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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Psalms 111



Verses 1-10

Psalms 111:1. Praise ye the LORD.

Or, “Hallelujah,” “Praise be unto Jehovah.” “Praise ye the Lord.” I invite all Christians to give good heed to this injunction; whether others praise him, or not, “Praise ye the Lord.” Do it now: do it always, do it heartily, do it instead of what you sometimes do, namely, doubt him, murmur at him, rebel against him: “Praise ye the Lord.” Ye who are beginning the Christian life, praise him for your regeneration. Ye who have long continued in it, praise him for sustaining you. Ye who are the most ripe for heaven, begin now the praises that will never, never end.

Psalms 111:1. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

It is always well when a preacher practises what he preaches. David does that here: “Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord.” One of the best ways of enforcing an exhortation is to practically obey it: “Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord.” But when a man becomes an example to others, he should be very careful to set a good example. Hence, the psalmist not only says that he will praise the Lord, but that he will do it heartily, yea, with his whole heart. Such a God as Jehovah is, is worthy of all the praise we can give him. We ought to praise him with all our thought, with all our skill, with all our love, with all our zeal, with all our heart, with our whole heart.David tells us that he would render this praise both amongst the choice and select company of God’s people, “in the assembly of the upright,” and also in the larger congregation, where a more mixed multitude would be found. Brethren, praise, is never out of place, and never out of season. If you are with a little company of two or three choice Christian friends, praise the Lord in their midst. Tell them your experience, and bless the name of the Lord for his grace and mercy; but if you should be in a larger assembly, where the characters of some may be doubtful, be not abashed, but still continue to praise the Lord.

Psalms 111:2. The work of the LORD are great, —

They are great in number, in size, in purpose, and in effect. Even when God makes a little thing, it is great because of the wisdom displayed in making it. The microscope has taught us the greatness of God in creating tiny creatures of wondrous beauty, yet so small as not to be perceptible to the naked eye: “The works of the Lord are great,”

Psalms 111:2. Sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.

If we take pleasure in a man, we also take pleasure in his works, we like to see what he has made; and, in like manner, the saints of God take pleasure in his works. They revel in the beauties of creation; they delight to study his wisdom in providence, but, best of all, they are most charmed with the wonders of divine grace. These works are so marvellous that a mere surface glance at them is not sufficient; you need to search them out, to dig deep in the mines of God’s wisdom as seen in his works, to try to find out the secret motive of his everlasting purposes; and, the more you study them, the more they will grow. Some things impress you at first with greater significance than they do afterwards, but the works of God are so great that, if you look at them throughout your whole lifetime, they will continue to grow greater still.

Psalms 111:3. His work —

I suppose the psalmist means God’s chief work, his grand work of grace: “His work” —

Psalms 111:3. Is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

The work of God is full of grace, and it is full of honour and glory to his blessed name; and every single portion of the work of grace is full of that which resounds to the honour and glory of the Triune Jehovah. I hope, dear friends, that you delight to study the whole plan of saving mercy, from its initiation in the eternal purpose to its culmination in the gathering together of all the people of God. If you do, you will see that all through it “is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.” As it endured Calvary, it may well endure for ever. Though the Lord Jesus Christ purposed so to save his people, he would not do it by sacrificing his righteousness. He fulfilled righteousness to the utmost, by his perfect life, and by his suffering even unto death, and, now, we are quite sure that no further strain will ever be put upon that divine attribute. “His righteousness endureth for ever.”

Psalms 111:4. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered:

Do not be forgetful of God’s wonderful works. They are made on purpose to be remembered; so, treasure them up, for they are worthy of being held in everlasting remembrance.

Psalms 111:4. The LORD is gracious and full of compassion.

This is what his people always find to be true whenever they read the history of his works. The thought that strikes them is, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.” If any of you long to be at peace with God, however far you may have wandered from him, he is ready to receive you if you will but return to him, for he “is gracious and full of compassion” — not merely tender-hearted, but full of graciousness. He abounds with thoughts of love towards his people; come, and try him for yourselves.

Psalms 111:5. He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.

The needs of all his people are always supplied by him. He finds food both for body and soul, and you may rest assured that every promise of his covenant will be faithfully kept. You may forget it, but he will not: “he will ever be mindful of his covenant,” and mindful of you because of that covenant, mindful of your heavy cares, mindful of your bitter griefs, mindful of your weakness and infirmity, because you are in his covenant,

and he is mindful of it.

Psalms 111:6. He hath shewed his people the power of his works,

He showed the Israelites what he could do, what force he could throw into what he did, and he has shown to us, Christians, the same thing in another way, by the power of his gracious Spirit, blessing the preaching of his Word to the conversion of sinners, and maintaining the great fight against the dread powers of darkness: “He hath shewed his people the power of his works.”

Psalms 111:6. That he may give them the heritage of the heathen.

He gave to Israel the land of Canaan, where the heathen dwelt; and he will give to Christ, when he asks for them, the heathen for his inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. Let us pray God to prove the power of his works in the subduing of the nations unto Christ.

Psalms 111:7. The works of his hands are verity and judgment;

He never acts contrary to truth and righteousness. Even when he puts on his most terrible look, and smites his enemies in his wrath, still, “the works of his hands are verity and judgment;”

Psalms 111:7-8. All his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.

Whatever God commands, determines, purposes, you may rest assured that it will be accomplished; but his purposes are always accomplished, not by caprice, but by “truth and uprightness.” God is a Sovereign, doing as he wills; but he never wills to do anything that is inconsistent with justice, truth, and uprightness.

Psalms 111:9. He sent redemption unto his people:

He brought them up out of Egypt with a high hand and a stretched out arm, and he has sent redemption to us, first, by price, when he redeemed us from our guilt upon the tree; and then by power, when the Holy Spirit came and broke our bands asunder, and set us free from the dominion of our sins.

Psalms 111:9. He hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.

His whole character commands our reverence because it is superlatively holy, and his name is to us a word of awe never to be mentioned flippantly, and never to be quoted without earnest thought and prostration of heart before him. I fear that there are some professors who use the name of God far too freely. They do not recollect that “holy and reverend is his name.” I can hardly think that any man can be “reverend.” There are some who choose to be called by that title; I suppose they mean something less than the word means here: “Holy and reverend is his name,” not mine, certainly.

Psalms 111:10. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:

It is the A B C of true wisdom. He who has learned to fear God has learned the first part of wisdom. According to some, the word “beginning” here means the chief, the head, the front, just as, often, in Scripture, “beginning” signifies that. “The fear of the Lord” is the chief part of “wisdom,” the essence of it.

Psalms 111:10. A good understanding have all they that do his commandments:

Practical goodness is the proof of a good understanding. A man may have an orthodox head, and yet not have a good understanding. A man may be able to talk very glibly about the commandments of God, and even to preach about them with considerable power; but it is the doing of them that is the main point.

Psalms 111:10. His praise endureth for ever.


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 111:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

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