Psalm 111:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. The works of the LORD are great. In design, in size, in number, in excellence, all the works of the Lord are great. Even the little things of God are great. In some point of view or other each one of the productions of his power, or the deeds of his wisdom, will appear to be great to the wise in heart.

Sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. Those who love their Maker delight in his handiwork, they perceive that there is more in them than appears upon the surface, and therefore they bend their minds to study and understand them. The devout naturalist ransacks nature, the earnest student of history pries into hidden facts and dark stories, and the man of God digs into the mines of Scripture, and hoards up each grain of its golden truth. God's works are worthy of our researches, they yield us instruction and pleasure wonderfully blended, and they grow upon, appearing to be far greater, after investigation than before. Men's works are noble from a distance; God's works are great when sought out. Delitzsch reads the passage, "Worthy of being sought after in all their purposes," and this also is a grand truth, for the end and design which God hath in all that he makes or does is equally admirable with the work itself. The hidden wisdom of God is the most marvellous part of his works, and hence those who do not look below the surface miss the best part of what he would teach us. Because the works are great they cannot be seen all at once, but must be looked into with care, and this seeking out is of essential service to us by educating our faculties, and strengthening our spiritual eye gradually to bear the light of the divine glory. It is well for us that all things cannot be seen at a glance, for the search into their mysteries is as useful to us as the knowledge which we thereby attain. The history of the Lord's dealings with his people is especially a fit subject for the meditation of reverent minds who find therein a sweet solace, and a never failing source of delight.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. The works of the LORD are great. Their greatness is known from comparison with the works and powers of men, which, verily, die and perish quickly. We should, therefore, admire, fear, confide, obey. --Martin Geier.

Verse 2. The works of the LORD are great, etc. Their greatness is equally manifest when we turn from the immensity to the variety of his works ... How great are the works of him who gives to every plant its leaf and flower and fruit; to every animal its faculties and functions; to every man his understanding, affections, and will. What an accumulative idea of the magnitude of his works do we gather from the innumerable multitudes and endless diversities of being called into existence by his powers. --Samuel Summers, 1837.

Verse 2. The works of the LORD are great. The workman who never makes a small article, an inferior article, but makes all his articles both great and valuable, deserves much praise; and any one that will study God's works, which we think so little of by reason of their being so constantly before us, cannot fail to behold God's infinite power and wisdom in every one of them, even though he cannot comprehend them. --Robert Bellarmine.

Verse 2. Great. The word lwdg (gadol) great, has in the Hebrew so extensive a range of meaning, that in the English there is no single substitute expressive enough to take its place. It denotes greatness and augmentation of various kinds. In this passage the works of Jehovah are described as greatly "magnified or augmented" in their influences and effects on the minds of men who behold them. The greatness ascribed to these works, is a greatness in number, in character, in dignity, in beauty, in variety, in riches. --Benjamin Weiss.

Verse 2,4. Great ... sought out. Remembered. The works of Jehovah surpass the reach of human discovery, but are yet searched and explored with delight by all the members of his church; for, if they are too great to be understood, they are also too great to be forgotten. --Edward Garrard Marsh.

Verse 2. Sought out. To see God in his creatures, and to love him and converse with him, was the employment of man in his upright state. This is so far from ceasing to be our duty, that it is the work of Christ, by faith, to bring us back to it; and therefore the most holy men are the most excellent students of God's works; and none but the holy can rightly study or know them. Your studies of physics and other sciences are not worth a rush, if it be not God by them that you seek after. To see and admire, to reverence and adore, to love and delight in God appearing to us in his works, and purposely to peruse them for the knowledge of God; this is the true and only philosophy, and the contrary is mere foolery, and so called again and again by God himself. --Richard Baxter, 1615-1691.

Verse 2. It does not follow, that because the study of nature is now of itself an insufficient guide to the knowledge of the Creator and the enjoyment of eternal felicity, such studies are either to be thrown aside, or considered as of no importance in a religious point of view. To overlook the astonishing scene of the universe, or to view it with indifference, is virtually to "disregard the works of Jehovah, and to refuse to consider the operations of his hands." It is a violation of Christian duty, and implies a reflection on the character of the Deity, for any one to imagine that he has nothing to do with God considered as manifested in the immensity of his works; for his word is pointed and explicit in directing the mind to such contemplations. "Hearken unto this, stand still, and consider the wonderful works of God." "Lift up thine eye on high, and behold who hath created these orbs." "Remember that thou magnify his works which men behold." "Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty! Thy saints shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom and talk of thy power, to make known to the sons of men the mighty operations and the glorious majesty of thy kingdom." --Thomas Dick (1772) in "The Sidereal Heavens."

Verse 2. Sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. This is a true characteristic of the upright and pious. The works of God are said to be "sought out of them," when they regard them, call them to mind, and carefully, taking them one by one, investigate them; and at the same time explain them to others, and recount them: all which is included in the verb frd; for that verb, properly is trivit (to rub, beat, or bray) hence by thrashing and grinding he has investigated perfectly, and has rubbed out the kernel of it for the use and profit of another: whence it is used for concionari, etc. --Hermann Venema.

Verse 2. Sought out,...have pleasure therein. Philosophy seeks truth, Theology finds it, but Religion possesses it. Human things must be known to be loved, but divine things must be loved to be known. --Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662.

Verse 2-4. Sought out... The LORD is gracious and full of compassion. This is the grand discovery of all the searching, and therein lies the glory that is the conclusion of all. As in searching into any experiments in nature, there is an infinite pleasure that accompanies such a study to them that are addicted thereunto; so to him that hath pleasure in the works of God, and is addicted to spy out his kindness in them, there is nothing so pleasant as the discovery of new circumstances of mercy that render his work glorious and honourable. Get, therefore, skill in his dealings with thee, and study thy friend's carriage to thee. It is the end why he raised thee up, and admitted thee into friendship with him, to show his art of love and friendship to thee; to show, in a word, how well he could love thee. -- Thomas Goodwin.

is addicted to spy out his kindness in them, there is nothing so pleasant as the discovery of new circumstances of mercy that render his work glorious and honourable. Get, therefore, skill in his dealings with thee, and study thy friend's carriage to thee. It is the end why he raised thee up, and admitted thee into friendship with him, to show his art of love and friendship to thee; to show, in a word, how well he could love thee. -- Thomas Goodwin.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2. The Christian philosopher.

  1. His sphere: "The works of the Lord."
  2. His work: "Sought out."
  3. His qualification: "Pleasure therein."
  4. His conclusion: "Praise," as in Psalms 111:1 .

Verse 2-9. The psalmist furnishes us with matter for praise from the works of God.

  1. The greatness of his works and the glory of them.
  2. The righteousness of them.
  3. The goodness of them.
  4. The power of them.
  5. The conformity of them to his word of promise.
  6. The perpetuity of them. --Matthew Henry.