Paul says in Ephesians 5:1 that we are to be imitators of God as dear children. Psalm 111 and 112 give us a beautiful picture of how this works.
These two psalms are tied together in three ways.
First, they are both acrostics. That means the lines in the psalms begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. (line 1 begins A, line 2 begins with B, etc.)
Second, Psalm 112 begins where Psalm 111 ends. Psalm 111 ends with “the fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom and a great understanding have all those who do his commandments.” Psalm 112 picks up on this theme stating that the “man who fears Yahweh will be blessed, who delights greatly in His commandments.”
Third, there numerous phrases repeated in both psalms. Here is a list with the same Hebrew words being underlined.
Psalm 111:2: The works of the Yahweh are…studied by all who take pleasure in them.
Psalm 112:1: Who [the righteous man] delights greatly in His commandments
Psalm 111:3 His (Yahweh) righteousness stand forever
Psalm 112:3 & 9: His [the righteous man] righteousness stands forever
Psalm 111:4: Yahweh is gracious and full of compassion (merciful)
Psalm 112:4: [The righteous man] is gracious and full of compassion (merciful)
Psalm 111:4: Yahweh has made wonderful works to be remembered
Psalm 112:6: The righteous will be an everlasting remembrance
Psalm 111:5: Yahweh has given food to those who fear Him
Psalm 112:9: He [the righteous man] has given to the poor
Psalm 111:5,9: Yahweh will be forever mindful of his covenant/He has commanded his covenant forever.
Psalm 112:6: Surely he [the righteous man] will never be shaken (Literally, “forever, not be shaken/moved)
Psalm 111:7: The works of Yahweh’s hands are verity and justice
Psalm 112:5: He [the righteous man] will guide his affairs with justice
Psalm 111:8: They [God’s works and precepts] stand forever and ever.
Psalm 112:8: His [the righteous man] heart is established
What is most striking about this comparison between Psalm 111 and 112 is that the Lord’s attributes in Psalm 111 are also seen in the man who fears the Lord in Psalm 112. The man who fears God becomes like God. Most stunning of all is verses 3-4 of both psalms. Psalm 111:3-4 makes sense to us.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful (Psalm 111:3-4).
Of course, God’s righteousness endures forever. Of course, God is gracious and full of compassion. But when we get to Psalm 112 we see that the man who fears the Lord is God’s image bearer.
Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous (Psalm 112:3-4).
The godly man looks like the Lord. His righteousness endures forever and he is gracious and merciful. Those who believe in God and worship Him begin to slowly take on His character.
Fundamentally Psalm 112 refers to Jesus. He is the man who fears God. His righteousness endures. He is the one who gives gifts and distributes to the poor. He is the one not afraid of evil tidings and his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. He is the exalted one.
But the primary application to the God-Man Jesus Christ does not eliminate a secondary application to us. One of the mistakes we make is assuming that if a passage refers to Christ then it does not touch down in our lives. That is wrong. What is true of Jesus is true of His followers. There are exceptions of course. We cannot atone for our sins and we are not God’s natural son, as Jesus is. Yet we are Christians, men and women who are supposed to be more and more like Jesus.
Psalm 112 is not just true of Christ. It is true of us as well. As those who have been united to Christ our righteousness endures forever. As those who have trusted in Jesus we will never be shaken and will be remembered forever. But it is not just that we are like this because we are in Christ. In other words, we do not just have a positional holiness in Christ. We are also becoming more holy because of the Spirit of Christ. Christ is working in us through the Word, the Spirit, and the Spirit-filled people to make us more like him. Psalm 112 is not just who we are in Christ. It is also who we are becoming in Christ. As we grow we should fear the Lord and delight in His commands more and more (Psalm 112:1). Our trust in the Lord should deepen and grow (Psalm 112:7). We should become more gracious, compassionate, and righteous (Psalm 112:). Generosity should mark our lives (Psalm 112:9).
That is how it works. Men come to God, the God of Psalm 111, through His Son Jesus Christ, who perfectly embodies the righteous man in Psalm 112. The righteousness of Christ is given to them along with the Spirit. The Spirit begins to change these men and women into “sons of glory” (Hebrews 2:10). They begin to look like the man in Psalm 112. They begin to look like Jesus. When Christ is properly preached Christians are not just challenged to trust in Him. They are exhorted to be like Him.