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.
Psalm 111 is a short psalm of gratitude and praise. Initially, the psalmist gives thanks for God’s saving activity—bringing the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt, providing manna along the way, and promising that they shall be God’s people in Canaan. The writer then expresses gratitude for the gift of God’s covenantal commandments by which God’s people can practice living faithfully and justly—just as God has lived faithfully and justly in relationship with them. The psalmist concludes that as a person delights in the Lord’s instructions there will wisdom and understanding be found.
Might we think of ourselves as Israelites of the 21st century? Freed from captivity. Sustained by “daily bread.” Welcomed into blessed community. Shaped through covenantal instruction. Loved into wisdom. If so, let us join the psalmist in giving thanks to God!
Thank you, God, for freedom, sustenance, community, teaching, wisdom, and all that comes from you. Amen.