Wednesday of Christmas I – Psalm 111

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
    in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
    studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
    the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
    in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
    all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
    to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
    he has commanded his covenant forever.
    Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all those who practice it have a good understanding.
    His praise endures forever!

After bravely serving in the battle of Lepanto which halted Turkish expansion into Europe in 1570, Miguel Cervantes continued as a soldier for five more years, despite some serious injuries. However, in 1575 he and his brother decided to return to their native Spain. Their ship was captured, however, and he did not make it home. He was instead diverted to the coast of North Africa where he was enslaved and imprisoned. He tried to escape but was caught. Finally, after five years, his family was aware of where he was and they redeemed him, paid a price which effectively bought their brother out of slavery.

We know this story because of course Cervantes would go on to become one of the most famous authors of all time, penning what is often called the first modern novel, Don Quixote. His protagonist was the man of La Mancha, the famous knight who jousted with windmills and was always trying to rescue a fair damsel in distress, but usually ended up making a complete mess of things.

Did you notice in verse nine of this psalm in which it reads that God sent redemption to His people. I imagine most of us only encounter the word redemption when we are at the grocery store looking for 50 cents off on a box of cereal or the like. Stores and manufacturers redeem coupons from us when we buy things. But for Cervantes it meant something far more substantial. It meant release from chains and bondage, from enslavement. His family had redeemed him.

The Lord has sent redemption into the world, our Lord Jesus, born in Bethlehem to rescue us from the bondage to sin, death, and devil. We are the redeemed of God, the people He has purchased with His own life’s blood from a bondage we could never have broken ourselves.

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