Psalm 111 – Theology 101

Total Praise by Barbara Hayes

Praise the Lord!

I will thank the Lord with all my heart
    in the meeting of his good people.
The Lord does great things;
    those who enjoy them seek them.
What he does is glorious and splendid,
    and his goodness continues forever.
His miracles are unforgettable.
    The Lord is kind and merciful.
He gives food to those who fear him.
    He remembers his agreement forever.
He has shown his people his power
    when he gave them the lands of other nations.

Everything he does is good and fair;
    all his orders can be trusted.
They will continue forever.
    They were made true and right.
He sets his people free.
    He made his agreement everlasting.
    He is holy and wonderful.

Wisdom begins with respect for the Lord;
    those who obey his orders have good understanding.
    He should be praised forever. (NCV)

First and foremost, the psalms are about God. So then, the psalter is a rich description and repository of sound theology. As such, each psalm enlightens us about the Lord of the universe. Keep in mind that Christians are presently in the season of Epiphany. Although Lent is fast approaching with its own seasonal focus, we are still inhabiting the light shown for us – beginning with the star of Bethlehem and bringing all kinds of people to the Christ.

The Psalms are a wonderful source of light, leading us to discover, know, love, and serve the God who has shown grace to us by divine revelation. To read and pray the psalter is to have a crash course in Theology 101…

  • We pray because we believe we will be heard. 
  • We believe we will be heard because we believe there is a God who listens. 
  • We believe there is a God who listens because we believe the One who listens is always merciful, kind, and good. 

The basis of all prayer is our view of God.  Nobody sustains a prayer life to a fickle distant God who is only attentive whenever it strikes his fancy. But if God is really God – fair, just, committed, and full of good deeds – then, prayer is an effortless interaction, and we are eager to do it.

Notice the descriptions of God in today’s psalm. God’s attributes and character translate perfectly into just and loving action in the world:

God is full of glory, therefore everything the Lord does is splendid.

God is good all the time, therefore goodness never runs out of steam.

God does miracles so that we will not forget the accessibility of divine power.

God is kind and merciful as demonstrated by providing for human need and keeping divine promises.

God is honest and fair; therefore, humanity can trust in divine judgments.

God is free, and so, can set people free from their worst spiritual bondage and self-imposed prisons.

The way to access such incredible divine resources is through honoring and respecting the Lord. Because God is the very definition of merciful grace and steadfast love, human overtures of respect and obedience become willing and joyful. In other words, we obey God because we want to – not because we must.

Entrusting oneself to a benevolent God who makes and keeps promises to people is easy. No coercion or persuasion is necessary. All that need be done is to declare the good things God has done.

Loyal and gracious God, you always keep your promises, and there is never a time when you renege on them.  Thank you for promising deliverance from sin, death, and hell through your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ who with you and the Holy Spirit benevolently reign forever and ever.  Amen.

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