Lectio Divina: Psalms 111:1-5
Praise the Lord.
“I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.“
When I get up early enough I can watch the sun rise from the window in my study. Some mornings the radiant colors that fill the eastern sky are almost indescribable. Words cannot express the beauty.
Worship is that way for me. There are times when I cannot put into words what is going on in my heart. However I think it is important to try.
The worship expressed in this Psalm is both personal and communal. While it is intensly personal it is also intended to be shared in a community of worshipers.
The Psalmist says “I will extol the Lord with all my heart.” His worship is very personal! Psalms 111 through 113 begin with the Hebrew word “Hallelu Yah.” Praise to Yahweh! Worship is always personal. Paul describes the personal nature of our worship in Romans 12:1. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
The Lectio Divina today also tells me that worship is our praise to God expressed and experienced in the company of other worshipers… “In the council of the upright,” and “in the assembly.”
Paul tried to put into words his understanding of this aspect of worship when he wrote to the Ephesian church… “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns,
and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18-20)
Individually we lift our voices and my hearts to the Lord God in worship in the presence of others… in our community of faith. When we worship together we are actually “speaking to one another.”
The personal and communal aspects of worship create a beautiful tonal tension that resolves itself in an amazing harmony of voices and hearts that bring honor and glory to God. Individually we express what God means to us and as a community those expressions unite as a chorus of beautiful and inspiring worship. Worshiping together unites us, inspires us, and encourages us. That’s why the writer of Hebrews warns us, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Together we worship God for all that He is, all that He has done, and all that He is doing. In doing so we extol His glory and describe His nature. The first five verses of Psalms 111 is an expression of our collective response to God’s …
* Greatness, (v. 2) * Glory (v.3),
* Grace (v.4), and * Goodness (v.5)
Father, teach me how to truly worship. Help me to be more faithful to join with others in sharing the experience of worship. And may our worship not end with a service once a week, but rather let that weekly experience be a doorway into a true service of worship throughout the week.