I love the Psalms. And today I want to introduce to you Psalm 111, and I want you to see the significance of this great psalm for those of us who are Christians today and what it teaches us about praising the Lord.

ROBERT >> I love the Psalms. And today I want to introduce to you Psalm 111, and I want you to see the significance of this great psalm for those of us who are Christians today and what it teaches us about praising the Lord. I hope you’ll stay tuned. We’ll be back in just a moment.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth,
speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> It has been my privilege for the last several years to teach the book of Psalms to our preaching students, and I have found that many of those students have never realized just how significant the Psalms are for us today. And I think there are many of us who are Christians who have failed to see the importance of this great book.

Did you know that the Psalms is a source of many of our songs that we sing today in our churches?

For example, I Will Call Upon the Lord comes from Psalm 18.

We have several renditions of Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd.

And it may be used also to help us learn how to pray to God, how to address God in prayer and to be honest with him and to trust him in our prayers. The Psalms provide a book of Christian evidences, because they contain numerous references to the Messiah, the Christ who was to come, which are fulfilled in Jesus, proving that there is a God, that the Bible is the word of God, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. For example, in Psalm 22 it speaks of him being pierced in his hands and feet.

In Psalm 16 it speaks of his victorious resurrection from the dead on the third day. And in the Psalms are found many great principles for Christian living.

Peter quotes Psalm 34 in 1 Peter 3 to tell us how to live a good life, and Jesus’ teaching on being merciful in Matthew 5:7 comes from Psalm 41.

Do you remember these words from Romans 15:4 concerning the things that were written in the Old Testament, including the Psalms?

Here’s what the apostle Paul wrote: “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

Yes, of those Old Testament scriptures, in the book of Psalms we find there are things for us to learn. We find comfort. We find hope there in the Psalms.

And so today I want to consider with you one of those psalms, Psalm 111. Now, I’m nowhere being a scholar of Biblical languages, but I find it interesting what the first phrase is here in the Hebrew. In the English it says, Praise the Lord. But the Hebrew word for praise here is halal, and the Hebrew word for Lord here is Yahweh, or shortened to Ya. And when you combine those two words, you get hallelujah. So essentially when you say hallelujah, you’re saying praise the Lord in Hebrew.

Now you can impress all your friends by claiming to know how to speak some Hebrew. Let’s look today how Psalm 111 addresses five questions that we might ask about praising the Lord.

First of all, let’s ask, how are we to praise the Lord? And look at the answer here in Psalm 111:1. “I will praise the Lord with my whole heart.”

Yes, the psalmist indicates that his worship is genuine, that it’s authentic. It’s out of a heart of real love that he expresses his praise 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.

In Ephesians 5:19, I want you to notice what the apostle Paul says concerning our worship of God with various psalms and other songs like the psalms.

In Ephesians chapter 5 he is speaking to the church at Ephesus about their worship to God. And here’s what he writes: “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to Lord.”

You see, we are to sing from the heart these psalms to God.

In Colossians 3:16 we see a similar thing. Here the apostle Paul writes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

So you see, as we open our mouths and we praise the Lord, let’s be careful that our heart accompanies that singing, that we are truly striking the chords of the heart within us, that we might sing to God with our whole being. It appears that a lot of so-called praise today is more about entertaining, it’s more about putting on a good show and seeking the praise of men rather than the praise of God. Let’s remember that in worship, God is the audience, that we are the performers, and that we perform for his glory, not for ours, that we are to perform with all our hearts. To praise God is more than simply singing; it’s a genuine expression of our hearts in worship to God. But now let me ask a second question today. Where are we to praise the Lord? And again I want you to go back to verse 1 of Psalm 111. Here at the end of that verse he says, “In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.”

Yes, we are to praise the Lord among God’s people.

Now, I know that many say I’ll just worship God alone in my home or out in the woods or by the lake. I can feel closer to God out there in creation, in nature. But the psalmist is testifying to the fact that he goes to church. He expresses his praise for God among God’s people. He worships God publicly as well as privately. I’ll admit that it’s possible to worship God in private; and we ought to do that, just you and God, just me and God, that’s the way we ought to worship him. I do that, you do that; but there’s just something exciting, enthusiastic, and wonderful and about worshiping the living God in the assembly of the upright. It’s almost electric when a group of people are worshiping and thanking God. It’s exciting and it’s contagious.

I’ve watched a few Ranger games on TV, and I’ve listened some on the radio, but there’s nothing quite like being there.

When I talk about the Rangers, for you who may not know, that’s the Texas Rangers, that’s our baseball team. You go out there, and you can smell the popcorn and the hot dogs, and you can hear the crack of the bat, you feel the enthusiasm in the stands. When someone starts the wave, you know everybody gets up and starts the wave. You know the wave, where people stand up, they sit down real quick. It looks like a wave rippling through the stadium. It often starts in the corner of some cheap seats up there in the top, someone who’s very enthusiastic, and at first just a few participate, but after a while the whole stadium is into it, and they’re cheering wildly. It’s infectious.

Well, that’s like public worship.

You can listen to church on the radio, you can watch it on TV, but there’s nothing like being in the assembly of the people of God. The Bible on numerous occasions encourages us to seek the community of worshipers.

Look with me for example in Hebrews the 10th chapter, beginning in verse 24, and look what the Hebrew writer encourages us to do. Here he says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching.”

You see, we’re to come together so we can stir each other up, so we can encourage one another in the worship of the Lord.

In Hebrews 2:12, here the Bible also says, “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”

There’s something wonderful about the gathered group of God’s people expressing praise and worship together that cannot be experienced anywhere else.

Now I want you to think about a third question today. VV For what are we to praise the Lord?VV Here in Psalm 111, we learn that we’re to praise the Lord with our whole heart in the assembly of God’s people; but we also learn what it is that we’re to be praising the Lord for.

In verse 2 the scripture says, “The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever.”

He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. He has given food to those who fear Him; He will ever be mindful of His covenant. He has declared to His people the power of His works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. The works of His hands are verity and justice; all His precepts are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever.

You see, if you look at these verses, you see words used to describe the works of the Lord?

I noticed as I was reading through some of these words: Great and pleasurable and honorable and glorious and righteous, enduring and wonderful and gracious and full of compassion and powerful and verified and just and sure and firm and truthful and upright.

Do you think the psalmist is excited about the works of God?

He tells us that the works of the Lord are to be studied there in verse 2. Studied by all.

And remembered, he says in verse 4, “His wonderful works to be remembered.”

That’s why we’re exploring this psalm. It’s when these things are impressed upon our minds that we’re led to praise him. Notice the works of the Lord seen in creation. He points us to these marvelous works of nature. Even if one never opened a Bible, the works of the Lord are always before his eyes.

In Psalm 19:1, if you’ll back up there with me for just a moment, you’ll see what the psalmist wrote about this. The psalmist, David, probably remembered those days as a shepherd boy lying out by the sheep and looking up to the stars at night. And here he writes, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.”

I’ve always been impressed by the vastness and the wonder of our universe. I remember the first time that I saw the majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Took my breath away. In Alaska, we took a helicopter to the top of a huge glacier. It was incredible. I’ve sailed on the crystal blue water of the Caribbean and witnessed some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. We can all see the awesome creative power of God. And for that he made those things for the very reason that we might study them and remember them and praise him. But the works of the Lord are also seen in his faithful care for his people. The psalmist reminds us of how God was so faithful to care for the Israelites.

You’ll notice again here back in verse 5, where he says, “He has given food to those who fear Him; he will ever be mindful of His covenant.”

This takes us all the way back to the Exodus. The Lord provides food. As the people came out of Egypt and into the wilderness, he provided manna for them in the dessert. That mysterious food appeared every day, Sunday through Friday for 40 years. Someone estimated that it would take 1,500 tons of food, that’s two freight trains a mile long every day, 4,000 tons of firewood. That’s a few more trains every day. 11 million gallons of water. That’s a train with water tanks 1,800 miles long every day. That’s what it took to care for those Israelites, God’s people in the wilderness for those 40 years. And we have that same God today, who cares for the faithful.

Do we trust the Lord to take care of us?

You know, three times in Matthew 6 Jesus says, Don’t worry. Don’t worry. He promises that God will take care of our needs if we’ll make him our priority in life.

Matthew 6:33, he said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Are we really thankful for what God has provided for us?

On an episode of The Simpsons, Bart, the foul-mouthed little boy, was asked to pray before a meal. And he said, God, since we paid for the food ourselves, thanks for nothing. We’re shocked, we’re horrified that someone could utter such words. But that’s often our attitude. We’ve become so self-reliant that we offer only lip service to God for what he’s given us. Notice in verse 6 of our psalm where the Israelites are reminded how God brought them to the promised land. He’s declared to His people the power of His works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. He kicked out the former inhabitants of that promised land, he put them, the Israelites, in that land, and he gave them the inheritance that he had promised them. The Lord gave the Israelites, as the Bible says in many places, a land flowing with milk and honey.

He’s given us a land of incredible bounty here in America. God has given us so much. Praise the Lord. But I also want to remind you of these greater works. The works of the Lord are seen in redemption.

In verse 9 of Psalm 111 it says, “He sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever.”

Yes, redemption was provided by God through Jesus Christ. It means the buying back of something. The Lord redeemed the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt. The Lord had made a promise to their forefather, Abraham. And when he delivered them from Egypt, he redeemed them. He bought them back from slavery. He made a covenant with Abraham. And he wouldn’t forget about it.

This was just a picture of the greater redemption of all nations through Jesus the Christ. Through the death of Jesus God has redeemed us from slavery, from that slavery of sin.

He’s redeemed us, he set us free from that to live for God. “You were redeemed, not with silver and gold, not those corruptible things, but with the precious blood of the Lamb without spot or blemish,” 1 Peter 1:18-19.

Because of that, we’re now the people of God. He’s redeemed us, he saved us. Above all else, we should praise the Lord for that fact. As much as anyone else, I love to see the beauty of God’s creation; but even more, I love to see the beauty of his new creation in the hearts of people.

2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us, “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Indeed, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” as Paul explained in Ephesians 2:10.

In Romans 6:4 we learn when that takes place. “Having been put to death spiritually, we die with Christ, we’re buried with him, and we’re raised with him to walk in newness of life.”

Do you remember what it was like when you first experienced that redemption of God, those of you who are Christians?

We should be reminded often of the work that God has done in our lives. And we are reminded of that in the celebration of the Lord’s table, the Lord’s supper that we partake of each Lord’s day. Of all the works of God, his redemption is the most amazing. He’s offered us new life which we don’t deserve. And as a church that proclaims new life in Christ through his redemption, we should joyously celebrate the remembrance of his work.

I’ve heard people complain about taking communion too often. They say that it’s losing its meaning. That’s nonsense.

Jesus said, “As often as you do this, do it in remembrance of Me.”

When we take the elements of the bread and the juice, we remember the work of Jesus. We think of the broken body, we think of the pierced hands and feet, we think of the crown of thorns being pressed on his head. We think of the beating on his back. We think of the spear piercing his flesh.

When we drink that fruit of the vine, we think of the blood dripping from his back and forehead, stinging his eyes, we think of someone who did absolutely nothing to deserve this. And when we realize that, we can begin to understand what he went through for us.

Praise the Lord today.

Why are we to praise the Lord?

We’re to praise the Lord not only for what he’s done, but because of who he is.

As I look on here in Psalm 111, look at the end of verse 9. “Holy and awesome is His name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments.”

When we really grasp what he’s done for us, that he’s our creator, our savior, our sustainer, we begin to realize how holy and awesome he is. When we see him for who he is, we see ourselves for who we are. This is the fear of the Lord of which the psalmist speaks.

It’s not that we’re afraid of him like someone who’s afraid of heights or the dark. It’s a fear, like we fear a car. We don’t just walk out into the street because we fear that a car will strike us. We have respect for the car. Likewise, we revere and we respect and we fear the Lord. That proper respect brings about wisdom. And that wisdom is more than book smarts. It is a desire to follow God and his ways.

As the great preacher of old, Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 12:13 finally concluded, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man.”

When we follow him, and gain wisdom, we seek to praise him more. And when we praise him more, he grants us more wisdom, and on and on.

But finally, when are we to praise the Lord?

Hear this verse, the very end of verse 10. “His praise endures forever. Someone somewhere will praise God forever.” The psalmist says so.

Will you be among those who praise the Lord forever?

SINGING>> Each day I’ll do a golden deed
by helping those who are in need.
My life on earth is but a span,
and so I’ll do the best I can.
Life’s evening sun is sinking low.
A few more days, and I must go
to meet the deeds that I have done,
where there will be no setting sun.
To be a child of God each day,
my light must shine along the way.
I’ll sing his praise while ages
roll and try to help some troubled soul.
Life’s evening sun is sinking low.
A few more days, and I must go
to meet the deeds that I have done,
where there will be no setting sun.
While going down life’s weary road,
I’ll try to lift some traveler’s load.
I’ll try to turn the night to day,
make flowers bloom along the way.
Life’s evening sun is sinking low.
A few more days, and I must go
to meet the deeds that I have done
where there will be no setting sun.

SINGING>>> We place you on the highest place,
for you are the great high priest.
We place you high above all else,
all else, and we come to you and worship at your feet.
We place you on the highest place,
for you are the great high priest.
We place you high above all else,
all else, and we come to you and worship at your feet.
And we come to you and worship at your feet.

ROBERT >> I want to thank you today for watching our program. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you’d like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like more information about the lesson today, or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth in Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

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All of our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth in Love.

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

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