Weds 24 November - Psalm 111
1 Praise the Lord.
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.
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Meditation on Psalm 111
No complaints. No battles. No enemies. No worries. What a breath of fresh air!
This Psalm starts off with ‘Praise the LORD’ and ends with ‘to Him belongs eternal praise.’
A number of commentators twin this Psalm with Psalm 112. Psalm 111 focuses on the greatness of God and His works, while Psalm 112 focuses on the people of God and the blessings they receive from this great God – ‘Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in His commands.’
This praise is personal…
- ‘I will extol the LORD.’ What does it mean to ‘extol the LORD’? There are many synonyms that help us – exalt, praise, magnify, glorify, worship, bless, celebrate.
And why not?
- ‘with all my heart’. Spurgeon says, ‘God cannot be acceptably praised with a divided heart, neither should we attempt so to dishonour Him; for our whole heart is little enough for His glory, and there can be no reason why it should not all be lifted up in His praise.’
This praise is public…
- ‘in the council of the upright and in the assembly.’ The ‘council’ may refer to a smaller group of God’s people – e.g. a Home Group in today’s context. The ‘assembly’ would be on a par with today’s church services.
The main message of the Psalm is to give us reasons why we should ‘praise the LORD.’
We study His great works Verses 2-3
‘they are pondered by all who delight in them.’
What are these great works of the LORD? Here are a few as starters – you may add more from your own experiences.
- Creation – ‘everything He made was very good.’
- Covenants – to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; to the people of God at Sinai; to Jews and Gentiles at Calvary – never a broken promise with our God.
- Redemption – ‘God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…’
- Resurrection when the Lord comes for His redeemed people
Two more quotes:
- Maclaren… ‘the more one gazes, the more one sees.’
- Boice … ‘there is a science laboratory in Cambridge, called the Cavendish Laboratory, named after the 18th Century English chemist Sir Henry Cavendish (1732-1810). It is distinguished by having the words of Psalm 111:2 inscribed over the entrance to its building as a charter for every believing scientist.’
When we think about all man’s works – many of which have revolutionised our way of life, how many of these works, these deeds, are described as ‘glorious and majestic’?
And yet, this is how the psalmist refers to the works and deeds of God.
To help us ‘ponder these works’ what better hymn to ponder than the words of ‘How great Thou art’?
We remember His great works Verses 4-7a
Not just the ‘glorious and majestic’ works but …
- His grace and compassion. This is seen in His provision for the needs of the people – verse 5a
- His power referring to His gift of the Promised Land to His beleaguered people. For us, the promise of heaven
- His faithfulness and justice
What a faithful God have I…Faithful in every way. (Robert Critchley)
We know He can be trusted Verses 7b-9
- His precepts (a divine injunction in which man’s obligation is set forth). These are not thought up on the spur of the moment. Rather they are rooted from eternity to eternity.
- His faithfulness (again)
- His uprightness – righteous, honest, just
- His redemption. We are the recipients of His grace and mercy in the redemption we have in Jesus.
- His eternal covenant. But this is not one way. God makes promises to us but we need to be faithful to Him as He is to us.
- His Name is who He is – ‘holy and awesome’.
We are still learning Verse 10
Here is a challenge to us to keep learning from Him. We need His wisdom each day as we seek to follow His Word and His will.
And then comes heaven! Praise the Lord.
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