Delightful Understanding – Psalm 111


The relationship between science and religion is a huge and complex subject, and I’m sure we will never tire of debating it. As someone who is happy to embrace both the insights of science and of religion in my own understanding of the world, I was particularly struck by verse two of this psalm. ‘How wonderful are the things the Lord does! All who are delighted with them want to understand them’.

Now of course the psalmist has a world view far removed from our 21st century one. However he does bring together two words very helpfully – delight and understanding. It seems to me that this is a good description of where I stand. I do delight in the world God has made (what a wonderfully rich and suggestive word!). From this delight springs my longing to understand more about it.

When our thirst for knowledge springs not from a desire to assert ourselves, but from a delight in what we have been given, then I think we are in a good spiritual place.

Psalm 111

Praise the LORD!
With all my heart I will thank the LORD
in the assembly of his people.
2 How wonderful are the things the LORD does!
All who are delighted with them want to understand them.
3 All he does is full of honour and majesty;
his righteousness is eternal.

4 The LORD does not let us forget his wonderful actions;
he is kind and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who honour him;
he never forgets his covenant.
6 He has shown his power to his people
by giving them the lands of foreigners.

7 In all he does he is faithful and just;

all his commands are dependable.

8 They last for all time;
they were given in truth and righteousness.
9 He set his people free
and made an eternal covenant with them.
Holy and mighty is he!
10 The way to become wise is to honour the LORD;[1]
he gives sound judgement to all who obey his commands.
He is to be praised for ever.

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