February 9: Psalm 111
Catechesis for wisdom and the fear of the Lord
(an acrostic psalm on the glory and righteousness of God)
Common meter 86.86 New Britain (Amazing Grace), p. 29
Azmon (O, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing), p. 49
All praise to God with all my heart,
Bring thanks, assembled ones!
Come, all you upright, gathered ones,
Delight in God your king!
Enjoy His mighty works above,
Fail not to ponder them.
Great and majestic are His deeds,
His righteousness endures.
In all my mem’ry God has placed
Jehovah’s mighty deeds.
Know that the Lord is kind to all,
Love, joy and grace is He.
My Lord provides me with my food,
No good thing do I lack.
Oh, He remembers covenant,
Quick does he show His mighty power,
Rewards with gifts of land.
Shows us His faithful works and truth,
Trustworthy is His hand.
Upright and steadfast are His ways,
Vibrant in faithfulness.
Well has He saved His coven’nt ones,
Extol His awesome name!
You who would wisdom find, then seek
the holy fear of God.
Zealous to follow all His ways—
to Him all praise belongs!
Psalm 111 and 112 may be regarded as companion psalms. In structure, the two are identical acrostics, each composed of twenty-two half-lines that begin with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet in succession. More than merely juxtaposed and similarly constructed, however, these two psalms are also joined by a common theme—wisdom—and especially wisdom’s relationship to obedience and the fear of the Lord. Thus, Psalm 111 closes with its famous statement about how the path to wisdom commences: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and all who practice it have a good understanding.” Psalm 112 immediately takes up the challenge, as it were, of this proclamation. “Blessed is the man that fears the Lord,” it says; “He will greatly delight in His commandments.” (Reardon, p.221)