When we are caught up in the beauty and perfection of something, we can’t help but praise it. From a friend or spouse, to a sunset or an artistic work, we are moved to praise that which we love.
In Psalm 111, the psalmist exudes praise for the steadfast love of God who shows love by feeding the people, by remembering the covenant, by providing redemption, and by acting on behalf of the people. Praise flows from the psalmist for God’s majesty and splendor, God’s power and trustworthy works. Following an acrostic format, the psalm highlights for the people the character of the God they worship.
The awe and perfection of our Creator can either distance us from God through fear or draw us toward God in love. The fear spoken of in Psalm 111:10 is not the fear that limits the fullness of our lives. Instead, “fear of the LORD” is a reverence and awe for God’s authority and power, which leads us to worship.
Yet God has come near. The Lord has made a covenant with Israel and has sustained the covenant with redemptive works of provision and sustenance. God has given God’s people a place and a trustworthy foundation for all knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Through God's goodness, the Creator has drawn the people to worship.
How we ultimately view God will affect whether or not we are drawn toward intimate worship. Helpfully, the psalm also identifies where this reverent worship takes place: in the congregation. As we stay tethered to a community of believers in the church, we hear the good covenantal deeds of our God week by week. There we come to rehearse, sing, and praise our good God.
Help me, God, to name your good deeds in my life. May your splendor lead me to worship. Remove anything that hinders my praise. Amen.
This week’s readings center on God’s authority. In Deuteronomy God promises to raise up a prophet to guide the people, and God warns the people not to listen to voices that do not speak for God. The psalmist overflows with praise for God’s great works. God is powerful and awesome, yet also gracious and merciful. Paul instructs the Corinthians to place the rights of others before their own rights. A person’s conscience may allow one to exercise freedom in Christ; however, with this freedom comes responsibility. We must surrender our own rights, if necessary, for the good of others. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus shows his power over the forces of darkness: Even the unclean spirits recognize and obey him.
Read Deuteronomy 18:15-20. To whom or to what setting do you turn when you yearn to hear God’s voice?
Read Psalm 111. For what are you praising God today? How have you experienced God’s steadfast love recently?
Read 1 Corinthians 8:1-13. What do you think of Paul’s statement, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up”? Can you think of examples of this in your everyday life?
Read Mark 1:21-28. How do you react to the concept of authority? How does the authority of Jesus differ from the authority we may encounter in the world?
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