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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

December 08 2023

Friday, December 08

The Remedy for Discouragement

Psalm 111:1-10

1 Praise the LORD! I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.

2 The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.

3 His work is honorable and glorious, And His righteousness endures forever.

4 He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; The LORD is gracious and full of compassion.

5 He has given food to those who fear Him; He will ever be mindful of His covenant.

6 He has declared to His people the power of His works, In giving them the heritage of the nations.

7 The works of His hands are verity and justice; All His precepts are sure.

8 They stand fast forever and ever, And are done in truth and uprightness.

9 He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.

As we said yesterday, Psalms 111 and 112 could be called twins. Neither have a title, we have no idea who wrote them, but most likely they were written by some Levite after the Babylonian captivity, probably early in the post-exilic period. Life was not easy for the Jewish remnant that returned to Jerusalem after their exile in Babylon. Their neighbors were often hostile, the Persian officials were not always cooperative, and the economic situation was difficult. Ezra the scribe and the prophet Haggai described some of these problems in their books.

The psalmist of Psalm 111 gives us four instructions to follow if we would enjoy the help and blessing of the Lord in the difficult and discouraging situations of life. In verse 1, we should look up and be committed to praise and worship the Lord anyway. In verses 2-6, we should look around and remember the works of God! In verses 7-9, we take the time to look into God’s Word and rely on it. And in verse 10, we learn to fear the LORD and be willing to obey His Commandments.

First, we should deal with our discouragement with worship and praise (v. 1). We might not be able to rejoice in our circumstances, but we can always rejoice in the Lord (Phil. 4:4). This opening verse is actually a vow. The writer is determined to praise God no matter what happens. Sometimes we simply need to get ourselves by the nape of the neck and decide to do what is right no matter how we feel! Notice that the psalmist does not stay at home and worship in private, as important as that is; he goes to the sanctuary and joins in with others. We encourage one another as we praise God together. The "assembly of the upright" is a smaller group of the psalmist's friends who, like him, are a part of the larger "congregation."

All of us have people in church who are very special to us, and as long as we do not form an exclusive clique, there is nothing wrong with worshiping God with your close friends. The "small group" movement in the church today has proven very helpful, especially in larger congregations. But the important thing is that we are wholehearted in our worship, giving God our very best.

Secondly, we should remember God's great and awesome works (vv. 2-6). God's people do not live in the past, but they know how to use the past to give them encouragement in the present and hope for the future. God’s works reveal His attributes, for like Him they are great (v. 2), glorious, majestic and righteous (v. 3), wonderful, gracious and compassionate (v. 4), powerful (v. 6), faithful, just and trustworthy (v. 7), and holy and awesome (v. 9). Who could not trust a God with that kind of character!

In reviewing the kinds of works God did, the psalmist also reminded us of what some of those works were (vv. 5, 6, 9). We should delight in pondering the record of God's works and learn more about the Lord from our study, but we should also review how He has worked in our own lives. The word "remembered" in verse 4 is "memorial." We may read it, "He has caused His wonders to be a memorial." In fact, Israel itself is a memorial to the power and grace of God. As Abraham went from place to place, he left behind altars and wells as memorials that God had brought him that way, and the Jewish nation left "memorial stones" after they entered Canaan (Josh. 4:1-7) and during their passage through the land. Jewish parents were commanded to teach their children the meaning of the special days and the memorial stones (Ex. 13:3-10; Deut. 6:4-9; Josh. 4:4-7).

There should be special places in our lives that we mark where God can bring edifying memories to mind that will help us remember His greatness and grace. What are yours?

God bless!

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