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Psalms 111:1-10 - Homiletics

The work of God and the wisdom of man.

The uniting thought in the psalm is the work of God. It is evident (see Psalms 111:5 , Psalms 111:6 , Psalms 111:9 ) that the writer has in view those special manifestations of Divine power by which the people of God were delivered and preserved. But we may well give a much wider application to the thought; we therefore think of—


1. In the broad field of nature; in the creation and formation of the earth and the heavens; in the agency of the sun and moon, of light and heat, of rain and dew, etc.

2. In the spiritual nature of men; in the instincts, aspirations, affections, capacities of man.

3. In the guidance of our individual life, and in human history.

4. In the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ. Everywhere, in the heights and the depths, around us and within us, all along the course of our human history, we see the handiwork of God: most, and best of all, in the redeeming death of his Son, our Savior, and in the life-giving energies of the renewing Spirit.

II. Four DIVINE ATTRIBUTES OF WHICH IT SPEAKS . "His work is honorable and glorious" ( Psalms 111:3 ). It speaks of:

1. Divine power (see Psalms 111:6 ). In this sense God's works are "great" ( Psalms 111:2 ); immeasurably surpassing our puny efforts.

2. Divine wisdom . They are "wonderful" ( Psalms 111:4 ). The keeping of the planets in their orbits, the covering of the earth with fertile soil, the life and growth of tree and flower and fruit, the organization of the animal, the expansion of the human mind, the fitness of the gospel for the large and deep necessities of the human soul,—what depths of Divine wisdom are here!

3. Divine faithfulness ( Psalms 111:5 , Psalms 111:7 , Psalms 111:8 ). All that God promises he does; he gave food to eat and water to drink in the wilderness; he has not allowed "seed-time or harvest to fail." He adds all needful things to those who seek first his kingdom. He is with us in the deep waters of affliction, and does not allow them to overflow us. It is the unvarying testimony of the good in every age that "God is faithful;" that he is "mindful of his covenant."

4. Divine goodness ( Psalms 111:4 ). God has so ordered our human life that fatherly kindness, motherly tenderness, friendly affection, filial attachment, philanthropic pity and beneficence, Christian compassion, enwrap our souls, and shed their radiance on our life; and surely these are not the least of his "works."


1. Inquiry . The works of the Lord are "sought out" ( Psalms 111:2 ). There is no worthier, no happier, no more elevating pursuit than the study of the works of God. In whatever field we are engaged we reap valuable fruits for our toil; more especially do we gather good to ourselves when we search those Scriptures which record his government of the world and the redemption of our race.

2. Reverence . We cannot study God's work in any sphere that is open to us without concluding that "holy and reverend is his Name;" that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" ( Psalms 111:10 ). If "the undevout astronomer is mad," it may be truly said that the irreverent geologist, physiologist, historian, philosopher, is mad also. A hasty or a one-sided inquiry may lead to atheism, but a prolonged and unbiased search conducts to reverence and awe. As "knowledge grows from more to more," there will "more of reverence in us dwell."

3. Obedience . "A good understanding," etc. ( Psalms 111:10 ). Men who make no response to God for all his goodness and love to them may be very "smart" and clever, but they outwit themselves; they are continually declining the one thing-devotion, obedience to God—which hallows, enlarges, and enriches human life. On the other hand, men may be very simple, unlikely to rise to eminent positions, and ill adapted to conduct great affairs of the city or the state, but they may have that reverence for God and that readiness to do and bear his will which make any and every human life both beautiful and blessed. The fear of God is the very foundation of wisdom, and they who do his will have a soundness of understanding which the most learned and the most astute may envy.

4. Praise . ( Psalms 111:1 .) Thanksgiving

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