1 Praise the LORD. I will extol the LORD with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them. 3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures for ever. 4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate. 5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant for ever. 6 He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations. 7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. 8 They are steadfast for ever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness. 9 He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant for ever – holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
Psalm 111 – Worship, works and wisdom
(Verse 1) This simple verse teaches two very important lessons to everyone who has been ‘born again’ by trusting in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. According to Jesus and the Bible, the only people who should say they are ‘Christians’ are those who have been ‘born again’. (John 3: 3-7)
First, a Christian should always praise the LORD, even in hard circumstances, and to do that he must ‘extol the LORD’. ‘Extol’ means to ‘raise up’. Our lives and words should help others, both believers and unbelievers, to have the highest view of our Saviour God. This we should do ‘with all [our] heart’. Second, we should do that before Christian leaders (‘the council of the upright’), and also along with our fellow believers in services and meetings (‘and in the assembly’), and in daily life.
(Verses 2-9) There are so many reasons to praise God. See if you can add any to this list taken from these verses:
- God does great works, such as Creation, Redemption, Resurrection, Conversion.
- God’s deeds show His glory and majesty.
- God is righteous forever.
- God makes His wonders memorable.
- God is gracious and compassionate.
- God feeds those who fear Him.
- God keeps and honours His word: He ‘remembers His covenant forever.’
- God is powerful: He use His power to help and bless His people – Israel then physically, and Christians now spiritually.
- God’s works are always faithful and just.
- God’s precepts (teachings) are trustworthy and steadfast (reliable) and show God is eternally faithful and upright.
- God provides redemption for us. Redemption means to ‘buy back’: Jesus bought us back from sin, selfishness, judgment and Hell by taking the penalty and punishment for our sins on the cross and rising again. We become God’s people if we turn from our sins and trust in Jesus.
- God’s covenant – His eternally binding commitment to us – through Christ, really is forever! Heaven is for keeps also!
- God is holy. He hates all sin – including ours, and we must seek to be holy.
- God is awesome: to the Christian, He is Saviour, Friend, Father, and Comforter. But on sinners who will not repent from sin and trust in Him, His awesome holiness and justice will be poured out eternally in judgment in Hell. That is why He ‘now commands all people everywhere to repent’. (Acts 17:30) Have you repented?
(Verse 10) One of the Bible’s best known verses is ‘The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom’ Holy reverence and awe for God, and right fear of being judged for our sins, should lead us to repent and ask Him to forgive us and become our Lord and Master. We then begin to know His wisdom as we ask for it (James 1:5) and daily learn His word, the Bible, which is wisdom-packed. It is vital to follow that wise teaching. This produces understanding and praise to God forever!