(16) Better (is) the little that a righteous man (has) than the abundance of many wicked, (17) for the arms of the wicked will be broken, but Yahweh upholds the righteous. (18) Yahweh knows the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever. (19) They will not be ashamed in the time of evil. In the days of famine they shall be satisfied, (20) but the wicked will perish. Yahweh’s enemies are like the glory of the pastures. They vanish. Like smoke, they vanish away. (21) The wicked borrows but does not repay. The righteous is gracious and gives. (22) Those blessed by him will inherit the land, but those cursed by him will be cut off.
David’s concern in this segment is to highlight the differences between two disparate groups. First, he mentions the “righteous” three times (vss. 16, 17, & 21) also called the “blameless” (vs. 18) and “those blessed by (Yahweh)” (vs. 22). In contrast, he refers to the “wicked” four times (vss. 16, 17, 20 & 21) also called “Yahweh’s enemies” (vs. 20) and “those cursed by him” (vs. 22). In essence, Yahweh “upholds” and “blesses” the righteous while opposing or “breaking the arms” and blighting the wicked (vss. 17 & 22).
While the wicked may flourish for a time, they will eventually perish (vs. 20), vanish (vs. 20), and be cut off (vs. 22). The righteous may struggle for a time because of possessing little and having to endure occasional famine. However, they can count on God’s goodness to sustain them and eventually grant them an inheritance in the land which, he has promised, will be theirs in perpetuity.
I. The righteous endure by relying on God. (16-20)
II. The righteous live generously by trusting in God's promises. (21 & 22)
Knowing that Yahweh cares for the righteous while opposing the wicked enables us to live generously no matter what happens.
“Living large” is a phrase that has recently become part of English usage. It means living life to the full without holding back. One way we can live large is described in verse 21. While the wicked person “borrows and does not repay,” taking financial advantage of those he can defraud, the believer lives generously, helping those in need. This results from knowing that we have a future inheritance promised to us by a powerful God who will never leave us nor forsake us.
Consider the encouragement Paul gave the Corinthians: “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Cor. 9:10 & 11). There is no need for us to hoard God’s blessings if we know that there is a never-ending supply to replace what we openheartedly give away to others. An important aspect of “living large” is serving as conduits of God’s generosity to those around us instead of seeking to stockpile his blessings for ourselves. For the one who trusts in Yahweh, it really is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).