Psalms, Book 5, Psalms 111-118

Psalm 111‑118  •  12 min. read  •  grade level: 5
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The next three psalms are plainly a trilogy in suited succession, following up that which set out the exaltation of Messiah on high and the coming day of His power out of Zion. The first two of the three are acrostics, but all are the praises of Jah (Hallelu-jah) for the deliverance of His people by Messiah.
Psalm 111
“Praise ye Jah. I will give thanks to Jehovah with a whole heart in council of the upright and congregation. Great [are] Jehovah's works, sought out by all delighting in them. Honor and work [are] His majesty, and his righteousness standing forever. A memorial he made for his wonders: gracious and merciful [is] Jehovah. Food (prey) he gave to those fearing him; he will remember forever his covenant. The power of his works he hath shown his people, to give them a heritage of Gentiles. The works of his hands [are] truth and judgment; all his precepts, sure, settled forever and ever, done in truth and uprightness. Redemption he sent to his people; he commanded to everlasting his covenant: holy and fearful [is] his name. Fear of Jehovah [is] the beginning of wisdom; good understanding [belongs] to all doing them [i.e. his precepts]; his praise standeth forever” (vers. 1-10).
Jehovah's works, not here in creation but on behalf of His people, are celebrated: great in themselves; powerful in their effects; permanent in result. How different are man's! Wise is the fear of Him; and His praise abiding.
Psalm 112
“Praise ye Jah. Blessed [is] the man fearing Jehovah, in his commandments delighting greatly. Mighty on the earth shall be his seed; the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches [shall be] in his house, and his righteousness standeth forever. There ariseth in the darkness light for the upright: gracious and merciful and righteous [is he]. Good [is] the man gracious and lending; he will sustain his matters with judgment. For he shall not be moved forever; for everlasting remembrance shall be a righteous one. Of evil tidings he will not be afraid; fixed [is] his heart, confiding in Jehovah. Settled [is] his heart, he will not fear until he look upon his oppressors. He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness standeth forever, his horn shall be exalted with glory. The wicked (man) shall see and be vexed; he shall gnash his teeth and melt away: the desire of wicked (men) shall perish” (vers. 1-10).
Next to the intervention of Jehovah comes the character, as well as the blessing under His government, of the man that fears Him. It is not the Christian even now blessed in heavenly places, enjoying full favor, yet suffering on earth, and waiting for Him Who will have us with Himself in the Father's house. It is the anticipative sketch of the righteous Israelite in the kingdom.
Psalm 113
“Praise ye Jah. Praise, ye servants of Jehovah, praise the name of Jehovah. Blessed be the name of Jehovah henceforth and to everlasting. From sun-rising unto its setting praised be Jehovah's name. High above all Gentiles [is] Jehovah, his glory above the heavens. Who [is] like Jehovah our God, that dwelleth on high, that seeth deep (or, humbleth himself to see) in the heavens and in the earth? He raiseth from the dust the poor one; from the dung-hill he lifteth up the needy, to set with rulers, with nobles of his people. He maketh a barren one of the house glad mother of its sons. Praise ye Jah” (vers. 1-9).
Here the scope is manifestly wider. Israel may be Jehovah's earthly center, but His name shall be praised from east to west, from that day and evermore. Who is like to Him, and to Him as thus displayed in His ways with His poor people, no longer in the dust but exalted, no longer barren but the glad mother of sons? Hallelujah!
Psalm 114
“When Israel went out of Egypt, Jacob's house from a people of strange speech, Judah was (for) his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The sea saw and fled, the Jordan turned back; the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. What ailed ([was] to) thee, thou (the) sea, that thou didst flee? thou Jordan, that thou turnedst back? Ye mountains, skipped ye like rams? ye hills like lambs? At the presence of the Lord tremble, O earth, at the presence of the God (Eloah) of Jacob, turning the rock [into] a pool of water, the flint to a spring of water” (vers. 1-8).
It is not only Jehovah's glory above the heavens, yet stooping to look on the lowliest here below, as proved in Israel; the sea, the river, the mountains, and the hills, the earth, all teach from before Him, Who will be to Jacob all He was of old and more. His power in goodness is unfailing.
Psalm 115
“Not unto us, O Jehovah, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, for thy truth. Why should the Gentiles say, Where pray [is] their God? And our God [is] in the heavens: all that he pleased he did. Their idols [are] silver and gold, work of hands of man. A mouth have they, and they speak not; ears they have, and they hear not; a nose have they, and they smell not; their hands, and they feel not; their feet, and they walk not; they mutter not with their throat. Like them are those making them, every one who confideth in them. O Israel, confide in Jehovah: he [is] their help and their shield. House of Aaron, confide in Jehovah: he [is] their help and their shield. Ye that fear Jehovah, confide in Jehovah: he [is] their help and their shield. Jehovah hath remembered us; he will bless, he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron; he will bless them that fear Jehovah, the small with the great. Jehovah will add upon you, upon you and upon your sons. Blessed [are] ye of Jehovah, Maker of the heavens and the earth. The heavens [are] heavens for Jehovah, and the earth he gave to the sons of man. The dead praise not Jah, nor any going down in silence. But we will bless Jah henceforth and for everlasting. Praise ye Jah” (vers. 1-18).
Then the wonders of Jehovah will no longer puff Israel up. They will need no humiliation more, being truly humble in that day. Jehovah's name is all henceforth; and His “mercy” takes precedence, instead of boasting in “truth” because peculiarly theirs. This does but increase their loathing of idols, so long their snare. But if they forgot Jehovah, He remembered them; and that day is a day of blessing for Israel's house and for Aaron's and for fearers of Jehovah, the small and the great. But it is for the living on earth, though heaven and earth shall be in harmonious blessing and for evermore. Children of God are we now called, and such we are; His sons, with the Spirit of God, crying, Abba, Father; and we look up to heaven as our home because it is Christ's, having the cross meanwhile on earth. Here are we shown a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we all shall be changed. Even now are we, Christians, “heavenly,” and we shall put on the image of the Heavenly at His coming.
Psalm 116
“I love Jehovah, for he hath heard my voice, my supplications. For be inclined his ear unto me, and I will call [upon him] in my days. Bands of death compassed me, and straits of Sheol seized me: I found trouble and sorrow; and on Jehovah's name I call; I pray, O Jehovah, deliver my soul. Gracious [is] Jehovah and righteous; and our God [is] merciful. Jehovah keepeth the simple. I was brought low, and he saved me. Return to thy rest, O my soul.; for Jehovah hath death bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, my feet from falling. I will walk before Jehovah in lands of the living. I believed, for I speak; as for me, I was greatly afflicted. I said in my haste (alarm), All mankind [are] false. How shall I requite to Jehovah all his bestowals upon me? I will take the cup of salvation (s) and call on the name of Jehovah. I will pay my vows to Jehovah, yea in the presence of all his people. Precious in the eyes of Jehovah [is] the death of his saints. Yea, O Jehovah, for I [am] thy servant, I [am] thy servant, son of thy handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. To thee will I sacrifice the sacrifice of praise, and on Jehovah's name will I call. My vows to Jehovah I will pay, yea before all his people, in the courts of Jehovah's house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye Jah” (vers. 1-19).
Here we see the loving kindness of Jehovah (Who is therefore loved) in delivering the simple ones, the righteous remnant from under the shadow of death that oppressed them, the truth of which so habitually applies to the suffering Christian (2 Cor. 4), and not merely at a special time as Jacob's hour, when he is to be delivered out of it. The “haste” is not carnal precipitancy, but of such alarm as would make one hurry away at once. Comfort comes, but Jehovah is trusted in faith, which is better still. The end is praise of Jah.
Psalm 117
“Praise ye Jehovah, all ye Gentiles; laud him, all the peoples. For his mercy is powerful over us, and the truth of Jehovah [is] for everlasting. Praise ye Jah” (vers. 1, 2).
It is a short psalm out of a large heart. Grace enjoyed goes out toward others, yea to all. So will Israel then sing. What a contrast with their narrowness of old! So Jehovah's mercy and truth will work in that day to His praise on earth. We see how beautifully these three psalms ending in Hallelujah follow Psa. 114 (Jehovah's intervention as when He brought Israel out of Egypt through the desert), which is preceded by the three psalms beginning with Hallelujah, as the last of these indeed both begins and ends.
Psalm 118
“Give ye thanks to Jehovah, for he is good; for his mercy [is] forever. Let Israel now say, that his mercy [is] for everlasting. Let Aaron's house now say, that his mercy [is] for everlasting. Yea, let those that fear Jehovah say, that his mercy [is] for everlasting. From the strait I called upon Jah; Jah answered me in a (the) large place, Jehovah is for me: I will not fear; what can man do unto me? Jehovah [is] for me among my helpers, and I shall look upon my haters. [It is] better to confide in Jehovah than to trust in man; [it is] better to confide in Jehovah than to trust in rulers. All Gentiles compass me; in Jehovah's name [I say] that I will cast them off; they compass, yea they compass me; in Jehovah's name [I say] that I will cast them off. They compass me like bees; they are quenched as a fire of thorns; in Jehovah's name [I say] that I will cast them off. Thou didst thrust sore (thrusting) at me that I might fall; but Jehovah helped me. My strength and song [is] Jah; and he is become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation [is] in the tents of the righteous: Jehovah's right hand doeth valiantly. I shall not die but live and declare the works of Jah. Jah hath chastened me sore, but hath not given me to (the) death. Open ye to me gates of righteousness: I will enter into them; Jah will I thank. This [is] Jehovah's (to Jehovah) gate; the righteous shall go into it. I will give thee thanks, for thou hast answered me and hast become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected hath become (for) head of the corner. From Jehovah is this; it is wonderful in our eyes. This [is] the day Jehovah hath made: we will rejoice and triumph in it (or, in him) Jehovah, oh! save, I pray; Jehovah, oh! prosper, I pray. Blessed [be] he that cometh in Jehovah's name. We have blessed you out of Jehovah's house. Jehovah [is] God (El) and hath given us light: bind the sacrifice (feast) with cords up to the altar's horns. Thou [art] my God (El), and I will give thee thanks; O my God, I will exalt thee. Give ye thanks to Jehovah, for he [is] good; for his mercy [is] for everlasting” (vers. 1-29).
It is the end of the age which will vindicate the God of Israel. Till then appearances are adverse to His name and His people; and faith alone gains the victory unseen, which then will be manifest to every eye. All men may oppose meanwhile, and never more than at the close; Satan too may deceive and destroy as far as he can; and God may chastise one sorely but for good: Christ knew all this exceptionally, and much more than is here in view. But the end is blessing and glory, not for us only on high as we know from elsewhere, but for those who will enjoy the kingdom on earth, when it is no longer man's but Jehovah's day. What a blank must be in the outlook of all Christians, who leave out such a scene for the glory of the once humbled but now exalted Man! Then He shall sit on His own throne, as distinct from the Father's, before the eternal state. It is the age to come, on which almost all prophecy converges.