“Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.” It was Israel’s duty to worship the Lord together. Each individual in the Lord’s assembly was called to be fully engaged in this great work of praise and thanksgiving. Their time together was more than just the combined individual devotions of those who gathered together in one place. The Lord was forming one body of worshipers who would have a renewed sense of purpose.
They were called to consider the “works of the Lord” and to extol the God who had accomplished such great deeds. These accomplishments of the Almighty were to be “studied by all who delighted in them.” What would they find when they sang about His sovereign deeds of creation and providence? They would discover Him in their praise and extol His splendor, majesty, and righteousness. They would know Him as the gracious God who was the same yesterday, today, and forever.
The Lord of heaven and earth knew that it would be good for His people to contemplate His glorious accomplishments. As they sang about the Lord’s great provision for them, they would be strengthened in their faith. Israel would remember that the Lord “provides food for those who fear Him.” They would be further committed to obeying His Word since they had just extolled the Lord as the God who “remembers His covenant forever.”
As the Lord’s people praised Him for giving them the land of Canaan, they would turn away from their present disappointments for a moment. They considered the miracle of His provision for their fathers and His promises for their children. The worship of the Lord for His great deeds of the past would lead Israel to think differently regarding the future. Because His “precepts are trustworthy” and are “established forever and ever,” they did not need to live in panic now. Their God would be “faithful and just” since He was “trustworthy.”
These declarations of heartfelt communal worship were to be formative for Old Testament congregation. The New Testament church that has now been built upon the Rock of the Jewish Messiah and His astounding works of worldwide redemption continues in this great tradition of worship. When we sing about the wondrous cross of Jesus Christ, we are united together in Him and appropriately directed toward a better understanding of our Lord. We sing to the God who has a purpose for His church and for each of our lives. We confess that “His praise endures forever” and we are changed.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Merciful God, we give You thanks. As we meditate upon Your works, we see the greatness of Your character. Our future is secure because of Your trustworthy Word. We bow before You with reverence, and we receive Your many gifts with grateful hearts.