1 Praise to the LORD! I will extol him while gathering with the upright. 2 Great are the works of God, and pondered by all who in them take delight.
3 His deeds are glorious and majestic; his righteousness endures always. 4 He caused his works to be remembered; kind is the LORD and full of grace.
5 Food he provides for those who fear him; his covenant for ever stands. 6 His mighty works he showed his people by giving them the nations’ lands.
7 Faithful and just are all his actions; all his commands are faithful too, 8 Steadfast for ever and for ever. The works of God are right and true.
9 He sent redemption for his people; his covenant remains the same, Ordained by him throughout all ages— holy and awesome is his name.
10 Fear of the LORD gives rise to wisdom; All those who walk in upright ways Have insight and good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland sing this to the tune Genevan Psalm here.
I love the Psalms, they have so much to offer us in worship and in life; they offer a glimpse of what a real, faith-filled life looks like. We sometimes overlook them, perhaps because they appear difficult to relate to, they seem so divorced from daily life.
I write this as Brexit and our elected officials are in flux – no-one appears to know what is happening. It is not the only headline: terrorists attack mosques in New Zealand and churches in Sri Lanka; knife crime is out of control; severe flooding has caused devastation in parts of southern Africa, and head teachers worry about how their schools will survive, let alone thrive. Yet our Psalm encourages us to praise God – for many that may seem hard, if not impossible.
The Psalmist not only tells us to praise God but why we should. We are reminded of what God has done, from feeding to redeeming and everything in between. But more than that, in an ever-changing world, God is constant; trustworthy; faithful. We may despair of ever finding our way, but God is there – always and forever.
Perhaps that’s what we need to be reminded of, we need to remember what God has done for us and that God is there for us. For when we are told that fear of the Lord is wisdom, it is not fear in that we should be frightened of God, no, it is remembering God with awe and respect because of what he has done.
When we objectively look at what God has done for us, we can offer praise. Just think of praising God, when even in the depth of our souls, the whole world appears to be against us, surely that is real wisdom, in fear of the Lord.
Loving Lord, from the depths of our being we offer you praise and glory. When life is hard, help us to remember all you have done for us, so we may offer you praise and glory. When life is good, help us to remember to give thanks for all you have done for us, so we may offer you praise and glory. Lord, for life itself, we offer you praise and glory. Amen
The Rev’d Branwen Rees, East Wales Regional Minister.