Psalm 111

Mark Rhoads   -  

January 28, 2024


You have said through the Psalmist that “The fear of [you] is the beginning of wisdom.”  Those of us who are long-time believers have heard this verse over and over throughout our lives. The verse goes on to say, “and all those who practice it [the fear of you, that is] have a good understanding.”

But how do we fear you, Father? How do we “practice” the fear of you? Elsewhere the Psalmist makes clear what it means to practice the “fear” of you when he says: “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. (Psalm 86:11 NIV)  We practice fearing you by relying on your faithfulness with an undivided heart; by observing that “the works of [your] hands are faithful and just; all [your] precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever.

And how do we know who you are?  How do we know about your attributes? We know because, as the Psalmist has said, you have caused us to remember. You have shown us the splendor and majesty of your work and the righteousness of your deeds. The Apostle Paul tells us your “invisible qualities—[your] eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what [you have] made, so that [we] are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:18) You have caused us to remember that you are gracious and merciful, that you provide food for those who trust in you, that your covenant endures forever, that you are trustworthy.  And your holy Word, the Scriptures believers for generations have been privileged to possess, reminds us of the unlikely story of redemption that was planned from the beginning and carried out by the work of your son, Jesus.

We observe, Father, that in this Psalm there is no laundry list of behaviors that will make us good Christians.  Rather, the Psalmist tells us where we should start as followers of you, the Living God.  We begin with an unalloyed reliance on your character. And our response is to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And [to] run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Heb. 12:1-2)

Yes, Father, in your faithfulness you have caused us to remember.  Your works are evident and are “studied by all who delight in them.” Give us understanding as we “fix our eyes” on you; as we rehearse your character, your great power and love. May we rely on your faithfulness with an undivided heart. Tune our hearts to sing your praise.

Father, we give thanks to you with our whole hearts this morning, here in the company of the upright, in this congregation.

Through Christ our Lord we pray.

And all of Gods people said