Wednesday of Epiphany IV – Psalm 111

1 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!

Earlier this week we prayed that God would give us strength and protection to carry us through dangers and temptations. I have a bit of an image of Dorothy fearfully walking through lions and tigers and bears when I pray that prayer. Let this psalm give you another way to hear God answering that prayer for his protection and strength so you may safely traverse the dangers and temptations of life.

Let me run through this psalm with you. As I work through its verses, see the shape of the life to which God calls you. He first puts you in community (vs 1) surrounding you with people. He addresses your intellect (vs 2) as you consider his great works. He cares what you think. You study God’s word and find works of splendor and majesty, the enduring righteousness and remembered deeds of a gracious and merciful God (vss. 3 & 4). The vulnerable are cared for and sometimes he turns things on their heads (vss. 5 & 6). You can trust him when he tells you to do something (vss. 7 & 8). He rescues his people and keeps his promises (vs. 9). Following God’s way is both wise and smart (vs 10).

That is not a bad life to live. It is not walking with one’s eyes fearfully cast to either side like Dorothy in the old movie. God has those dangers well in hand. Rather he turns our eyes toward himself and all the good that he has done. We are drawn forward by the beauty and love of God toward something which is holy and righteous. You could do worse than to live such a life. Praise God for the life he has called you to live in your baptism. It is good.

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