We are here taught to give glory to God,
I. For the great things he has done for his people, for his people Israel, of old and of late: He has shown his people the power of his works (Ps. 111:6), in what he has wrought for them; many a time he has given proofs of his omnipotence, and shown them what he can do, and that there is nothing too hard for him to do. Two things are specified to show the power of his works:-- 1. The possession God gave to Israel in the land of Canaan, that he might give them, or in giving them, the heritage of the heathen. This he did in Joshua’s time, when the seven nations were subdued, and in David’s time, when the neighbouring nations were many of them brought into subjection to Israel and became tributaries to David. Herein God showed his sovereignty, in disposing of kingdoms as he pleases, and his might, in making good his disposals. If God will make the heritage of the heathen to be the heritage of Israel, who can either arraign his counsel or stay his hand? 2. The many deliverances which he wrought for his people when by their iniquities they had sold themselves into the hand of their enemies (Ps. 111:9): He sent redemption unto his people, not only out of Egypt at first, but often afterwards; and these redemptions were typical of the great redemption which in the fulness of time was to be wrought out by the Lord Jesus, that redemption in Jerusalem which so many waited for.
II. For the stability both of his word and of his works, which assure us of the great things he will do for them. 1. What God has done shall never be undone. He will not undo it himself, and men and devils cannot (Ps. 111:7): The works of his hand are verity and judgment (Ps. 111:8), that is, they are done in truth and uprightness; all he does is consonant to the eternal rules and reasons of equity, all according to the counsel of his wisdom and the purpose of his will, all well done and therefore there is nothing to be altered or amended, but his works are firm and unchangeable. Upon the beginning of his works we may depend for the perfecting of them; work that is done properly will last, will neither go to decay nor sink under the stress that is laid upon it. 2. What God has said shall never be unsaid: All his commandments are sure, all straight and therefore all steady. His purposes, the rule of his actions, shall all have their accomplishment: Has he spoken, and will he not make it good? No doubt he will; whether he commands light or darkness, it is done as he commands. His precepts, the rule of our actions, are unquestionably just and good, and therefore unchangeable and not to be repealed; his promises and threatenings are all sure, and will be made good; nor shall the unbelief of man make either the one or the other of no effect. They are established, and therefore they stand fast for ever and ever, and the scripture cannot be broken. The wise God is never put upon new counsels, nor obliged to take new measures, either in his laws or in his providences. All is said, as all is done, in truth and uprightness, and therefore it is immutable. Men’s folly and falsehood make them unstable in all their ways, but infinite wisdom and truth for ever exclude retraction and revocation: He has commanded his covenant for ever. God’s covenant is commanded, for he has made it as one that has an incontestable authority to prescribe both what we must do and what we must expect, and an unquestionable ability to perform both what he has promised in the blessings of the covenant and what he has threatened in the curses of it, Ps. 105:8.
III. For the setting up and establishing of religion among men. Because holy and reverend is his name, and the fear of him is the beginning of wisdom, therefore his praise endureth for ever, that is, he is to be everlastingly praised. 1. Because the discoveries of religion tend so much to his honour. Review what he has made known of himself in his word and in his works, and you will see, and say, that God is great and greatly to be feared; for his name is holy, his infinite purity and rectitude appear in all that whereby he has made himself known, and because it is holy therefore it is reverend, and to be thought of and mentioned with a holy awe. Note, What is holy is reverend; the angels have an eye to God’s holiness when they cover their faces before him, and nothing is more man’s honour than his sanctification. It is in his holy places that God appears most terrible, Ps. 68:35; Lev. 10:3. 2. Because the dictates of religion tend so much to man’s happiness. We have reason to praise God that the matter is so well contrived that our reverence of him and obedience to him are as much our interest as they are our duty. (1.) Our reverence of him is so: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is not only reasonable that we should fear God, because his name is reverend and his nature is holy, but it is advantageous to us. It is wisdom; it will direct us to speak and act as becomes us, in a consistency with ourselves, and for our own benefit. It is the head of wisdom, that is (as we read it), it is the beginning of wisdom. Men can never begin to be wise till they begin to fear God; all true wisdom takes its rise from true religion, and has its foundation in it. Or, as some understand it, it is the chief wisdom, and the most excellent, the first in dignity. It is the principal wisdom, and the principal of wisdom, to worship God and give honour to him as our Father and Master. Those manage well who always act under the government of his holy fear. (2.) Our obedience to him is so: A good understanding have all those that do his commandments. Where the fear of the Lord rules in the heart there will be a constant conscientious care to keep his commandments, not to talk of them, but to do them; and such have a good understanding, that is, [1.] They are well understood; their obedience is graciously accepted as a plain indication of their mind that they do indeed fear God. Compare Prov. 3:4; So shalt thou find favour and good understanding. God and man will look upon those as meaning well, and approve of them, who make conscience of their duty, though they have their mistakes. What is honestly intended shall be well taken. [2.] They understand well. First, It is a sign that they do understand well. The most obedient are accepted as the most intelligent; those understand themselves and their interest best that make God’s law their rule and are in every thing ruled by it. A great understanding those have that know God’s commandments and can discourse learnedly of them, but a good understanding have those that do them and walk according to them. Secondly, It is the way to understand better: A good understanding are they to all that do them; the fear of the Lord and the laws of that give men a good understanding, and are able to make them wise unto salvation. If any man will do his will, he shall know more and more clearly of the doctrine of Christ, John 7:17. Good success have all those that do them (so the margin), according to what was promised to Joshua if he would observe to do according to the law. Josh. 1:8; Then thou shalt make thy way prosperous and shalt have good success. We have reason to praise God, to praise him for ever, for putting man into such a fair way to happiness. Some apply the last words rather to the good man who fears the Lord than to the good God: His praise endures for ever. It is not of men perhaps, but it is of God (Rom. 2:29), and that praise which is of God endures for ever when the praise of men is withered and gone.
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