The Worship Week
This psalm, possibly linked to the occasion of the bringing of the Ark of the Covenant into Zion, is a calling to remembrance of the LORD’s faithfulness in keeping covenant and redeeming His people. It is a psalm of history.
However, before getting into the story, the psalmist begins by calling the people together in worship. He does this issuing eight imperatives, or commands, and the order in which they come is instructive.
1) ‘Give thanks unto the LORD’ (v1)
Thanksgiving ought to be our first response following God’s blessing upon us, but the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17 reminds us how unthankful we generally our. Let us determine to make our first act each day, each week, each year, one of thanksgiving.
Of course, the first of each week, is especially important, for ‘when the hour was come, He sat down and the twelve apostles with Him … and He took the cup, and gave thanks … and He took bread and gave thanks and brake it’ (Luke 22:14-17). In these days of lockdown, how we long for the day we can again gather together to give God thanks for His Son and the Sacrifice He made.
2) ‘Call upon his name’ (v1)
I’m reminded of the promise of our Lord, that ‘where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’ (Matt 18:20). This is in the context of authority invested in the church, and when even just two are in agreement on an issue, and using the words of this psalm ‘call upon His name’, we know the Lord is there, authenticating the agreement with His authority, which will be seen in action.
Consider as an example, two going up to the temple to pray, Peter & John, and seeing a lame man begging, say to him, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk’ (Acts 3:6).
Peter and John were not alone at that moment. The Lord Jesus was right there, and would authenticate the agreement of the two. The proof? ‘He went walking and leaping and praising God’.
3) ‘Make known his deeds among the people’ (v1)
Three is also the number of witness, and we’re reminded of the Great Commission that the Lord left for his disciples: ‘ye are witnesses of these things’ (Luke 24:48).
4) ‘Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him’ (v2)
Four is the universal number (NSEW) and in the four Gospels we have the full perspective of Christ: we hear His Words as the King and Servant, Man and God. Then consider that in Col 3:16, we are exhorted to ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord’. How often do we teach through song?
5) ‘Talk ye of all his wondrous works’ (v2)
Talking here is not witness to others, but the talking and musing of believers together. When we think of ‘all his wondrous works’, one word summarises it all – grace – which the number five often relates to.
6) ‘Glory ye in his holy name’ (v3)
What do we glory in? Man is so prone to glory in self, and this will come to it’s fullness when the man of sin is revealed, with his mark 666.
‘But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world’ (Gal 6:14).
7) ‘Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore’ (v4)
As we come to the seventh, to the day of Sabbath rest, how appropriate the command to ‘seek his face evermore’.
Consider how Hebrews 4 takes us from entering ‘into that rest’ (v11), through the scrutiny of the eye of holy God, to ‘the throne of grace’ (v16), where we can confidently ‘seek his face evermore’.
8) ‘Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth’ (v5)
We come to the final command, and the main focus of the rest of the psalm. How precious that having started the week with thanksgiving, and ended it seeking the Lord’s face, we begin again, the first day of a new week, and we are called to ‘remember’ – ‘this do in remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:19).
The progress is note-worthy. First of all there was simply thanksgiving, but having spent a whole week in consideration of Him, we can now come with hearts full from that which we have gleaned, and spend time enjoying it all again … remembering!
There is a prophetic aspect to this as well, for the eighth day would speak of that eternal day to come. What a prospect to be eternally occupied in remembrance of our blessed Saviour.
‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing’ (Rev 5:12)