Peter Barnes: Psalm 111
(10 June 2018)
SERMON NOTES: PRAISE THE WORKS OF THE LORD (Psalm 111)
Psalm 111 is an acrostic Psalm, and is echoed in Psalm 112, each with 22 half-verses (there should be eleven verses, not ten). We tend to look for rhymes at the end of lines, but the Hebrew would look to the beginning of each line, to sequence rather than sound.
- Praise the Lord.
The Psalm begins and ends with the praise of Yahweh – 111:1, 10. This praise is whole-hearted. Calvin’s motto was ‘I offer my heart to Thee, O Lord, promptly and sincerely.’ See too Ps.119:10.
We are also to praise Him in the company of the upright, of the congregation of His people. See Ps.16:3; 122:1-4.
- Praise the works of the Lord.
– 111:2. This text is written over the main entrance to the Physics Department of Cambridge University. Nevertheless, it is as Jonathan Edwards said: ‘Nature is God’s greatest evangelist.’ Spurgeon: ‘Even the little things of God are great.’
– 111:3-4, 9a. This refers to God as the redeemer, especially in the Exodus.
– 111:5-7a. God as provider, as He led them through the wilderness into the Promised Land. W. S. Plumer cites the saying that ‘Words teach, example sways.’
- Praise the precepts of the Lord.
– 111:5b, 9. This is the covenant with Adam (Gen.3:15); Noah; Abraham; Moses; and David. This is forever, fulfilled in the new covenant with the Messiah. Ps. 111:7b.
– 111:10. Prov.1:7; 9:10; Job 28:28; Eccles.12:13). Derek Kidner says this is ‘the key to what life is about’. The coming of the Messiah promises many things – Isa.61:3.