It's always interesting to me where I land in my "Bible Pick 'Ems."
This week is a great pick!
We have landed in Psalm 111:
"Praise the LORD!
I will thank the LORD with all my heart
as I meet with his godly people.
How amazing are the deeds of the LORD!
All who delight in him should ponder them.
Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our LORD!
…All he does is just and good,
and all his commands are trustworthy.
They are forever true,
to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.
He has paid a full ransom for his people.
He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
Praise him forever!" (Psalm 111:1-4, 7-10)
A little background. Psalms 111-118 are called *hallelujah psalms.* The word hallelujah literally means "praise the LORD" – and it is an expression of great joy. Don't you think that perfectly reflects the uplifting and optimistic tone of these heartfelt songs?!
Psalm 111 is like an ode to our wonderful God, the Almighty LORD, the One that we all worship. It is an affirmation that all that God does is good. It contends that reverence for God is the beginning of wisdom.
It is a beautiful outpouring of love.
And the Bible does not record who wrote it.
There are a total of 50 anonymous psalms, and there is widespread speculation on who the authors might be – including Ezra and Hezekiah. But for some reason, God has chosen to keep these authors anonymous.
And so, I enjoyed reading this psalm as if I wrote it.
These eight verses contain meaty truth!
Here's what came to my mind:
Verse 1 – We should practice being grateful, really and truly grateful, with our whole hearts. And a great place to be thankful is in the community of believers – ("as I meet with his godly people")
Verse 2 – We must cultivate and nurture our sense of awe at what God does. He is amazing. We should delight in Him, and ponder – (one of my favorite pastimes) – really think on, meditate on, contemplate His mighty deeds. (Definition of ponder: To reflect or consider with thoroughness and care)
Verse 3 – Everything He does reveals His glory and majesty. That includes the *bad stuff* of life – the difficulties, the struggles, the suffering – ALL things are good. HIS righteousness is perfect. (In Greek the word for "righteousness" is dikaiosune, which literally means equity of character. Equity of character is to possess all good qualities in perfection and perfect balance)
Verse 4 – It is the work of the Holy Spirit within us that continues to make us aware of God. HE causes us to remember. What a reflection of God's grace and mercy! He does not ask us to do what His Spirit will not enable us to do.
Verse 7 – God is both just and good. (I thought this definition of God's justice was really good – that perfection of his nature whereby he is infinitely righteous in himself and in all he does, the righteousness of the divine nature exercised in his moral government. Justice is not an optional product of his will, but an unchangeable principle of his very nature)
And because God is perfectly good, and perfectly just, then all of His commandments are trustworthy – eminently worthy of trust. We can depend on them.
Verse 8 – God's words are eternal. His Truth stands forever. Our part in it? To obey faithfully (adhering firmly and devotedly) and with integrity (adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty). Faithful integrity reflects the God we serve. It is a necessary character trait that all of God's children (as representatives and ambassadors) should have.
Verse 9 – The ransom here pictures the rescue by God of the Israelites. Ransom means "to free from captivity by paying a price." Of course, we know that the ultimate ransom was paid by Jesus on the cross, forever freeing us from sin. His ransom was indeed FULL – once and for all.
God's covenant – the new covenant sealed by the blood of Christ – is guaranteed. The Holy Spirit is the seal on our souls. And this contract cannot be changed, for it is based on the immutable promises of God.
Yes, what a holy and awe-inspiring name He has!!
Verse 10 – The only way to become truly wise is to fear God. I loved this definition:
the fear of the Lord: an inward attitude of humble reverence toward God, in light of His self-revelation, that results in outward expression of Christlikeness
"According to this definition, the fear of the Lord involves two parts. The first is the inward attitude. This attitude is humble because as the Lord reveals His character, His majesty, His power and holiness, we are humbled before Him. We realize that God alone is worthy of our devotion and reverence. The second part is the outward obedience, which flows from this inward humility. God reveals Himself to us so we will obey Him. The two parts are linked." (Find the link to the whole article here):
The more we know Him, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the more we obey Him. The more we obey Him, the more we become like Him. And that is the beginning of true wisdom – the secret to life.
No wonder the author of Psalm 111 ended with his resounding coda!
So do I!
PRAISE HIM FOREVER!
A big amen to that.
Won't you join me today in celebrating this psalm, and thanking God for all He is and all He's done?!
"When in doubt, search God out!"