Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, in the company of the upright and in the assembly.
As we continue our exploration of worship using Psalm 111, the first verse is an invitation to offer praise to God for His great works and character. “Worship is more than a private experience; it is a public and corporate expression of devotion.” The NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible goes on to include that this “corporate praise” in a “crowd or assembly” is an call to praise God, an opportunity to be thankful.
In this one verse, two names of God are used, first, Yahweh and secondly, Jehovah. The Bible uses many names for God, all describing different aspects of His character. These two names are what most scholars call the proper names of God, indicating His presence and accessibility. They are often interchanged with each other but are used over 6,000 times in the OT.
The Message reads, “Hallelujah! I give thanks to GOD with everything I’ve got — wherever good people gather and in the congregation.” A hymn of praise “often begins, and sometimes ends, with Hallelujah.” The Apologetics Study Bible continues, to praise or celebrate is our “proper response to all that God has done.” Called to trust and obey and worship God, we offer our praise for His matchless goodness.
One of the most interesting parts of this verse is to praise with all my heart. In OT times, the heart is thought of as all of the inner person - the mind and will and head. When I read to give thanks to GOD with everything I’ve got, it gives me pause. Sometimes I worship with my congregation, and sometimes alone. Other times, I worship with my offerings, offerings of money, of service, of time. When I study God’s Word, I worship His offerings to me - offerings of forgiveness, of grace, of eternal life. In times of crisis, my faith worships a God who is full of goodness to diminish the doubts and anxieties of uncertainty. Corporately and privately, I pray “Your will be done” and how hard that can be when it is not my will.
Lord, for all You have done, all You have created, healed, mended, renewed, encouraged -HALLELUJAH! with my whole being! Lord, for all the times You wept beside me, embraced my pain, listened to my hurting soul, I offer my worship - HALLELUJAH! with my whole being! Lord - You continue to guide me with whispers… and shouts! Together, wherever good people gather, we will worship You! HALLELUJAH! with our whole beings! -dho