1 Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart,
In the company of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord;
They are studied by all who delight in them.
3 Splendid and majestic is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever.
4 He has made His wonders to be remembered;
The Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will remember His covenant forever.
6 He has made known to His people the power of His works,
In giving them the heritage of the nations.
7 The works of His hands are truth and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
8 They are upheld forever and ever;
They are performed in truth and uprightness.
9 He has sent redemption to His people;
He has ordained 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.
Psalm 111 is a psalm of praise that gives God honor for a variety of things:
- The many works or creative acts of God
- His righteousness
- His mercy and justice towards His people
- It is a psalm that expresses gratitude for the salvation God provides and the promises He has made to care and protect those who obey Him.
These are wonderful reminders of some of the things that God has and continues to do. As you read the Psalm you can understand what the writer is saying and make sense of the different ideas.
The last verse, however, makes you think a little harder about what the author is referring to. He says, "Praise Him forever" which suggests the praise that God receives goes on and on without end. Why is that?
Why forever praise?
1. God's works and greatness are forever.
The writer says that God's righteousness, and His promises and His word will last forever and so too the praise that accompanies them. God's character and the greatness of the things He has done generates praise just like extreme heat generates fire or extreme cold generates freezing.
Praise is the natural product and reaction to God's wonderful being and work, and since His being and work last forever so does the praise that it generates.
2. Those who praise Him are themselves eternal.
The ones who praise God are those who are the recipients of His promises and one of His promises is that His people will live forever.
Angels and Christian saints on earth and in heaven are eternal beings and so they are capable and willing to praise Him forever.
3. Eternal praise is the final reality
So many movies and books try to determine the future reality. Usually they are negative these days. (I.e. usually monsters or machines trying to take over the world). The Bible reveals a much more joyful "final reality": eternal praise.
We study about the resurrection and the fact that we will have "glorious" bodies: no death or decay; no immorality; power over time and space; knowledge and spiritual insight.
But what will these "glorious bodies" enable us to do? What are they for? The writer here suggests that they will be given to us so we can do what is impossible for us to do now: joyfully praise God forever!
This does not sound like a reward or heaven because we get tired just standing for two songs but our glorious bodies will not only enable us to do this, it will also enable us to want to do it, enjoy doing it and do it in a perfect way.
There is no purer reality than the created praising the creator forever: there is no higher joy, insight, pleasure, expression or activity. The created praising the creator takes in everything that is right, good, worthy and edifying.
So the writer prophecies the final reality in which the glorified saints will be empowered to do what they desire to do and that which gives them the ultimate pleasure: praising God forever.