It is probably a safe bet to say that most people today are not much interested in wisdom. They are interested in making money, of course, and in having a good time. Some are interested in knowing something; that is, in getting an education. Almost everyone wants to be popular and well liked. But wisdom? The pursuit of wisdom is not a popular ideal. Yet we need wisdom to run our lives, and lacking it, we make a shipwreck not only of our own lives but also of the lives of others. Examples are all about us.

Yesterday we read about the past events in Canaan and their present application. When we consider how good God has been to us and continues to be, can we not say with the psalmist, “I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly”? We have a similar parallel between God's past and present saving work in verse 9, which refers specifically to redemption. 

There is wonder in the heavens, in the multitude and majesty of stars, in the mysteries of the quasars and black holes, in the distribution and composition of the planets. There is wonder in the microcosm, in quarks and neutrinos, in the cells of the body, in the mind and in matter. There is a mystery to all living things.

Today we look at three important things about this introduction. First, the psalmist says that he is going to praise God himself. He wants other people to do this too, and the bulk of the psalm will give them some good reasons for extolling God and tell them how. But he is not asking others to do something he himself is not doing. If we want other people to praise God, we must praise him first. If we want them to love God, we must love him too. If we want others to serve God, we must serve him. We must set an example.

At the end of the last book of the Psalter (book four), we came across several psalms that were chiefly praise songs, each beginning and ending with the word hallelujah, which means “Praise the LORD.” Psalm 111 is another psalm that begins with hallelujah. In fact, it is the first of three, since Psalm 112 and 113 also begin in this way. Then, although Psalm 114 does not begin or end with hallelujah, Psalms 115, 116 and 117 each end with it. Then there is the well-known set of five psalms that close the Psalter, each of which both begin and end with hallelujah.