REASONS TO BE THANKFUL
Lord, ingratitude is not in our vocabulary.
Read PSALM 111
1 Praise the Lord.[b]
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 forever.
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 forever.
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 established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
You might like to pray: ‘Don’t let me settle for the shallows of mere religious compliance. Fill me with the joyful fear that comes as we seek Your face.’ (Timothy Keller, My Rock; My Refuge, Hodder & Stoughton, 2018)
This psalm forms a pair with Psalm 112, the first focusing upon the Lord, the next upon His people. That has to be the right way round! Jesus teaches us to begin prayer by acknowledging ‘Our Father in heaven’ (Matt 6:9), His transcendence and His nearness guiding and shaping the rest of our thoughts. So, ‘Praise the Lord’ (1) is the place to start. The rest of the psalm explains why – fixing our eyes on His provision, His promises, His power, His faithfulness and justice, His redemption. It’s a psalm to work through slowly, stopping at each verse to ponder and wonder at the Lord who is willing to be called, ‘Our Father’.
Praising the Lord aright means being wholehearted and public about it. It is something that the psalmist is going to do in front of others, seeking out others to share his enthusiastic appreciation of the Lord. Our enthusiasm can be expressed in many styles (quiet but genuine; loud but truth-filled). However, ‘with all my heart’ (1) does not leave any room for lukewarmness. The route to warming up our hearts is to ponder the Lord’s works (2), gaining insight by the power of the Holy Spirit to take delight in His righteousness, grace and compassion. We need the Spirit to give us the wisdom to distinguish God at work (1 Cor 2:10–16). Then we can be proper historians, reading history and seeing God’s gracious work in the provision of manna in the wilderness, the conquering of the Promised Land and, prior to that, in God’s giving His people unique laws and redeeming them from Egyptian bondage (5–7). Today, we may revel in their equivalents in the greater work of Christ in the new covenant, which brings better promises to us. It is entirely appropriate that we fear this God who judges our work as our father (See 1 Pet 1:17).
Rather than just chat about the weather over coffee (!), who might you ‘extol the LORD’ (1) before today?
Lord, we have so many reasons to be thankful to You. You have given to us all that we need to function.