Sermon Outline: Psalm 111:1-10--"Worthy of Praise: God's Name, Works, and Word"
Praise God For His Character
Read entire psalm
Classification: Descriptive Psalm (Hymn) of Praise
Book 5 of the Psalter
One of the Hallels (Pss. 111-118)—begins with “Praise the LORD”
Closely related to Psalm 112 (See 111:10 and 112:1)
Structure: Stress the importance of treating the Psalms as great literature.
Alphabetical acrostic—Each successive part of a verse begins with the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Author leaps from one point to another, shedding light on one aspect of the matter which the people sing about and then on another aspect.
Chiasmus—Various “connections” exist between Pss. 111-112—(Indebted to Robert Alden)
“Big” Idea: We should praise God because of His character, His works, and His word.
I. We should praise God because of His character (v. 1)
A. The song leader announces his intention to praise Yah: his covenant-making, covenant-keeping God (v. 1a).
1. He praises (lit. “throws”—presumably through some outward expression of thanksgiving)
2. He praises with his whole heart (total commitment)
3. His praise reflects the nature of the relationship Yahweh has established through covenant: joy.
B. The song leader praises God in different settings (v. 1b)
1. The assembly of the upright—small group
2. The congregation—large group
TS: (Not only must we praise God because of His faithfulness,
Praise God for His Works
We have seen that in order to praise God properly, we must first appreciate His work in creation (v. 2). We just briefly looked at His works of providence that reflect His character/name (v. 3). Now let’s move on to consider our next point: that we must appreciate the “wonderful works” He has made to be remembered (v. 4).
Q. Think back:
- What “wonderful works” did God make for Israel to remember? The Passover Event (Exodus 12:12-14)
- How do the ideas mentioned in verses 4-5—“wonderful works,” “gracious and full of compassion,” and “covenant”—work together?
C. “Wonderful works” seem to connect His character/name to His covenant/word
1. Israel’s salvation from Egypt—“wonderful works”-- shows how the LORD fulfilled His role in the covenant relationship by means of His gracious and compassionate character (v. 4b).
2. His provision of Israel’s physical needs—“wonderful works”-- shows His faithfulness (character) to remember His covenant and fulfill His word (v. 5).
Next, the psalmist uses a fourth expression regarding God’s works. Verse 6 reads: (Read from Bible)
Praise God for His Word
D. He makes known His faithfulness to the covenant through the “power of His works”
1. He promised Israel an inheritance (Ex. 23:20-33)
2. He gave them the Land—Canaan
3. Application: We have an intimate and eternal union with the Father. What He has already belongs to us, but He only gives us what we can handle.
TS: (In the last point this morning, we encounter a fifth and final expression regarding God’s works: “the works of His hands.”
II. To praise God properly, we must obey His word, the “works of His hands” (vv. 7-10).
A. The text identifies these “works of His hands” as “all His precepts” (v. 7)
B. Obedience to the LORD and His word brings wisdom and understanding (v. 10). A fitting conclusion to all that precedes
1. Historical background: Possibly post-exilic, but inconclusive. Verse 10 –“Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” is Solomonic (Proverbs 1:7).
2. The meaning of “fear” and “wisdom”
The word hokmah (“wisdom”) 24 times in Proverbs and six times in the Psalms.
3. “A good understanding”—“praiseworthy discernment; spiritual tact that is the reward of conscientiousness.”
Application: Acknowledge that the LORD is worthy of godly reverence because of His character, His word, and His works. God promises that you will grow in wisdom (moral knowledge) and spiritual discernment through which you will praise Him properly if you “do His commandments.”
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