1 Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. 2 Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. 3 Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. 4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful. 5 He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant. 6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. 7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. 8 They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.
Summary – From A to Z, our Psalmist has no difficulty finding reasons why we should praise the Creator. Each poetic line begins with and then runs through the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet; this is known as an acrostic. Our Lord deserves whole hearted praise and thanks simply because he is who he is: the Creator of the universe. His great works certainly include the making and sustaining of this amazing universe; but this particular Psalm seems to be focusing on his redemptive works as an example of God’s upstanding and mighty character.
Insight – Whether as a community or together as a family, each of us should strive for a personal and genuine worship of God. Connecting our hearts with praise seems only natural. But, I find it interesting that this Psalm connects worship with wisdom as well. Biblical wisdom is not so much about how knowledgeable you are, but closer to how well you make decisions. One key skill when making decisions is what the Army calls situational awareness, that is understanding where you are. Each one of us are a part of God’s covenant people. Each one of us are connected to the stories found in church history and the Bible. And each of us have our own stories to tell. This Psalmist says that as we reflect on all these stories, and share the great things God has done with one another, we will better understand the Lord and how he operates. And together with his Spirit, we will find a new found respect for our Lord God. And it this respect, this fear of God, that will not only improve our decision making in life, but will improve our worship as well.
Child Catechism – What is the beginning of wisdom? The Fear of the Lord.
Discussion – How does wisdom help us make better choices in life? How could the fear of the Lord give us wisdom for better choices?
Prayer – Father,
we are so thankful for who you are and what you do
we hold fast to your promises
give us wisdom to make good choices
and to glorify and honor your awesome name in all that we do
we praise you in Spirit and True
with our whole hearts and minds may we study your ways
in the power of your Spirit and in the name of your Son Jesus. Amen.
Contributed by Malcolm West