Summary: Psalm 111 calls on beleivers to praise God for His greatness and goodness.
A Call To Praise God
Two young newlyweds were preparing to enjoy their first baked ham dinner in their new apartment. After unwrapping the meat and setting it on the cutting board, the wife chopped off both ends of the ham with a knife and tossed the two small ends in the garbage can.
"Wait a minute," said the mystified husband. "Why did you do that? Why did you just cut off the ends of the ham and throw them away?"
"I don’t know. My mother always did," answered the wife. "Maybe it helps bring out the flavor."
Unsatisfied with this answer, the husband called his mother-in-law. "Can you tell me why you cut the two ends off a ham before you cook it?"
"Well," said the mother, "I’m not really sure why. That’s just the way my mother did her ham, and it was always delicious."
As soon as he hung up he called his wife’s grandmother. "Grandma, we have an important question for you. Can you tell us why you cut the ends off a ham before you cook it?"
"Oh, my yes, dear," answered Grandma in her quiet, thin voice. "I cut the ends of the ham off so it would fit in my pan."
Traditions shape our lives, but its important to know why we do them. "Because we’ve always done it that way" doesn’t provide enough meaning to keep our traditions from becomeing stale and meaningless.
We may have recieved our worship traditions from great great grandparents, but for us to offer authentic worship we ned to understand the meaning behind the traditions. Jesus urged his followers to "worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24) If our worship seems lifeless and dull, perhaps we’re just going through the motions instead of really offering God true worship.
I want to spend a few minutes this morning talking about true worship. Psalm 111 is a psalm that will help us see some of the elements of real worship. Psalm 111 and 112 are twin psalms. Psalm 111 talks about how good God is and Psalm 112 talks about how that applies to how we live. Both are acrostic psalms--each verse begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This is Hebrew poetry--specifically crafted to help us focus on God. Because it is an acrostic poem, we need to be careful that we don’t try to make the way the psalmist says things over and over seem redundant or repetitious. Let’s just remember that sometimes Hebrew poetry repeats itself.
God has preserved these psalms for us so we can learn from them and be challenged by them. We’ll look at Psalm 112 next week, but this week, let’s learn some lessons about worship from Psalm 111.
1. Where do I praise?
A. In the company of friends vs. 1
company = circle of friends/fellowship.
Used in 25:14 as the word "secret"
Used in 55:14 as "we who had sweet fellowship together."
Therefore: praise God with your closest and most intimate friends. Therefore--if you can’t praise God to those friends, why are they that intimate? Unless they share the same praise for God, they don’t have the same heart, and we should not be that close to them!
B. In the congregation vs. 1
I did a study of this word "praise." Although it is used for talking highly or glowingly about other things, it is usually applied to praising the God of Israel. One third of the times it is used occur int he Psalms. Almost all of those times it appears in the PLURAL, showing us that church life needs to involve praising God. We cannot be what God wants us to be and not include praise in our church.