Thursday, December 07
Remembering the Works of God
1 Praise the LORD! I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.
2 The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.
3 His work is honorable and glorious, And His righteousness endures forever.
4 He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; The LORD is gracious and full of compassion.
5 He has given food to those who fear Him; He will ever be mindful of His covenant.
6 He has declared to His people the power of His works, In giving them the heritage of the nations.
7 The works of His hands are verity and justice; All His precepts are sure.
8 They stand fast forever and ever, And are done in truth and uprightness.
9 He has 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; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.
It is hard to believe that we only have 40 psalms left to read and look at and we will be through with the book of Psalms in our daily chats. Psalms 111 and 112 could be called twins. Because neither have a title, we have no idea who wrote them, but there they are, standing shoulder to shoulder, alike as two peas in a pod. It is generally thought they were written after the Babylonian captivity, probably early in the post-exilic period.
Life was not easy for the Jewish remnant that returned to Jerusalem after their exile in Babylon. Their neighbors were often hostile, the Persian officials were not always cooperative, and the economic situation was difficult. Ezra the scribe and the prophet Haggai describe some of these problems in their books and point out that the Jewish people were not always faithful to the Lord or generous to each other. This was why God withheld His blessing.
Both Psalms 111 and 112 are complete acrostics; both contain ten verses in our translation; both are made up of eight couplets (verses 1-8) and two triplets (verses 9-10). In each case these couplets and triplets total 22 lines, each line beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, thus making up the complete alphabet. Other acrostic psalms are Psalms 9, 10, 24, 34, 37, 119, and 145. This was a special style of writing and perhaps the arrangement helped the people to memorize God's Word.
Psalm 111 celebrates the person of the Lord and Psalm 112 celebrates the people of the Lord. This psalm may have been written by one of the Levites to remind the people to put the Lord first and trust Him to meet every need. The next psalm describes the blessings God will give to those who truly fear Him and do His will.
Psalms 111 and 112, along with Psalms 115-117, are "hallelujah" psalms that either begin or end with "Praise the Lord!" If we cannot rejoice in our circumstances, we can always rejoice in the Lord (Phil. 4:4). Spurgeon points out in his commentary, “Treasury of David”, that the psalmist “dwells upon the one idea that God should be known by his people, and that this knowledge when turned into practical piety is man's true wisdom, and the certain cause of lasting adoration. Many are ignorant of what their Creator has done, and hence they are foolish in heart, and silent as to the praises of God: this evil can only be removed by a remembrance of God's works, and a diligent study of them; to this, therefore, the psalm is meant to arouse us. It may be called The Psalm of God's Works intended to excite us to the work of praise.”
I trust that whenever you are facing difficult or discouraging times or circumstances in your life that you will take the time to read and meditate on Psalm 111 and remember the “works of God”, not only in Biblical history and the past, but also in your own life!