Summary: At a time when we are mindful of all that we have, the proper response to God’s blessings is to praise Him for the favor He has showed us, and the great things He has done in our lives.
Thankful In Praise
At a time when we are mindful of all that we have, the proper response to God’s blessings is to praise Him for the favor He has showed us, and the great things He has done in our lives. Simply being thankful is not enough; in fact, it’s the least we can do. Taking time to voice a prayer or other form of expression of praise to God is the correct response for all He has done in our lives.
Turn with me now to Psalm 111. This psalm that we will be looking at tonight is a hymn of praise, celebrating the awesome things the Lord has done for His people. This evening, I want to divide this psalm into three parts: Praising God for His Greatness, Praising God for His Provision, and Praising God out of Love and Respect.
I. Praising God for His Greatness vv. 1-3
I’ve shared with you on many occasions that for eleven years I worked for the Sherwin-Williams Company. Half of that time was spent in management. One of my main responsibilities in that role was to supervise, and part of that process involved acknowledging when my employees did something good such as working in the face of rejection, handling a difficult situation well, catching a mistake, giving another employee a helping hand, selling a new product for the first time, or giving me a lead that proves fruitful. I found out that the best sort of reinforcement in those situations was public praise. It’s one thing to tell someone that they’re doing a good job in private but when you perform that same action in public, it carries the effectiveness to an entire different level. They are more likely to repeat that action when the praise is given in front of their peers.
Verse 1 talks about praising God “in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.” Simply put, that means that the author is very public with His praise of God. He doesn’t shy away from praising God where people can see Him. Think about how this applies to your life. When have you shown praise to God in public, or in a group of your friends/coworkers outside of church, outside of the faith? We don’t have a problem in the world shouting and cheering at the top of our lungs for our favorite team, but not only do we shy away from praising God outside of these four walls, but somehow we even find it difficult to lift our hands during worship or come to alter during invitation because we are scared of what others are going to think. What’s keeping you from publicly taking opportunities to acknowledge God’s greatness, or guidance in your life?
Verse 2 reminds us to not only think about, but to “study” the incredible things God has done in this world, and in our lives. We always take an enthusiastic interest in the activities and projects of those we deeply love. So it should only be natural then that we take a similar approach in studying the works of God, beginning with the Bible.
When we stop and reflect on all the great things God has done in this world and in our lives…we remember God’s greatness in how He created the world, called people to Himself, set a plan in motion to redeem us, love us, etc. When we personalize this, we begin to see how faithful God has been in our lives; how he has taken care of us and provided for us.
The last part of verse 2 refers to those who “pleasure” in the great works of the Lord. This is where thankfulness and praise come in. As a result of God’s good works in our lives and in the world around us, we lift up joyful praise; we acknowledge Him with gladness.
II. Praising God for His Provision vv. 4-9
Verses 4-6 are particularly relevant for Thanksgiving. They speak to God’s providing for the needs of His people. These verses attribute to God the power to provide food and land (basically, a place to call home). We still see God meeting these same types of basic needs in our lives today.
Verse 4 shows us the motivation for why God is so giving. “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.” Think of how God has met some of your needs this year, or in the past. How has He shown you grace (kindness that you don’t deserve) or compassion?
Verses 7-9 provide us with some really incredible reminders of God’s character (in the words of other translations)…”faithful; just; trustworthy; steadfast; upright; holy; awesome.” Just by simply writing these attributes of God, the author of this psalm is praising God. When we pray, we can consider how God has provided for us in the past, and tell Him about it. We can show God we remember His hand of protection over our lives, and the loving ways He has provided for us.