A New Meditation on Psalm 112 – Part 3
“…he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established; he will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.” Psalm 112:5-8
"..guide his affairs with discretion."
The idea of being discreet or acting with discretion was instilled in me as a child. In fact, the culture, in which at least a majority of us grew up, I imagine, was one of discretion and decorum. The acceptable greeting for those of higher regard and station such as the elderly, those in authority, ministers, priests, nuns, judges, policemen, teachers, and of course, parents, grandparents and nearly all adults was to be accompanied with “sir” or “ma’am.” “Yes sir.” “Yes, Ma’am” “No, sir.” “No. Ma’am” was the common and acceptable manner of address.
It was a matter of respect within our community. Acceptable dress codes were followed by nearly everyone that we knew, and appropriate behavior in every situation was expected by most people. It was taught at home, at church and at school and they were expected to be observed by everyone of respectability. Even schools graded students on their deportment and decorum.
Of course, there were the elitists who took the ideas to extremes where they looked down on those who were not of their “lofty” station. Fortunately, my parents and most of their friends were not of that sort. We knew of some who were but did not seek to imitate them.
The concept of discretion is all but lost on the present culture of casualness and anything goes. Respect for those in authority is challenged by the brash and rude. And petty childish behavior is epidemic among many adults even those who hold high offices in our halls of justice, academic institutions and branches of government. The worst have adopted the ways of the most base and vile in the culture and have glorified their degradation in the manner of communication in songs, in movies and areas of so-called “entertainment,” not to mention the actions of the those politically motivated, of professional anarchists and rioters who seek only to disrupt, distract and destroy all who don’t agree with their evil ways.
To be discreet is to follow after a pattern of behavior that is modest, characterized by behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid social embarrassment or distress. To show good taste, refinement, to be perceptive, discerning, wise, prudent, and tactful.
The one who guides his affairs with discretion acts in accordance with Godly wisdom, wise council and well thought out decisions. To lack discretion is to lack self-control, to be boorish, vulgar, given to base, tawdry and shameful displays; to display rash and indiscriminate behavior; to make decisions and speak without consideration of others or the consequences to one’s own best interest; to do such things is to be foolish.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” And Proverbs. 19:21 says, “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the LORD’S counsel—that will stand.”
When your actions are taken with wise council and consideration of the Word of God, you will always, ultimately succeed.
Now the course to that success may not always be by the pathway you thought you might go, but if you allow the Lord to direct your steps you will always reach the destination your heart desired and which God prepared for you with faith in God’s Word.
In Genesis 26 we read the story of how Isaac’s men re-dug the wells, which his Father Abraham had dug, in the Valley of Gerar, but the Philistines disputed over them twice in two different places, but they just moved on each time and dug another well. The third time they dug a well there was no dispute and they called it Rehoboth meaning wide spaces, roominess. The Lord has made room for us.
The remarkable thing about this story is how Isaac’s men responded to the disputes over the wells. They had more than one opportunity to get discouraged, to bemoan the fact that their efforts had been for naught and all their hard work would now be benefiting someone else who did not deserve it, did not work for it, just took it from them after they had done all the labor to build it.
But they didn’t get discouraged and they didn’t quit. They just picked up, packed up and moved on.
Are you kidding me? No. As remarkable as it seems, that’s what they did and not just once, but twice. Were they acting on the authority and the leading of God? Yes. Did they have a legal claim to the land and the wells? Yes. So, why didn’t they just take their stand and fight?
Because they were seeking the place of rest and peace and they were determined to find it no matter how many wells they would have to dig. They were not willing to stop one well short of a blessing. So, they dug a third time and there they found rest, peace and blessing in that place. So they called it Beersheba, the well of the oath. Because it was there that God swore to bless him and multiply his descendants for His servant Abraham’s sake.
Sometimes we’re just digging in the wrong place for the ultimate flow of God’s blessings. They could have taken their stand and defended the first two wells, but how much more defending would they have to do in years to come. A place of peace and rest was what they ultimately wanted, not some place where they would constantly be at war. So with faith in God’s promise they moved on until they found that place of rest and peace.
Now, this is not an argument to just lay down and let the devil walk all over you, or to just yield your rightfully owned property to a thief. No. This is about a willingness to not be discouraged or be defeated because of disappointment that may come again and again, but you keep on pressing through until you find what God has for you.
Moses was told to go down to Egypt and bring the people out of slavery under Pharaoh and bring them up to the mountain of the Lord from where He would take them into a land flowing with milk and honey.
But, think of this. His first 7 tries failed to free the people and only resulted in harder bondage for them. Surely Moses had many opportunities to think he had missed God and was destined to failure. Again and again he was rebuffed by Pharaoh. Even after seven plagues Pharaoh would not relent and let the people go. But Moses pressed on…eight…nine…and finally 10 times, because he was convinced that God was not only with Him but He was with him to assure that His intended purpose would be fulfilled. Even more after they left Egypt Pharaoh was still not willing to relent and give up his hold on them. He pursued them all the way to the Red Sea. Only there did he meet his ultimate defeat, and the people of God were finally free of him.
When we are led by God’s Word, His promises, His commandments and His wisdom will we guide our affairs, our businesses, our homes, our families, ourselves with discretion. We will not be discouraged, nor lose heart or give up “one well” short of a blessing or “one plague” short of freedom.
We can and we will continue to walk in the faith of God’s Word and wisdom until God’s will and purposes are fulfilled.