Psalm 111 (NRSV)
Verse 1Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Verse 2Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.
Verse 3Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
Verse 4He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful.
Verse 5He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.
Verse 6He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.
Verse 7The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.
Verse 8They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
Verse 9He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name.
Verse 10The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.
My high school youth group regularly sang the Chris Tomlin song "Famous One." As I sang out loud that God is "the famous one," I would silently ponder what a curious way this was to describe God. When I think about who I consider famous, I think of celebrities — people who cannot go to the grocery store without having strangers walk up to them and ask for a selfie or an autograph. Most famous people have a recognizable face and a well-known list of accomplishments. Bill Gates founded Microsoft. Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity. Oprah hosted a talk show and has a media empire.
Today's psalm agrees with Chris Tomlin's title for God: "the famous one." God is said to have "gained renown through wonderful deeds." The psalm includes a rehearsal of things for which God is known. Things like keeping the covenant with Israel and providing food to those who fear God.
This leads me to wonder, What works do I recognize as God's? Where today have I recognized God — the famous one? Where today might I see God working?
Famous God, great are your works and wonderful are your deeds. Give us the eyes to recognize your action in the world. Amen.