Scripture: Psalm 111:1, ‘I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.’
Observations: This psalm is an acrostic, which means that each stanza starts with each successive Hebrew letter in the alphabet. The psalmist expresses his love and amazement at God. And he starts by giving thanks with his whole heart. Both giving thanks and whole-heartedness are key themes in the Bible. Because God is gracious i.e. he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, the proper response is thanksgiving, or gratitude. And because God is God he deserves the first place in our lives. Rather than honour him half-heartedly, we’re to worship him with all our heart. But the psalmist also makes appoint that this isn’t a personal venture, but something that we do ‘in the company of the upright, in the congregation.’ Our worship isn’t just a personal response to God’s grace and majesty, it is also meant to encourage other people. Our honour of God is enhanced when it is proclaimed publically. It’s not that we want others to see us worship and think highly of us, but that they will hear how awesome God is and think highly of God.
Application: Firstly, if you have experienced God’s grace do you respond with thanksgiving? Are you grateful for God’s love expressed in Jesus Christ? Do you constantly thank God for how he has forgiven your sins? Secondly, do you honour God with all your heart? Have you given your all to God, whether that’s your commitment, your time, or your energy? Thirdly, are you committed to the public expression of your faith, particularly with God’s people? Are you in church every Sunday worshipping God with your brothers and sisters in Christ?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, even though I am a sinner who deserves Your condemnation, You sent Your Son, Jesus to die for my sins on the cross, so that I could be saved from an eternity separated from You. Lord, there is nothing I can do except thank You for Your mercy and grace. Lord, may I love You with all my heart, as You have loved me. Lord, forgive me when I am half-hearted in my service, or half-hearted in my gratitude. Fill my heart with Your Holy Spirit that it might all be Yours. And Lord, may I encourage Your people wherever they are to remember Your great love in Jesus Christ, and to worship You with all their hearts as well. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.