“Summaries, Psalms 112-116”

Categories: Bulletin Articles

Psalm 112 examines the blessings that come to the righteous.  This looks like a psalm with three verses and a coda, with the end of each verse being the “forever” statements of vs. 3, 6, and 9.  Each verse explores different aspects of the blessedness of the righteous.  V. 1 is about offspring and wealth, v. 2 is about enlightenment, generosity, and justice, and v. 3 is about confidence reflected in generosity.  By contrast, the coda describes the envy and ultimate failure of the wicked.

Psalm 113 is a call to praise God.  It defines His praise in terms of who (His servants), how long (forever), and where (from the rising to the setting of the sun).  The remainder of the psalm explains why this praise is justified.  God is great and lofty, and He uses His power to bless those who are in need. 

Psalm 114 is a snapshot of God’s care for His people during the Exodus.  It observes that He went with His people as they left Egypt.  He showed His dominion over creation by parting the sea and the Jordan, and by making the mountains quake.  The psalmist then sarcastically asks all of the above why they’re running away and jumping up and down.  Because of this, he calls all the earth to tremble before God, who is so powerful that He can even turn rock to water.

Psalm 115 contrasts the power of God with the powerlessness of idols.  It opens with an appeal to God to glorify Himself, not His worshipers.  The psalmist then marvel at the nations, who don’t know where their god is or what he is doing, with the psalmist’s own certainty of God’s dwelling place and omnipotence (the second half of v. 3, “He does whatever He pleases,” is the Biblical definition of omnipotence). 

The psalm then points out how helpless idols are by comparison.  Even though they have human features, their abilities don’t even measure up to the abilities of people.  As a result, those who trust them will become like them—dead and helpless.  The psalm concludes by inviting Israel to trust God.  He has helped them before, He is sure to bless all who trust Him, and He is mindful to preserve those who praise Him on earth, both by giving them children and by protecting them.

Psalm 116 rejoices in God’s help.  It notes that He heard when the psalmist cried out to Him, even though he was at death’s door.  He did so because of the grace and mercy that are part of His nature.  The psalmist’s soul is able to rest because of how completely God protects him.  Mankind might not be trustworthy, but God is.  The psalmist then promises to praise God and pay his vows to Him.  Because God’s holy ones are precious to Him, He protects them from death, which allows His servants to continue to worship Him.