Summary: This is about worshipping God.
“I prefer to worship God at the lake. After all I am surrounded by his creation. And the creation is beautiful. I mean isn’t great to be able to worship God out in creation.”
Have your ever heard that? I have. Now I am one who has marveled at the incredible creations of God. From the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to the Everglades of Florida and from the mighty flowing waters of the Mississippi to the crystal blue water of the Caribbean we can all see the awesome creative power of God. It is certainly a good idea to reflect on the creative power of God when observing his creation.
The Bible, on numerous occasions, encourages us to seek the community of worshippers. There is something about the gathered group of God’s people expressing praise and worship together.
I love baseball. I like to listen to it on the radio. I like to watch it on TV. All of those are great, but there is nothing quite like sitting in the stands on a warm summer’s evening. You can smell the game. The hot dogs are cooking. The popcorn is popping. There’s the smell of the fresh cut grass, unless you are at one of those stadiums with fake grass. You can hear the crack of the bat and the smack of the glove. The sound of the crowd is much clearer when you are at the game.
That’s like public worship. When can listen to church on the radio or watch it on TV, but there is nothing like being in the assembly of the people of God.
Turn with me to Psalm 111.
Read Psalm 111.
Authentic Public Worship
The psalmist is calling for authentic public worship in verse one. He calls us to thank God with our “whole heart in the company of the upright in the congregation.”
I’m nowhere near being a scholar of biblical languages, but I find it interesting what the first phrase is in Hebrew. I don’t spend a lot of time going into the original language. The Hebrew word for praise is hallal, and the Hebrew word for Lord is Yahweh, or shortened to Yah. When you combine those two words you get Hallelujah. So essentially when you say, “Hallelujah,” you are saying, “Praise the Lord” in Hebrew. Now you can impress all your friends by claiming to know how to speak some Hebrew.
The psalmist is testifying to the fact that he goes to church. He worships God with every fiber of his being. He expresses his thanks for God in front of God’s people. He worships God in public.
I will admit that it is possible to worship God in private, by oneself. I do that. But there is just something exciting about worshipping the living God in the “company of the upright.” It is almost electric when a group of people are worshipping and thanking God. It is exciting and contagious.
The excitement catches on. I’ve been at ball games where someone tries to start the wave. You know the wave. Where people stand up and sit down real quick, and it looks like a wave rippling through the stadium. It often starts in the corner of the cheap seats with someone who is enthusiastic. At first very few participate, but after a while the whole stadium is into it and cheering wildly. It is infectious.
The psalmist also indicates that his worship is authentic. It is out of a heart of real love that he expresses his thanks to God. The whole heart encompasses the whole being. The psalmist is basically saying that he worships God with every part of his being. When we worship God with our whole heart or being, we push out any distractions that may be around us.
What are we to thank God for? This is a good question, and the psalmist answers it for us. This psalm has a crescendo. It builds up to a fantastic finish.
God’s Works Are Great
Verse 2 declares, “Great are the works of the Lord.” The psalmist spends verse 2 through 4 telling us that works of the Lord are great.
He also encourages us to read our Bible in verse 2. We are to study the works of the Lord. The more we study the works of the Lord, the more we are in awe of him. Those who delight in the Lord study his works. The psalmist was likely referring to the great event of Israel’s past. The exodus, and the other events are remembered.
Look at verses 2 through 4. Look at the words used to describe the works of the Lord. They are “great,” “full of splendor and majesty,” “wondrous,” “gracious,” “merciful” and they will “be remembered.” Those are seven descriptions in just three verses. Do you think the psalmist is excited about the works of God? I do.