Psalms 111–113: Gracious & Compassionate

Read the Bible in 2011Week 38: Wednesday

“Who is like the LORD our God,
Who is enthroned on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in heaven and in the earth?

“He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,
To make them sit with princes,
With the princes of His people.
He makes the barren woman abide in the house
As a joyful mother of children.
Praise the LORD!”
Psalm 113:5–9

As I was reading Wednesday’s Bible reading of Psalms 111–113, I noticed enough parallels to wonder if the psalms were connected. I checked and found this from Leslie M’Caw and J. A. Motyer:

“Pss. 111, 112 are a pair: both consist of ten verses and each poem contains twenty-two phrases which are arranged as an acrostic, the phrases successively commencing with the letter of the Hebrew alphabet….The two psalms deal with twin themes. Ps. 111 is in praise of the Lord; Ps. 112 is a panegyric of the godly man.”1

Two things caught my eye. First, look at the bridge between Psalms 111 and 112; the thought of the last verse of 111 is continued in the first verse of 112.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.
Psalm 111:10

“Praise the LORD!
How blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
Who greatly delights in His commandments.”
Psalm 112:1

The other thing I saw was the repetition of the phrase gracious and compassionate in Psalms 111 and 112 to describe:

The Lord:

He has made His wonders to be remembered;
The LORD is gracious and compassionate.
Psalm 111:4

And the upright—the godly person whose character reflects the God he fears:

Light arises in the darkness for the upright;
He is gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Psalm 112:4

Psalm 113 doesn’t contain the phrase, but I think it does describe the works of a gracious and compassionate God as He beholds and acts on the behalf of those in need.

May we fear Him, and reflect His character in our graciousness and compassion.

Isaiah 42 Photograph: – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1Leslie S. M’Caw, J. A. Motyer, “Psalms,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., p. 522.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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