First, I’m going to work through the Psalm thematically. Today we’re going to look at the character of a righteous parent, and next time we’ll see the experience of that righteous parent. During that second episode, I’m going to read Psalm 112 from start to finish at the end so we can appreciate the themes as they’re woven into a glorious whole.
Second, it’s important to acknowledge that this Psalm was written under the Old Covenant. That’s not simply to say that it’s in the Old Testament; what I mean by this is that many of God’s promises to the children of Israel do not extend to the Gentile in the church age. Under the New Covenant, we do not have all the same requirements placed on us from the Levitical Law, nor do we have the same promises including inheriting the land of Israel or any confidence that righteousness will produce material prosperity.
You see, the Jews were promised that if they remained loyal to God and served Him with a pure heart, He would protect them from enemies, bad weather, and various other natural consequences of living in a broken world. And they were also told that sin would bring about direct physical consequences. The people of Israel would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if they were being persecuted by foreign nations, it was due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the people had been in sin and were receiving their just desserts.
However, in the church age we know that righteousness does not always provide material prosperity and that if we are being persecuted by our enemies, it is not a direct result of our sin.
The bridge between these two dispensations is most clearly seen in John chapter 9. Jesus and His disciples were walking down the road and they saw a man who had been born blind. So, knowing that the Old Testament taught that sinful choices brought physical curses, the disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
That was an appropriate question from an Old Covenant Jew.
However, Jesus came to usher in the New Covenant, and He replied, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
Teachers of the prosperity Gospel, the people who want us to think that if we have enough faith and righteousness that we will be materially blessed and get everything for which we pray and avoid sickness and hardship, have — among other things — sorely misunderstood the differences between Jewish people from the Old Testament and the Church of the New Testament.
And for those of you tempted to turn this episode off because it contradicts what you’ve heard from people like Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, Benny Hinn, or Joyce Meyer, consider this one thing: the single most abused, poor, hated, persecuted, and materially unprosperous people in the New Testament was the Church. And that didn’t just include the hoi polloi, the commoners. It included all of the apostles, the disciples, and Jesus Christ Himself.
Jesus tells His people in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
And again in verse 20, “A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.”
And then 16:2-4 reads, “They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.”
And there are many more such promises and illustrations in Scripture.
So, as we turn to Psalm 112, there will be promises that must be understood in a New Testament context. And let me tell you, I think the promises are that much more amazing when understood through the lens of the church age.
So, let’s get started.
Today we’re going to look at 1. The Character of the Righteous Parent.
Most of the promises in Scripture — especially for the Church — are conditional. If we keep God’s commands then we can expect certain consequences. And, what’s interesting is that there are not only eight wondrous blessings listed in this chapter, but there are also eight lofty expectations listed.
So, instead of working through the passage from beginning to end, I want to work from general to specific, from the root to the fruit.
Verse 7 reads, “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.”
For those who have been long-time listeners, you automatically recognize that in Scripture the word “trust” is synonymous with faith and belief.
This is where it always starts. It’s just like we learned in the "Merest Christianity" series.
If we parents will not first trust that God is Who He is, and that He’s done what He’s done, then we’re never going to follow Him. It would be foolish to entrust your life to someone you can’t trust!
I know we don’t know everything there is to know about God. I know we don’t know everything the Bible clearly explains about God. But, do you trust that when you read the Scriptures, everything it says is true?
Do you start from the premise that the Bible is 100% trustworthy? Do you try to make the Bible the foundation of why your family does what it does?
If not, I encourage you to start today. Check out “The Sufficiency of Scripture in Parenting” and “The All-Bible Family;” they should help you get started. Both of those episodes will be linked in the description so you can access them easily.
And when we start trusting God we will believe that He is Who He says He is and that will lead us to the second characteristic of a righteous parent.
B. A righteous parent fears the Lord.
Verse 1 says, “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord.”
When we see God for Who He is and believe it wholeheartedly, we can’t help but fear Him. Now, today is not a day to build out all of these concepts. There’s just too much to unpack. So, if you’d like to know more about what it means to fear the Lord, I actually want to point you to episode 208, "Teach Your Children to Learn, Part 2 | the Circle of Learning.”
A right view of God will produce a double-edged response of magnificent awe coupled with a trepidation that we would ever displease Him.
Does God’s existence and care and sovereignty and holiness leave you speechless? Are you filled with a holy fear that you would ever hurt the One Who has purchased your salvation?
When we are filled with the fear of the Lord, this will produce another characteristic.
C. A righteous parent rejoices in God.
The first three words of Psalm one is, “Praise the Lord!” David, the psalmist, is assuming that anyone who would be described by this Psalm are people who would gladly join him in praise of God.
This reminds me of the second episode of our “Peaceful Parenting” series called “Parents Who Joy.” The idea comes from Paul’s doubly-emphasized command in Philippians 4, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!”
You cannot not praise if you do not rejoice. You cannot thank if you do not appreciate the goodness behind it.
If we trust God and know God and fear God, we will rejoice in Him, even when that means that parenting is hard and we’re at odds with our children.
Do you rejoice in God? Is your relationship with Him more than you being afraid He’s going to send you to hell? Is church and the time you spend with His people joyful? Is your calling to parent something that fills you with joy?
Here’s a big one . . . .
Do you rejoice when your kids rebel against you and yell at you?
Matthew 5:11 and 12, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
A righteous parent can rejoice in life’s hardships because they rejoice in God.
When we trust God, we will fear Him, and when we fear Him, we will rejoice in Him. And if we rejoice in Him, then we’re naturally going to delight in His revelation concerning Himself . . . which includes His commands.
D. A righteous parent delights in God’s commands.
Verse one reads in its entirety, “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!”
If we expect to be blessed a parents, we must realize that grudging obedience isn’t obedience. It’s not really righteous.
Too many parents grudgingly take their kids to church, grudgingly discipline, grudgingly enforce biblical standards in their homes.
Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’re new to the faith and obeying some of God’s commands are still especially difficult, then I’m super proud of you for doing it even when you don’t feel like it.
But, at some point, I would hope that all of us would assume that we would start growing out of that mentality. We don’t want grudging obedience from our kids; how can we expect that God is happy when we don’t delight in His commands?
Are you a parent who enjoys searching God’s Word in order to know Him better? When you encounter a new character trait or command or principle or philosophy, does is excite you to consider how you can help your family live out those concepts in your family?
Now, this next one may seem pretty simply, but it’s a fact that if we’re delighting in God’s commands then of course we’re going to obey what God says.
E. A righteous parent obeys God’s commands.
Clearly a righteous parent can’t be righteous if they’re not living righteously. But this point is so important that it’s repeated more times in this passage than any other concept.
Verse 2 refers to this individual as being upright. Then verses 3, 4, 6, and 9 all call him righteous and/or refer to his righteousness.
God didn’t want us to forget at any point that He’s describing the experience of a righteous person. The unrighteous parent cannot claim any of the blessings we’re going to encounter next time.
Are you an obedient parent? Do you try to conform your parenting to the style God’s prescribed in His Word? Are you striving to learn how to be a better Ambassador? Are you working on the four jobs of teaching and interpreting and counseling and training your kids?
Just like we discovered in The Merest Christianity, what we believe will be seen in our lives. If we believe God, we will want to serve Him, and — by His grace — we will bear righteous fruit in our lives.
Now, before I continue with our final three characteristics of a righteous parent, I want to remind you that all eight of these character traits will be included in our free episode notes at TruthLoveParent.com.
So, specifically, what does it look like to be a righteous parent? The Lord is about to show us four examples of what it means to be righteous.
F. A righteous parent is gracious and merciful.
Verse 4 says, “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.”
I put these two together because grace and mercy are commonly understood to be two sides of the same coin. Mercy is not giving our kids what they do deserve while grace is giving them what they don’t deserve.
It shouldn’t surprise us that God would have us be gracious and merciful with our kids. He’s infinitely gracious and merciful with us. As an Ambassador Parent, that should be one of our most defining characteristics.
What does this look like practically?
Well. It really is going to be extremely subjective. I can’t say that a gracious parent is going to not give his children consequences for a failing report card but instead take them for a pizza party because that’s not always going to be the best choice.
I can think of an instance last year where one of my Residence Assistants at Victory Academy did such a thing. We had a young man who earned himself multiple demerits every week. And every week he found himself having to run laps. This was months and months into the program and one of my RA’s had a moment where he truly wanted this unregenerate young man to better understand the love of God.
The boy was given a break because he had a number of laps that day, and he was mildly complaining that he couldn’t run anymore. Without skipping a beat the RA basically said, “Okay,” and he took off running. He ran the rest of the boy’s laps.
And when he was done he explained to the astonished boy what had happened and used it to illustrate how God loved us so much that He sent His Son to take the consequences of our sin.
I was super proud of that RA when I heard about it. It was the first time and the only time he did that all year long. It was powerful because it was well-timed and well-explained.
So, before we move on, I want to caution us all that we don’t allow ourselves to excuse our laziness by calling it mercy. Sometimes we don’t deal with issues simply because we don’t want to, and we legitimate it to the kid or ourselves or our spouses or even God by naming it grace.
I’m going to suggest that true grace and mercy needs to be well-timed and well-communicated in order to have the appropriate effect. It should be purposeful, it should point to a deeper reality, it should be explained to our children so they understand that deeper reality, and it shouldn’t become something whereby we justify never giving our kids consequences . . . because that’s not a Christ-honoring reality.
Now, this is a big concept, and one that is difficult to apply. If you have any questions as to what this may look like in your family, don’t hesitate to contact us at counselor@TruthLoveParent.com.
But not only is a righteous parent merciful and gracious . . .
G. A righteous parent is generous.
Verse 5 and nine tell us, “It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice . . . . He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.”
This idea of generosity keeps coming up when we dig into Scriptures that reveal the life of mature believers.
Are we generous individuals? Do we give our time and money and skills freely to serve and benefit others?
What’s really interesting is that some people who appear extremely philanthropic aren’t that generous at home. This is the fault of every pastor who has spent and spent and given and sacrificed for his congregation that his children were neglected.
So, are you a generous parent? Do you give of your time and money and skills and relationships and emotions and wisdom to serve and benefit your kids?
For many parents it’s fun and endearing to do so for our infants. For others, it’s very hard to want to invest in that little bundle of incompetence. For some parents it becomes harder to want to invest as their children age and become more self-reliant. For others, they really love pouring in to the maturing kids.
Regardless of our natural bent, God expects us to be generous with our kids at every stage of their lives. I can’t argue that just because my child is a terrorist that I don’t have to be generous with him.
Now, there’s value in realizing that God is not commanding us to give twenty bucks to our kid every time they ask. Our “Rock, Bread, and Donut” series helps us think biblically about what we give our kids and why. But . . . when we become stingy with our resources and our time and love and our investment and our kindness just because the kid is in rebellion, we’re in rebellion to God’s expectation for our generosity.
And lastly, a parent who trusts God will fear Him. A parent who fears Him will rejoice in Him. A parent who rejoices in Him will delight in His Word. A parent who delights in His Word will keep His commandments. A parent who keeps His commandments will be merciful, gracious, generous, and . . .
H. A righteous parent is just.
We already read verse 5, but allow me to zoom in on the part that says, “[He] conducts his affairs with justice.”
Now, some of you will rightly surmise that the words righteous and justice have similar ideas in English. The concept of being just is nearly indistinguishable from being righteous.
But it’s important to note the differences in the ancient words used to communicate these concepts.
There are a couple different words translated upright, righteous, and righteousness in this passage. Most of them carry the idea of something that is just within the context of a legal setting. It’s right. One could say, it’s biblically fair. The person was acting and speaking in a way that is expected by God.
But the word translated “justice” in verse 5 can have two main ideas. The first, again, refers to a judicial sort of justice that rightly passes judgment. However, the second understanding refers to someone’s “rights” and carries additional nuances depending on the context.
For example, the first use of this word is found in Genesis 18:19. Interestingly enough, the word is being used within a discussion concerning family. Speaking of Abraham, it reads, "For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
Here we see our two juxtaposed words: righteousness and justice.
I believe the understanding in the Genesis text is the same in our Psalm passage. I believe they both refer to one’s life being in proper relationship to one’s claims.
The word isn’t focusing so much on the action or the action being viewed righteously by God, but that the action and the claim are balanced. Consider the American anthropomorphized concept of Justice. She’s viewed as being a blindfolded woman carrying a scale in which to weigh decisions. Well, if Justice put your parenting claims and your parenting words and actions onto her scale, would they balance out?
Are you a parent of your word? Are you a hypocritical parent?
Why did we work through all of this today? Two reasons: 1. This is the definition of righteousness. If we want to be righteous parents, this is the kind of person we need to become as we mature in Christ. And 2. We cannot hope to have the experience of a righteous parent if we’re not being righteous.
Sometimes I think it’s really easy for us to be delusional. We know we’re not the parent we should be, but we expect that God will bless our parenting nonetheless.
Yes, God is merciful and gracious, but He also provides many conditional promises. And this is one of them.
So, join us next time as we unpack the blessing that comes to a righteous parent, and if this episode was a challenge or blessing to you, please rate and review this show. Let us know what you think.
Also, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss our newest episodes, and share TLP with your friends. What better way to deepen our friendships than by grounding them on God’s Word.
The Lord wants to bless your parenting, and He wants to help you become a parent He can bless.
So, to that end, I’ll see you next time.
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