“For you will bless the righteous. LORD, you will surround him with favour as with a shield.” Psalms 5:12
Our theological lenses (frameworks) affect how we view the Scriptures that we read. Hence, it is important for us to return to its context and meaning.
Culturally, our society has conditioned us into meritocracy – your achievements and where you are today are because you worked hard for them. And this, we know from God’s perspective, is a lie that is humanistically-centred. However well-meaning and “right” it may sound, you cannot work your way to gain favour. Proverbs 16:9 tells us clearly that a man can plan his course but it is God who orders his steps. Like righteousness, favour is granted by God.
When we read this verse with a meritocratic set of lenses, we are tempted to look at ourselves and think that our righteousness earns us God’s affection and consequentially, His favour. That is simply wrong thinking. When we read this verse thinking that it is all about us, we are also putting on the same incorrect set of lenses to read it.
Who is it who blesses the righteous? It is God.
Most importantly, who makes the righteous righteous in the first place? Again, God. We cannot make ourselves righteous as it can only come through Jesus Christ. The very One who makes us righteous is also the One who will surround us with favour as with a shield. In short, it is all about God.
When the psalmist David wrote this psalm, his emphasis was to draft a God-centred musical piece. Read the full 12 verses of Psalm 5 for yourself. So how do we now read and reconcile our realities with theology?
Here it is – God who positions you to be in right standing with Him will bless you and likewise, surround you with favour. No extra sauce or icing to make it sound something other than what it is supposed to be. All we can do is to receive this truth and allow it to flow in our lives. He did not mean for us to be blessed and then think it was our efforts that got us this far. Many children of God fall into this erroneous zone of thinking.
When we fail to grasp this, we can frustrate ourselves and get anxious when things don’t go our way in our work, business, relationships, careers, ministries, etc. When we begin to understand that favour sits with Him who has the power to release it and desires indeed to release it to those whom He has made righteous, it relieves us of the unnecessary tensions we heap upon ourselves to try to succeed.