Psalm 111:3

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 3. His work is honourable and glorious. His one special work, the salvation of his people, is here mentioned as distinguished from his many other works. This reflects honour and glory upon him. It is deservedly the theme of the highest praise, and compels those who understand it and experience it to ascribe all honour and glory unto the Lord. Its conception, its sure foundations, its gracious purpose, its wise arrangements, its gift of Jesus as Redeemer, its application of redemption by the Holy Ghost in regeneration and sanctification, and all else which make up the one glorious whole, all redound to the infinite honour of Him who contrived and carried out so astounding a method of salvation. No other work can be compared with it: it honours both the Saviour and the saved, and while it brings glory to God it also brings us to glory. There is none like the God of Jeshurun, and there is no salvation like that which he has wrought for his people.

And his righteousness endureth for ever. In the work of grace righteousness is not forgotten, nor deprived of its glory; rather, it is honoured in the eyes of the intelligent universe. The bearing of guilt by our great Substitute proved that not even to effect the purposes of his grace would the Lord forget his righteousness; no future strain upon his justice can ever be equal to that which it has already sustained in the bruising of his dear Son; it must henceforth assuredly endure for ever. Moreover, the righteousness of God in the whole plan can never now be suspected of failure, for all that it requires is already performed, its demands are satisfied by the double deed of our Lord in enduring the vengeance due, and in rendering perfect obedience to the law. Caprice does not enter into the government of the Lord, the rectitude of it is and must for ever be beyond all question. In no single deed of God can unrighteousness be found, nor shall there ever be: this is the very glory of his work, and even its adversaries cannot gainsay it. Let believers, therefore, praise him evermore, and never blush to speak of that work which is so honourable and glorious.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 3. His work is honourable and glorious. The first thing that we notice is, that whereas the preceding verse spoke of the Lord's "works" in the plural number, this speaks of his "work" in the singular number; it would seem as if the psalmist, from the contemplation of the works of the Lord in general, was, as it were, irresistibly drawn away to the study of one work in particular; his mind and whole attention, so to speak, absorbed in that one work: a work so preeminently glorious and divine, that it eclipses, at least in his eyes, all the other works, although he has just said of them that they are great, and sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. "The works of the Lord are great. His work is honourable and glorious." My next remark is, that the words used in the original are different, and as the former more strictly signifies makings, or things made, so the word in this verse more properly imports a doing or a thing done, and this, perhaps, is not without its significance. It leads me to the inference, that from the contemplation of the great works of creation, God's makings, wonderful, and interesting, and useful as they are, the spiritual mind of God's servant rapidly passes to some greater deed which the Lord hath done, some more marvellous act which he has accomplished, and which he designates as an honourable and a glorious deed. Now, since I consider that he spoke before of Christ, as the visible and immediate agent in creation, without whom was not anything made that was made, can we hesitate long as to this greater work, the rather as to it is immediately subjoined the suggestive sentence, And his righteousness endureth for ever. Is not this doing, the making an end of sin, and the bringing in of an everlasting righteousness? Is it not the great mystery, in which, as in creation, though the Eternal Father is the Fountain source, the Original Contriver, He, the coeternal Son, is the Doer, the Worker? Is it not, in short, salvation, the all absorbing subject of God's people's wonder, love, and praise? --James H. Vidal, in "Jesus, God and Man," 1863.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 3. (last clause). As an essential attribute, as revealed in providence, as vindicated in redemption, as demonstrated in punishment, as appropriated by believers.