The assembly should highlight the week of every faithful child of God. This period of worship, study, and devotion provides the much-needed focus and spiritual context for life that the world attacks as dull or meaningless. Every gathering offers yet another opportunity to remind ourselves of the extent of God’s interest, the depth of God’s love, and the might of God’s power—all exercised throughout millennia for our personal and eternal benefit. However, even many Christians fail to appreciate this blessing. Some consider it onerous drudgery; some treat it as ritualistic sacrament. Some attend out of duty and obligation; some cannot even seem to manage that. But those who understand the LORD and think about the LORD will always take time to unite and join their hearts together in worship to the LORD. “Praise the LORD! I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation” (Psa. 111:1). Nevertheless, even those who diligently gather can have trouble concentrating and focusing on their purpose. Dinner plans, the score of the game, relationship problems, and worries of day to day life tend to intrude because people rarely plan and prepare their minds for worship even when their bodies are in attendance. This makes the remainder of Psalm 111 even more relevant. An acrostic psalm, the author weaves through the Hebrew alphabet while offering numerous allusions to the proven character of God, with special attention to the Pentateuch. Thus, pointing to the past, the psalmist pictures the steadfastness of the God of the present, giving all readers a series of recommendations that provide motivation to assemble together and worship the LORD and that offer focus as we bow before His throne. Therefore, in preparing yourself for the assembly, give attention to the message of this brief psalm.
- Contemplate the power the LORD displayed in creation (Psa. 111:2). Never view the beauty of creation without seeing beyond the physical majesty to the spiritual majesty of the Creator (Psa. 19:1).
- Consider how the work of the LORD through His providence contributes positively to life (Psa. 111:3). Whether working through Joseph or Esther, God accomplished great things by using the faithfulness of ordinary people. This should be our goal as those belonging to Him (Phil. 1:21).
- Think about how the LORD put His grace and mercy on display in making salvation possible in a way worthy to be remembered. Every day should include thanksgiving for God’s grace displayed in the cross of Jesus Christ, and every remembrance of that love should bring us back together to remember Him as His people (1 Cor. 11:23-29).
- Reflect on God’s faithfulness in caring for us (Psa. 111:5). Whether physical or spiritual, the Lord has provided what we need the most (Jas. 1:17; Eph. 1:3; Matt. 6:33).
- Ponder how much God did to make a people HIS people (Psa. 111:6). The LORD took a people enslaved in Egypt and made them the nation of Israel. In Christianity He has taken a mass of unrelated individuals and made them His family (1 Pet. 2:9-10).
- Study the inspired truth God has revealed (Psa. 111:7-8). The more attention we give God’s Word, the more guidance it offers, the more it unites us, and the greater our reward (2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 3:18).
- Meditate on His majesty and holiness that have made redemption possible (Psa. 111:9). Regardless of all the evil that goes on in this world, God’s plan will prevail; therefore, His will deserves our greatest attention and His Son our every allegiance (Rom. 8:35-39).
If these truths do not motivate us to gather in the assembly and do not help us focus on our Lord while there, we have lost sight of everything God has done. In the end, our motivation to worship should find root in something greater—our motivation to serve and obey the LORD every moment of every day. Therefore, all this reflection should serve as both motivation and means to translate our reverence for God and a knowledge of His will into humble obedience (Psa. 111:10). Many attempt to worship with a passive heart, learn with a passive interest, and live with a passive faith. But a real relationship with God requires more, and that is why God is right to expect more.