Year B – Proper 15 – Psalm 111

1 Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it* have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.

Summary The Psalmist sets out in the first verse to praise the LORD, and he goes on to do just that in each ensuing verse.  The works of the LORD are great, both in number and impressiveness—from creating to ordering to directing to specially intervening in the world and in its history, God’s works are great, and thrill those who study them (v.2).  Those works are honorable and majestic (v.3), and in many cases gracious and merciful, gaining Him renown (v.4).  For instance, He provides food for those who fear Him, because He remembers His covenant with them (v.5).  Or, for another instance, He had given His people the heritage of the nations (v.6), when Israel inherited Canaan; and, He will give His people the heritage of the nations, as the meek inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5).  All that He does is faithful, just, trustworthy (v.7), and established forever (v.8).  He had redeemed His people from Egypt in the exodus, and has redeemed them from sin in Christ, because His covenant—the covenant revealed to Adam and Abraham and David; the covenant fulfilled in Chris—is forever (v.9).  In response to all this, fear the LORD—it will be the beginning of wisdom and give good understanding.  And in closing this psalm, remember, God’s praise is not being closed—from the ranks of angels to the splendor of creation and to the nations of worshipers, this praise has been going on and will be going on forever (v.10).

Insight Regarding v.8, which says that God’s works are established forever, Charles Spurgeon writes, “The Lord is not swayed by transient motives, or moved by the circumstances of the hour; immutable principles rule in the courts of Jehovah, and he pursues his eternal purposes without the shadow of a turning. Our works are too often as wood, hay, and stubble, but his doings are as gold, silver, and precious stones. We take up a purpose for a while and then exchange it for another, but he is of one mind, and none can turn him: he acts in eternity and for eternity, and hence what he works abides forever.”  This includes God’s plans for this world—to have us garden it, to make it what He meant it to be—and this includes God’s plans for you: His works are established forever, so He will bring to completion the good work He has begun in you (Phil. 1:6).

Child Catechism
Q:  For how long are God’s works established?
A:  God’s works are established forever.

DiscussionCould the conviction that God’s works are established forever encourage you in your fight for holiness?  How?

Prayer We will praise You, Lord, and we will give you thanks with our whole hearts.  Your works are great, Lord, and we delight in them.  Your work is full of honor and majesty, and Your righteousness endures forever.  You have gained renown by Your wonderful deeds; You are gracious and merciful.  You provide food for those who fear You; You always remember Your covenant.  You will show your people the power of Your works, as you give us the heritage of the nations.  The works of Your hands are faithful and just; all Your precepts are trustworthy.  They are established forever and ever, and You perform them with faithfulness and uprightness.  You sent redemption to Your people; You have commanded Your covenant forever.  Holy and awesome is Your Name!  Fearing You is the beginning of wisdom; if we practice it, we will have good understanding.  Your praise endures forever!  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline

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