Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Psalm 111 (NRSV)
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 honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage 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.
Much of this psalm praises God’s actions in showing extravagant love and steadfastness; however, it takes a shift at the end and extends a call to action to the practitioner of faith. Thoughtful and intentional obedience to God’s commands is cited as an appropriate way of praising God, but also a gateway to wisdom.
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity says, “In one sense, the road back to God is a road of moral effort, of trying harder and harder. But in another sense it is not trying that is ever going to bring us home. All this trying leads up to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, ‘You must do this. I can’t.’” Eventually, many of us that think we need to work for God’s love or earn it run headlong into this realization. Perhaps what is intended by the fear of the Lord after this beginning stage of wisdom, as we enter later stages of our faith journey, is this sobering discovery that we cannot practice this faith on our own terms or through willpower alone.
Lord, we are thankful for your extravagant love. We find ourselves trying hard to praise you and practice our faith, but come up short of the right words and actions. Help us to turn to you for wisdom. Teach us how to follow in your way, give us words of praise, and plant in us a desire for action that glorifies you. Amen.
Go with God.