Archive for the ‘Psalm 111’ Category

Psalm 111 #6

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! (Psalm 111:9-10)

He sent redemption to his people – a ransom for the release of captives. Release of captives. Ever been in a closed in space for a length of time? Think about coming out – seeing the sunshine – taking that first big breath of fresh air.

Jesus came and lived the sinless life I couldn’t and then he took my punishment – all to release me from my captivity. Believing takes me out into the Sonshine and that first big breath of really fresh air. The ransom has been paid. I’m free!

But that’s not the end. I’ve been freed to something – not just from something. God sends his ransom – and then comes the fear of the Lord.

Fear means respect or reverence – seeing him as holy and awesome. Awe. Deep respect. Humility. Things like that are the beginning of wisdom.

Then there’s “those who practice it.” Practice what?

It goes back to fearing the Lord. Those who practice fearing the Lord will go beyond the beginning of wisdom into good understanding.

In other words, as I practice focusing on God, I grow more like him. I make better choices. I build living skills. I understand.

Psalm 111 #5

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. (Psalm 111:7-8)

The things he does are faithful. Usually I think of a person being faithful. Faithful is loyal, trustworthy, keeping promises. Things like that. How can actions be faithful?

I think it has something to do with his hands. He does those faithful actions with his hands. When we talk about getting our hands dirty it means we’re involved. We’re not supervising, we’re right in the middle of it. So, his works can be faithful and just because that’s what he is – and he’s in what he does right up to his elbows!

His precepts are trustworthy, too. Precepts are rules or commandments. Usually you think of promises being trustworthy – not rules. But think about it, most of the rules God makes have promises attached to them. Do this and you’ll live long in the land. Do this and I will be your God and you will be my people. This section says that they are trustworthy – worthy of trust.

And they are established forever and ever. Established can also be translated to lean, rest, support. Think about the picture those words paint. We can put our weight on them. They’re not going to collapse – we’re not going to fall. They will continue to be a support forever and ever.

Look at what else it says. These works of his and his precepts are to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. Performed with faithfulness. What does that mean to you? To me it’s a picture of something I can put my trust in. Again it’s about loyalty and keeping promises. He has promised, he has done what needed doing and now he loyally continues.

The person who wrote this Psalm really wanted us to know for sure! Look at the words he used – faithful, trustworthy, established – and then there’s just and uprightness. How much more solid could you make it? We can trust what he does. We can trust what he says.

Period!

Psalm 111 #4

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. (Psalm 111:5-6)

This section still talks about the awesome things he does, but it seems to single out “his people” here. Food to those who fear him – showing the power of his works to his people – giving them the heritage.

His works aren’t just great, splendid or majestic as the verses before said. They are connected to a group of people. A specific group of people. His people.

Some of his works provide for them. A covenant is a contract made between a King and a subject – in this case someone who is powerless. That’s where grace comes in. God promises to care for his people. He remembers that they are his.

He wants us to know what he does. He, himself, will make sure we know it. That’s part of the contract, too. He shows His power through the things he does and his people praise him.

The third thing is the inheritance. Not only has he done wonderful things. Things planned long ago. We are not just saved. Jesus will return on day and set up his kingdom, a new heaven and a new earth … and we will inherit it.

God didn’t just show us our sin. He didn’t just make a way out of that sin when Jesus came, lived and died in our place. He made us heirs – adopted us into his very own family.

He wants us with him always!

Psalm 111 #3

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful. (Psalm 111:3-4)

These verses continue to talk about God’s work.

Splendor can also be translated vigor. Sometimes it’s easy to think of God’s work as a more passive thing – not this active picture. Vigor involves things like vitality, energy and strength. They’re not passive. He’s involved. It’s contagious. And it’s a force that will win. When someone is operating that way they can’t easily be ignored!

Then it says that he caused his wondrous (extraordinary) deeds to be remembered. Extraordinary – beyond the normal – not the everyday stuff. It has to be God at work. There is no other option.

The word remembered can be translated memorial. You don’t ignore memorials. The place is chosen carefully. They’re big and designed to be impressive. They’re made of stone that will last. And every time you look at them you remember.

But you know the thing that I find really interesting about this section … the “the LORD is gracious and merciful” part comes after he has caused his works to be remembered. Can it be that setting up the memorials himself is what is gracious and merciful?

Why?

I wonder if that’s because he knows how easy it is for us to forget – or to even start taking his amazing things for granted. He knows our weaknesses and his plans include what we need – even to the memorials to help us remember all he’s done!

Psalm 111 #2

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. (Psalm 111:2-3)

This Psalm focuses on God’s work. So let’s start looking at the picture it paints.

First, the word great doesn’t just mean big. The meaning also includes number, extent, intensity, and importance. And the word works can mean more than just deeds done. It can also be translated business.

How does it change the picture to say that God’s business is great? As I put all those pieces together, I see that it’s not just acts that he does – it’s all that he does. It’s the acts, the thoughts, the plans, the care, all of it. It’s all far-reaching – and it’s great!

The word study can also include care for. Those who love him study (learn) and care for his business. In some ways I think it’s easier to study something than to care for it. I think about college with all it’s “core” subjects – one’s that you just have to get through to get to the good stuff. But caring for something – that’s different. You want to know it well, but care also involves protection. It involves delighting in the wonderfulness of it and making sure that it doesn’t get twisted into something ugly.

Splender and majesty add to the picture of his work, too. They’re big, awesome, larger than life words.

The word endures has the idea of taking a stand in it. How does it change your picture of God to think of him taking a stand for righteousness? I have a picture of someone standing tall, with his feet set so that he can’t be pushed over. But more than that. He already did all the work necessary to make sure that business succeeds. His righteouness is satisfied and so is he. Now he takes his stand.

And we can delight in his business …

Looking at Psalm 111

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. (Psalm 111:1)

The word praise can also mean shine or boast. It paints an interesting picture.

We don’t usually think of boasting as a positive thing. We complain about someone’s boasting. But that’s because they’re over estimating the worth of something. We can never over estimate the worth of God. It’s safe to boast ‘coz we can never say things that are big enough!

And then there’s shine. What would it look like if you shined when you talked about the Lord? Think about it. You couldn’t be missed. Heads would turn. People would notice … and be attracted to you. It would become one of those times when you could “give an answer for the hope you have.”

Then the word translated “give thanks” in the ESV can also be translated shoot or throw. That gives me a very active meaning to giving thanks. It means I don’t keep it to myself. It means that I make sure he knows how thankful I am – for the things he does and who He is.

And all of this is in the company of others. So, not just on my own. Imagine … if we were all shining as we praise and all throwing our thanks to him! What a beautiful thing that would be!