Do you study the works of the Lord? (Psalm 111)

Psalm 111 models for us a way to meditate biblically. Verse 2 says:

Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.

The Hebrew word translated “studied” means “to seek, inquire, consult; to ponder, be sought after.” The Bible tells us that those who delight in the works of the Lord will seek to know more about and think more about those works.

This is not surprising. The reality is that everybody “studies” what they delight in. Whatever arouses my affections and desires will hold my interest, occupy my mind, captivate my heart.

And certainly God and his works ought to captivate me. Verse 3 is so true:

Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.

We’ll never know all the glory of God and his ways and works. The depth of his goodness is bottomless, and the fullness of his righteousness is boundless. God is the one object in all the universe from whom we can receive pleasures forevermore, for he alone is infinite in beauty and perfection and virtue and grace.

So what do I do if I find myself not delighting in and meditating on the Lord’s works as joyfully and consistently as I ought? I think the psalm gives us some answers.

First, go to church and engage your heart. This is how the psalm starts in verse 1:

Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

Going to worship with others helps us to be more passionate. Seeing others worship Jesus ought to call worship forth from our own hearts. I’ve often said to the people of my church that your most important ministry to your church family is showing up. And when you do, “give thanks to the LORD with [your] whole heart.” So sing! So read that responsive reading with gusto! Let the “amen” sound from his people again! Lean forward and listen! If you do, others will. And as others do, you will more.

Second, ask God to help you pay attention to his works. Look at verse 4:

He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.

Ask God every day, several times throughout the day, to cause you to notice and remember his grace and mercy in your life. Little things, big things. Noticing God at work in your life isn’t nearly as difficult as you may think. Ask him to open your eyes to all his blessings, and he will do it.

Third, name the ways God has worked in your life, in the present and in the past. Read verses 5-9. The psalmist begins listing what God has done: providing food, remaining faithful to his promises, showing his power, redeeming his people, etc. And woven throughout are statements and words of praise. Make your list of what God has done, but also list how you respond to those things. We ought to be able to look at that list and say with the psalmist in verse 9: “Holy and awesome is his name!”

Fourth, have a “can’t stop, won’t stop” attitude. Never be satisfied with your level of satisfaction. We can always desire and delight in Jesus more. Learning to “fear him” is just the beginning of the journey. Verse 10:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

Go deep, press hard, learn diligently, practice consistently. If his praise will endure forever throughout eternity, for millions and billions and trillions of billions of years, we ought to be able to keep pace in lifting up his name for the short 70 or 80 years we have on this planet.

Ask God to give you a healthy fear of him, balanced with an apprehension of his grace. That combo — knowing what I deserve, yet reflecting on what I’ve received — never gets old and always stirs up a holy love for Jesus in my heart.

O Lord, may we who delight in you never cease to study your works!

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