“Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!” Psalm 111
This psalm is an acrostic poem, each line beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It is as though the psalmist was so imbued with love and gratitude in his thoughts toward the Lord that he wrote his song with an orderly rhythm of praise that marked his life. His delight is as present and lively as are the great works of God. The more he knows, the more he marvels. God’s wondrous works in the past continue forever, waving a banner of holiness and awe, leaving a trail of grace and mercy. To know and fear this God rich in wonders is to be wholehearted, full of wisdom, and redeemed forever.
There are words we use to describe the indescribable. There are some concepts that cannot be adequately explained by our alphabet because we cannot limit what is limitless. How do we praise and thank the Lord with our whole heart, every ounce of passion, intention, and affection? How is His work full of splendor and majesty, and also good and upright, faithful and just? Can it be full of all? He is from everlasting to everlasting, yet how do His righteousness, and His covenant, endure forever? The finite mind must use what tools it has to comprehend the infinite, and in doing so, we glimpse the divine. We learn to depend on the Holy Spirit to translate our bursting hearts into praise. (Psalm 90:1-2; Romans 8:26-27)
Would we take time to pause in reverential fear, and offer Him our whole heart? When and how do we seek and practice His wisdom, and proclaim His awesome name?
“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word;
I ever with thee, and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father, I thy true son;
thou in me dwelling and I with thee one.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;
thou mine inheritance, now and always.
Thou and thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.” ~Irish, 8th-10th century, translated by Mary Byrne (1880-1931)
Lord, fill me with understanding, wonder, and boundless love for Thee. Consume my whole affection and desire. Set my heart beating forever for Your praise and glory.