To Him Belongs Eternal Praise

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.

Here is a psalm in which the psalmist recognizes that ultimately true wisdom comes from praising God.  He ends his psalm with “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” But what does that mean?   True wisdom involves both the ability to see things as they really are and the courage to live life as God intended it. To the psalmist praise is a means of orientating ourselves towards wisdom. That is reminding ourselves of the wonder of what God has done and how He has interacted with humanity helps us to orientate our lives so that we live life with wisdom.

In verse 2 the Psalmist declares that the works of the Lord are great and that they are a source of reflection. Perhaps stop and ponder for a moment God’s works. Stretch your mind’s eye from the magnitude of the universe with its celestial bodies down to the smallest ant. From massive to minute God’s creation is a wonder to be marvelled at and surely causes our hearts to conclude that He is someone to be exalted.

Verse 3 illustrates how beautiful and right are the works of God. Verse 4-5 describes how gracious and compassionate he is with humanity. Providing for their every need as he remembers the promised relationship that He has entered into with them. God is a faithful God who cannot deny His promises. His word is His word. And so we discover that this is God who stoops down to humanities level in compassion and with relationship. One who extends a helping hand and provides us with resources for life.  Why? Because He promises to do so.

Verses 6-9 continue in a similar manner describing how he provides them with redemption, rescuing them from the hand of their oppressors and bringing them into relationship with himself.  The Psalmist concludes that yes the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. And that to Him belong eternal praise. (v10)

Yes indeed eternal praise. Surely this is a God to be both feared and adored all at once. A God whose mighty hands could just as easily strike us down in a heartbeat as our sins deserve but who instead stretches them open and allows them to pierced through. Here is a God who calls all of Creation into existence, and who knows the adoration of heavenly beings and yet who at the same time stoops down to be lashed on our behalf. Here is a God who can hold back the wind and the waves and who at the same time calls us into intimate relationship with himself. Yes this is a God to be both feared and adored.

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