Discovering the greatness of His works (psalm 111 decoded)

The LORD’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them. All that He does is splendid and majestic; His righteousness endures forever  

Great, here refers to dimensions and to significance. His works are huge and extraordinary. His works are significant in dimension and in scope. His works are significant in character and in performance. You are brought face to face with a being of extraordinary capacity and you are compelled to think, surely if we have not praised Him it is because we have not contemplated Him enough to discover Him.

The psalmist assesses the activity of God, ponders the doings of God, and draws the inevitable conclusion that they are out of this world. He speaks of the excellence of their character. Since they are great, they are not small, not substandard, not insufficient, and certainly not inadequate. They are not deficient in any way, shape, or form.

In lauding the greatness of His works, we embrace the excellence of His power, by which He shapes things according to his will. We celebrate His work in creation, providence and in redemption. We can hardly put such works on par with the stylish creation adorning our heads, no matter how lovely. The sun, the moon, the skies, the elements, the weather, the rain, the cliffs, the valleys, the mountains, the rivers, the streams, the oceans, all vegetation cry out the splendour of His works. A simple leaf held in the hand speaks of the greatness of His works.

The psalmist assesses the activity of God, ponders the doings of God, and draws the inevitable conclusion that they are out of this world. Share on X

His works in creation

Here and there, when we take the leisure to look, we are confronted with this splendid spectacle that is His work in creation. I had such an experience many years ago while in a nation in Oceania for a major conference. We took a trip out into the countryside, far from the milling crowds of the city. I remember marvelling at the landscape as we advanced, then later, when we stopped, I stood looking out at the vastness of the valley beneath, simply awed by the excellence of the works of God in creation. I was moved by the fact that His hands made these things or rather, He spoke them into existence

It is the One who set the stars in their course, who instituted the great lights who we call Father. Such astounding beauty has proceeded from Him that as believers, we cannot but reproduce, in our limited way, this obvious delight in the aesthetic; we should create that which is lovely. Our God revels in beauty.

His works in providence and redemption

It is the One who works in providence that is your Father. He has always and continues to orchestrate everything in accordance with the counsel of His will and His understanding is past finding out. He works out and has worked out the circumstances of your life, positioned you in key places and delivered you from dying places. His direction in difficult times has brought the desired end. How many ‘chance’ encounters have taken our lives on an upward trajectory, how many coincidences have brought tremendously happy incidences.

His works are great in redemption. The apostle Paul put it so well when he wrote that when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, he said, rarely would anyone die for a righteous man, although one might actually dare to do so for a good person.

But the remarkable thing is that God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still mired in our sins, Christ died for us. We were still His enemies, but He sacrificed His Son so that we may be reconciled to Him. And the Son having shed His blood for us, we are now declared not guilty, cleared of all the charges against us. The Son purchased us with His blood and set us free from all spiritual captivity. Indeed, His works are great in redemption. Those who were not a people have become the people of God. Criminals have been pardoned and their records cleared. Former strangers and enemies have now become sons and friends. His works are great.

His works are great because they reveal Him. Let us seek to have a well-rounded picture of who He is. We will never know Him exhaustively, but we can know the measure of Him that He desires to reveal, and that is a great measure. In Psalm 92, the psalmist enthuses over the faithfulness of God and the works of His hands. They are to him, magnificence and cause for joy. 

Those who are stupid

Despite the magnificence of His works and the profoundness of His thoughts, there is a category of people who remain oblivious to His ways. He calls such a one stupid, or senseless as other translations render it. They do not see that the shining of the wicked is but temporary, destruction awaits, while the exaltation of the Lord is forever.

It is clear enough, but some do not get it. They are not like those mentioned in our psalm, who delight in His ways and seek out His works. Those are attentive to His works and enjoy them. It makes a huge difference in which category you belong.

Those who delight in His works

The ‘delighters’ are constantly bubbling over with gratitude because they make the admiration of God and His ways a lifestyle. They delight and they seek. Those are perched on the edge of their seats when someone is testifying of God’s works in their lives. Anything that pertains to God’s works interests them, whether they derive any direct benefit from it or not. They take pleasure in His works.

Our lives would be more powerful, more beautiful, filled with wonder and adoration for the Master, were we to be truly conscious of His excellence and of this great work that is the giving of the Holy Spirit to be with us forever. When we ponder this extensively and continuously, we join the ranks of ‘delighters’, the wise ones, as opposed to the stupid ones who are ignorant of His works.

Seeking His works

The Word of God is a treasure trove brimming over with remarkable finds for those who seek His works. Every page recounts His ways and His works. We approach the Word as seekers after God, admirers who seek to see more of the great ways of their Hero that they might the more honour Him and worship Him. We approach it as students of God who seek to grasp the workings of His mind by studying the works of His hands. We come seeking light.

And when we meet something that does not immediately make sense to us, we pursue understanding, clarity with the assurance that His works are great, we merely need more understanding. And even the giving of understanding is yet another great work that He will grant us to enjoy

All life is wired to make us lovers of God because His works are great.

The psalmist is one who, as we are enjoined in psalm 103 has chosen not to forget His benefits. That is why he continues by declaring that His work is splendour and magnificence, in other translations, honourable and glorious; and His righteousness endures forever. His excellent works and character are not subject to change. We can count on their permanence and on His unchangeableness.

This article is an excerpt from the book Psalm 111 decoded. (Meditations on God) and is not to be copied without permission.

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