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Summary: PART OF A BIBLE STUDY SERIES ON THE PSALMS

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THE RIGHTEOUS GOD

PSALM 111:1-10

INTRODUCTION:

THE NEXT TWO PSALMS THAT WE WILL BE STUDYING ARE PSALM 111 AND PSALM 112. THESE PSALMS ARE WHAT WE CALL COMPANION POEMS. NOW A COMPANION IS SOMEONE WITH WHOM YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP. IN SOME WAYS COMPANIONS MAY RELATE TO US VERY CLOSELY AS FAR AS CHARACTER IS CONCERNED.

THEY ARE COMPANION PSALMS BECAUSE PSALM 111 AND 112 ARE STRUCTURED IN A PARALLEL FASHION. PSALM 111 FOCUSES ON GOD AND PSALM 112 FOCUSES ON MAN. TOGETHER, THEY SHOW US THE WAY OF WISDOM, OR HOW TO LIVE A GODLY LIFE.

BOTH PSALMS BEGIN WITH A “HALLELUJAH,’ OR “PRAISE THE LORD.” THE FIRST VERSE OF EACH PSALM THEN INTRODUCES THE MAIN SUBJECT –YAHWEH IN PSALM 111 AND THE GODLY MAN IN PSALM 112.

THE CONCLUDING VERSE OF EACH PSALM EMPHASIZES THE WISDOM MOTIF IN EACH PSALM. THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM IS THE FEAR OF THE LORD, AND THE CONTRASTING COMMENT ON THE GODFLESS MAN IN PSALM 112.

PSALM 111 AND 112 CAN BE FURTHER DESCRIBED AS CHARACTER STUDIES OR CHARACTER SKETCHEES BECAUSE THE PRESENT TWO PORTRAITS WITH A VIEW TO PROVIDING WISDOM FOR GODLY LIVING. PSALM 111 PRESENTS A PORTRAIT OF GOD’S CHARACTER, PSALM 112 A STUDY OF THE GODLY MAN’S CHARACTER.

POINT ONE: WHAT IS THE OVERALL EFFECTOF THE PSALM?

PSALM 111 IS DOXOLOGICAL; THAT IS IT PRAISES YAHWEH FOR WHO HE IS AND WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR HIS PEOPLE. EIGHT OF THE TEN VERSES NAME EITHER AN ATTRIBUTE OF GOD OR A DEED HE HAS DONE FOR HIS PEOPLE. WE FIND OURSELVES CELEBRATING HIS GLORY AND MAJESTY. HE IS HIGH AND LIFTED UP, BUT HE ACCOMMODATES HIMSELF TO HIS PEOPLE AND MEETS THEIR NEEDS IN EVERY WAY.

POINT TWO: WHAT IS THE STRUCTURE OF THE PSALM?

SCHOLARS HAVE NOTED THAT THERE IS A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PSALM 119 AND PSALM 111, IN THAT PSALM 111 IS AN ACROSTIC OF THE HEBREW ALPHABET. IN THE HEBREW TEXT, EACH HALF LINE ADVANCES ANOTHER LETTER OF THE HEBREW ALPHABET.

PSALM 111 IS STRUCTURED LIKE A TYPICAL HYMN, OR PSALM OF PRAISE. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS STRUCTURED LIKE OTHER HYMNS:

SECTION 1: A CALL TO PRAISE

SECTION 2: YAHWEH’S GREAT PROVISION FOR HIS PEOPLE

SECTION 3: YAHWEH’S GREAT REDEMPTION OF HIS PEOPLE

SECTION 4: CONCLUDING CONFIDENCE IN YAHWEH.

THE PSALM BEGINS WITH THE POET’S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT HE WILL DECLARE GOD’S GLORY IN THE CONGREGATION. IT CONCLUDES WITH THE PSALMIST’S ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT THE WISE MAN WILL HEAR THE WORDS OF THE PSALM AND APPLY THEMJ TO HIS LIFE.

FORMING THE BODY OF THE PSALM, THE INTERVENING VERSES FALL INTO TWO SECTIONS: FIRST PRAISE TO GOD FOR HIS PROVISION OF HIS PEOPLE’S NEEDS, AND SECOND, PRAISE TO GOD FOR HIS SELF-REVELATION AND THE REDEMPTION HE PROVIDES FOR HIS PEOPLE.

IT IS RADICALLY THEOCENTRIC UNTIL THE FINAL VERSE, WHICH IN ITS TURN ADMONISHES THE READER TO LEARN TRUE WISDOM FROM THE PSALM AND STUDY THE CHARACTER OF GOD AS A TATTERN FOR WISDOM.

POINT THREE: WHAT ARE THE FIGURES OF SPEECH IN THE PSALM

THIS IS AN UNUSUAL PSALM IN THAT THERE ARE NOT THAT MANY FIGURES OF SPEECH IN IT. THIS IS A HYMN OF PRAISE AND AS SUCH THERE IS A SEQUENCE OF PROPOSITIONAL STATEMENTS INTENDED TO IMPRESS THE READERS WITH THE MAJESTY AND GLORY OF GOD SO PROFOUNDLY THAT, WHEN THEY READ THE CONCLUDING VERSE, THEY DESIRE THE WISDOM THE PSALMIST DESCRIBES.


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