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"He Has Sent Redemption to His People" January 7-8

Psalms 111-119 all untitled with no attributed authorship, form "a cluster of nine psalms framed by unusual alphabetic acrostics (...Ps 111 [112]; 119) that enclose the 'Egyptian Hallel' (...Ps 113-118) [so named because of the use of these hallel or 'praise' psalms at Passover in celebration of the Israelites' deliverance in Egypt]. The framing psalms that enclose the celebration of redemption contained in the Hallel offer instruction in the piety that must characterize those who join in the celebration of God's saving acts on behalf of his people" (Zondervan NIV Study Bible, note on Psalms 111-119).

Close comparison of Psalms 111 and 112 "shows that these two psalms are twins, probably written by the same author and intended to be kept together.... Structurally, both Ps 111 and Ps 112 are alphabetic acrostics...but unique in that each (Hebrew) half-line advances the alphabet.... Both of these twin psalms are composed of the same number of Hebrew syllables" (note on Psalm 111). Both psalms begin with "Praise the LORD!" or Hallelujah. And Psalm 112 picks up thematically where Psalm 111 leaves off.

While Psalm 111 praises God for His great works-creative, providential and redemptive-the focus is on studying these works as part of wisdom instruction to see the benefits of following Him (see verse 2). God intended His works to be remembered and considered (verse 4). All that He does is characterized by enduring righteousness, grace, providence, truth and justice toward His people (see verses 3-7). Verses 7-8 declare God's precepts, His laws, to be absolute and eternal. In verse 9, God's redemption of His people harkens back to His deliverance of Israel from Egypt as well as to other acts of deliverance He performed for their benefit. The psalmist implicitly includes here future redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, for he states in the same context that God's covenant with His people is forever.

Where verse 5 says God provides for those who "fear Him"-who appropriately respect His great power and holy demands, understanding the consequences of disobedience-verse 10 adds the fact that this proper fear of God is "the beginning of wisdom" (see also Job 28:28; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). We are further told that "a good understanding have all those who do His commandments" (Psalm 111:10). The italicized words here would literally be "who do them"-yet the plural pronoun in the Hebrew must refer back to "precepts" in verse 7-the "they" of verse 8. Nothing helps to understand the purpose for God's laws more than actually living by them. The more we follow them and experience their benefits, the better we understand why God commanded them.

The conclusion of the psalm refers back to its opening call for praise of the Lord-affirming that His praise, like His enduring praiseworthy attributes (compare verses 3, 7, 9), will go on for eternity (verse 10).

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