PSALM 100 TALK: OUR GOD THE KING WANTS OUR THANKS AND PRAISE

PSALM 100 TALK: OUR GOD THE KING WANTS OUR THANKS AND PRAISE

 (A Psalm that explores how the God of the bible wants us, his children to show him gratitude for who he is and what he has done for us. As our father in heaven he wants us to give him praise and thanks and worship him and we live our daily lives.)

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INTRODUCTION

My dear wife always insisted for all of our children even from a very early age to always say thank you when we did something for them. I was taught this also from my parents so I had no trouble going along with this. One day I thought to myself why do we teach children to say thanks or show gratitude?

I came to some interesting conclusions and this is a summary of what I came up with. My research discovered boiled down to the following five good reasons for teaching children to say thank you:

  1. It helps them create good manners – Good manners help a person to be socially well received and can help our children in their adult life to achieve their goals.
  1. It helps them to learn respect and appreciate others – if we don’t acknowledge when other people help us we are less likely to become people who only appear to be interested in ourselves and we will be persevered to be people who are selfish and arrogant.
  1. It helps them to be able to lead others – people who cannot show gratitude are usually poor leaders as showing gratitude helps people we seeking to lead to be more willing to follow the instructions we give them.
  1. It is good for our psychological and emotional health – Psychological experts have conducted studies on the benefits of giving thanks and have found some very real positive psychological benefits for showing gratitude to others.
  1. Helps create a positive attitude to life – One psychological researcher named Lisa Aspinwall came up with the following positive benefits that grateful people seemed to have:
  • They take better care of themselves physically and mentally
  • Thy engage in more protective health behaviors
  • They get more regular exercise
  • They eat a healthier diet
  • They have improved mental alertness
  • They cope better with stress and daily challenges
  • They feel happier and more optimistic

And the list goes on but the point of me making reference to this research is that teaching our children to be genuinely able to show gratitude can help them have a more positive development.

However I must stress that children will not learn to give thanks if their parents do not model this in their daily lives. This is because children a very perceptive in picking things up from the example they see in people older then themselves or from people they admire for one reason or another.

Spiritually this same kind of thing follows and a very interesting article on the Net by a man named Jake Kall made these three important reasons why all true believers should give thanks to God our heavenly father:

  1. Giving thanks is a way to remember the goodness of God
  2. Giving thanks brings us into God’s presence
  3. Giving thanks shows our appreciation to God.

The bible is full of references and commands for giving praise and thanks to God and like the benefits in life for our children becoming grateful people so there is great benefit for us to be spiritually grateful people.

One fine example of the bibles teaching on giving thanks and praise is Psalm 100. This Psalm is the only Psalm with the Hebrew heading that says,

“A Psalm. For giving thanks”

We cannot be sure both when and why this Psalm was actually written. We know for sure when it was placed in the book of Psalms, which was after the Jews returned from exile as it is the eleventh Psalm placed in the fourth book of Psalms which we are reasonably sure came together after the Jews returned from exile.

Apart from its Hebrew heading there are two Jewish traditions for the use of this Psalm. The first is that it was written to be sung at the time of the offering of a thank offering. The thank offering is set down in Leviticus 22: 29 – 30. The problem with this is that apart from the Hebrew heading the Psalm seems to have little about a thank offering. Maybe because of its heading some Jews used this Psalm when making a thank offering.

The second Jewish tradition is that it was written and used to welcome people coming up to the temple for worship and as they entered the Temple area through the temple gates (vs. 4) a special call to worship was sung to prepare them for worship once they had fully entered the Temple (vs’s 1 and 2).

This theory also fits another problem I encounted in my study of the Psalm and that is the answer to the question:

Is this Psalm addressed to all the inhabitants of the world, as verse 1 seems to say, or just to God’s special chosen people as verse 3 seems to indicate?

Leupold argues that this problem can be solved in the translation of the Hebrew word most translations translate as “earth” and he says that it could be translated “land” which means that this Psalm is addressed to God’s special chosen people, Israel who live in the land of Israel.

I have another theory and that is that if this was a Psalm designed to welcome worshippers into the Temple area for the true people of God who particularly after the return from exile came from all over the known world of that time then a call for people to worship God from all the earth would have been very appropriate.

So what this Psalm is saying is that all these people coming to worship the true God of the bible are to come with praise and thanks as they enter the special house or home of God represented in Old Testament times by the Temple in Jerusalem.

The other interesting thought here is that by the coming of Christ to die for our sins on the cross a way to God in Heaven was opened up for people of every nation or from all the earth then this makes Psalm 100 a call to worship the God of heaven and earth for people who believe in him from all the earth. This means that Psalm 100 is a kind of prophecy that one day “all the earth” or believers in the God of the bible from all the earth will enter God’s presence with praise and thanks.

My final introductory remark is concerning this Psalms connection with the series of Psalms I have entitled “Our God the King who Reigns”, which started at Psalm 93. Even though this Psalm does not contain a direct reference to God as king or even mentions his reign it does have many “Our God the King who Reigns” phrases and allusions which I will refer to in my Psalm talk.

I like what a commentator named S. Conway says about the connection of Psalm 100 to the “Our God the King who Reigns” Psalms,

“This Psalm, which comes at the close of the magnificent series of royal psalms, which tell of the reign of Christ Jehovah, has been called their doxology”.

 A doxology has been defined on the Google search engine as,

“A liturgical formula of praise to God”.

 This then is how I will seek to interpret and open up this Psalm as a formula for praise and thanks of our God who is the king who reigns. My outline for this Psalm follows the structure of a Call for praise verses 1 and 2 and then reasons why we should praise him in verse 3. Then a second call to give God thanks vs. 4 and finally reasons why we should give him thanks in verse 5.

My outline for this Psalm is:

  1. (1 – 2)   GOD WANTS OUR PRAISE
  1. (vs. 1)   A call to praise
  2. (vs. 2)   A call to worship
  1. (vs. 3)   WHY GOD WANTS OUR PRAISE
  1. You know God
  2. He made us
  3. He is our shepherd
  1. (vs. 4)   GOD WANTS OUR THANKS
  1. (vs. 4a) Come to God with thanksgiving
  2. (vs. 4b) Thank God
  1. (vs. 5)   WHY GOD WANTS OUR THANKS
  1. The Lord is good
  2. His love and faithfulness endures forever.

The other unique feature of my Psalm talk is my use of a rewritten version of the very old hymn called “All people who on earth do dwell”. This hymn is well known as “The old one hundred” and was originally written in the French language by the Genevan reformed composer named “Louis Bourgeois” who lived between 1510 and 1560.

It was translated and re-written into the English language as a poem to be sung by a Scotsman named Rev. William Kethe who fled Scotland during the reign of Queen Mary (1555 – 1558). Queen Mary became known as Bloody Mary because of her persecution of Protestants during her short reign. Calvin and his followers in Geneva only sang metric psalms or psalms set in poetic meter based on the book of Psalms.

“All people on earth do dwell” is then one of the oldest English hymns still in use today and to change its wording will seem to some as sacrilege but I think the beauty of this hymn as a summary and even commentary of the Psalm it was based on, Psalm 100, is so worthwhile that a clearer modern interpretation of it is really worth a try.

I have not used the old 100 tune but have composed a new tune which also has a New Testament inspired refrain which is a call to worship Christ our savior and our Lord or king.

I aim to use each verse of my new version of this wonderful old hymn as a summary of each of my four sections of my exposition of this Psalm. So lets have a close look at each of these four sections of Psalm 100:

  1. (1 – 2)   GOD WANTS OUR PRAISE

 The first section is the first two verses of this Psalm which the old hymn “All people that on earth do dwell” covers in its first verse. All other verses of the hymn cover each of the remaining three verses.

I have broken this first section into two parts:

  1. (vs. 1)   A call to praise
  2. (vs. 2)   A call to worship

Lets have a close look at the first part:

  1. (vs. 1)   A call to praise

 The first verse of this Psalm could also be called a call to enthusiastic praise (vs. 1) as the first verse says,

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth”

 Twice before in these eight Psalms that feature the theme of “Our God the king reigns” (Psalms 93 – 100) we have had the command to “Shout to the Lord”, Psalm 95: 1 and 98: 4 and 98: 6. I commented on Psalm 98: 4 on what this command to shout to the Lord actually meant in the days it was first written and I concluded that it meant praise that we give without holding back or praise that is very enthusiastic. I quoted one commentator called Albert Barnes who said that the Hebrew word for “Shout” is more like make a loud noise or to,

“Break forth, as a shout of triumph or joy, as if the joy could be no longer confined or repressed”.

God does not want us to come together to worship him with weak insipient mealy mouth praise and worship he wants us to give it all we have got but please this shout to the Lord should not become a loud dim because the commend says “Shout for joy”. Some churches I have attended over the years delight in turning their amplifiers up so loud all that comes out from them is loud disturbing noise far from being joyful.

One good friend of mine had to leave a church he and his wife attended because his wife could not stand any longer the very loud music and the constant yelling style of the pastor of the church when he preached. This woman had a problem with hearing and was super sensitive to very loud noise.

When I have attended Christian conventions where two to three thousand people have joined in singing a hymn of praise to God then I have experienced the loud but beautiful praise that this command for praise in verse one is aiming for. We cannot often attend churches that have thousands of worshippers but this should not stop us experiencing praise of the lord that is enthusiastic.

Paul uses the term thanksgiving and praise overflowing to the glory of God to express the same idea like 1 Corinthians 4: 15,

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God”.

Also we must consider when we praise and worship God that biblical praise always contains lots of content or reasons for praise so our praise should not be a loud noise but a enthusiastic glorification of the God of heaven and earth who has done so much for us according to the bible and we see this kind of praise offered in heaven, Revelation 5: 12,

“ In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!”

The second half of verse 1 is a little more difficult to interpret as it deals with who the writer wants this “Shout for joy” to be delivered by. The wording says,

“All the earth”

This could refer to either:

  1. Everyone on the earth or
  2. All people to belong to God from all over the earth.

I mentioned this problem in my introduction and I will simply set forth my findings from my research on this and then settle on how I now interpret this phrase..

  1. Everyone on the earth

The first way of understanding who is being called to “Shout to the Lord” is simply everyone who lives on the earth and we have seen that other “Our God the king reigns” psalms have commanded the world or everyone in it to praise God, like the opening of Psalm 97: 1,

“The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice”

Or more specifically Psalm 96: 10 – 11,

“Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it”.

Note these general commands for the world or everyone on earth to praise and rejoice in God are associated with his right to be praised as he reigns over all the earth.

However Psalm 100 seems to be a call to worship for people entering the Temple of the Lord and in verse 3 it seems obvious that the people being called to worship are God’s people or people who know the God of the bible,

“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture”.

Could just anyone in the world or on the earth be called “his” or belonging to God and “the sheep of his pasture” or people who God especially leads through this life?

  1. All people to belong to God from all over the earth.

The second way of understanding “all the earth” is that it could be speaking about those who know God and belong to him who are found all over the earth. This is the argument the great Psalm commentator H. C Leupold goes for and he translates this phrase in Psalm 100 verse one as,

“All the inhabitants of the land”

He writes,

“The Hebrew word can mean either “earth” or “Land”. Since in the rest of the psalm Israel is specifically addressed and all the inhabitants of the earth are totally ignored”.

Leopold concludes that this call to worship is addressed to all the inhabitants of the land of Israel.

My conclusion then is that the expression “All the earth” could be a little ambiguous because the call to worship is for all true believers or people of God who have come from both all the land of Israel and all over the earth to the Temple in Jerusalem to worship God there. This would fit very well into the context of the time after the return from exile when people returned to Israel and of course Jerusalem to worship God in the rebuilt temple from far off lands like Babylon.

My rewrite of the hymn “All people on earth do dwell” reflects this idea for my new line reads, “All God’s people who dwell on the earth”

  1. (vs. 2)   A call to worship

The second verse is a second version of this call to worship for all God’s people and it reads this way,

“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful song”

The expressions in this second part of this first call to worship also appears a number of times in the “Psalms of “Our God the King who reigns” (Psalms 93 – 100). Worshipping God with gladness appears in Psalm 95: 6, 96: 11 and 97: 1. While worship using singing appears in Psalm 95: 1 -2, 96: 1 – 2 and 98: 1 and verse 5.

So the idea that I set forth in the introduction that Psalm 100 is a doxology of praise and worship for the Psalms of “Our God the king who reigns” seems valid just on these expressions verse 2 of Psalm 100 alone.

If this call to worship was written for God’s people coming into the Temple in Jerusalem to worship then it is saying they should worship God with gladness, joy and song. Paul twice tells two different churches to do the same like Ephesians 5: 19 – 20,

“Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

When I was a young teenager I remember coming into church to worship God with some of my friends and being scolded by a older member of the congregation for making so much noise as I entered what she called our church, “God’s House”. The tradition in my church in those days was entering church was like entering a library, you had to be dead quite as you were entering the presence of God. The problem with this is it is not biblical because heaven is not a quite place like the local library it is a place of great loud joyful praise, Revelation 19: 1 – 7,

“After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,2 for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

 And again they shouted: “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.” The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: “Amen, Hallelujah!” Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!”

 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready”.

 Those who want heaven to be like a great quiet and peaceful library will be very disappointed. This does not mean the lady at the church I grew up in did not have a point to make about how I was entering the church with my friends just making lots of noise in general conversation. We need to come together in worship dropping the day-to-day things of this world to focus on God and who he is and what he has done for us.

I like some of the Baptist churches I have attended over the years that before the church worship service starts they have a praise time when lively hymns of praise are sung helping everyone to focus on God with joyful praise.

Also this call to worship is not just applicable to our times of public worship as Paul taught in Romans 12: 1 that our whole lives should be lived in a attitude of praise and service to the Lord,

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”.

At the time of writing this Psalm talk I attend, as a retired person a bible study that runs on a week -day during the week and some of its members are even older than I am. One older lady of that bible study is 92 and often when she is making a comment on a verse in the bible we are studying she breaks out in song singing an appropriate verse or chorus as part of her comments. We often join her singing the hymn or song and I have thought sometimes that this could be what Paul is saying we should do in the Ephesians 5: 19 – 20,

“Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

All of us in the bible study find these wonderful godly women’s contributions to our discussions very worthwhile and often very inspiring. We need to learn more and more to,

“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful song”

 I come then to my first rewritten verse of the Old hymn, “All people who on earth do dwell” with its New Testament’s inspire refrain which is my summary of this first section of this Psalm, verses 1 and 2,

  1. All God’s people who dwell on earth

Sing to the Lord with a joyful voice.

Serve the Lord with gladness and with praise

Come now before him and rejoice.

           Refrain:

 Rejoice, Rejoice in God our King

Give thanks, give thanks and joyfully sing.

For Jesus Christ died for my sin

So now I come to worship him.

  1. (vs. 3)   WHY GOD WANTS OUR PRAISE

 The first of four sections we just looked at was two verses which I broke into two parts but now the remaining three sections of the Psalm is one verse and it follows the pattern of the whole Psalm which is a call to worship followed by reasons why we should praise and thank him in worship.

Each of these final three sections will however be broken into parts that are made up of the key points of the verse. This second section of the Psalm, verse 3 has three key points. which I have broken into three parts which are reasons why we should praise and thank the Lord in worship of him, they are:

  1. You know God
  2. He made us
  3. He is our shepherd

Lets then have a close look at the first key reason why God wants us to praise and thank him.

  1. You know God

The first reason why God wants us to praise and thank him is because he has made himself known to us. The first phrase of verse 3 says,

“Know that the Lord is God”.

The writer can call the people of God to worship the God of the bible in praise and thanks because he knows that God has made himself known to them. The God of the bible is not some vague force or religious concept as he chose to make himself known in Old Testament terms through his people Israel.

Israel knew God because God made himself known to them in real time history as the writer of Psalm 46 says in verses 8 – 11 says,

“Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the

earth.He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress”.

The history of Israel and the special revelations God gave to many of its people form a major part of God’s word to mankind. This fact would have been very real in the time that this Psalm was placed in the fourth book of Psalms as that is when the people of Israel, the Jews as they had become known, returned from 70 long years in exile in Babylon. They would have seen how their God worked in the human history of their day to bring down the mighty Babylonians through a new world super power, the Persians.

The Persians employed a policy of letting exile nations in the Babylonian world return to their homelands to rebuild their homes and culture but they demanded allegiance and heavy tribute to their rule. This unusual conquering policy only came about because the God of heaven and earth who reigns over the nations moved in the hearts and minds of even the Persians to bring about his divine will.

God had an even greater way of making himself known after the time this Psalm was written or placed in the book of Psalms and that was through the sending of his son who the apostle John calls, “The Word” in John chapter 1. This special word of God or God making himself known is described this way in John 1: 14,

“The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us”. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”.

 So we know God through the Lord Jesus Christ and Jesus makes God’s very nature of love and mercy even more clearer by what Jesus was willing to do for us in dying for our sins on the cross.

We must praise and thank God simply because of this alone because his love made known on the cross transforms not only our knowledge of God but our very lives.

Many people today want to deny this wonderful knowledge of God simply only believing in themselves and their ideas that there is no God behind this world and life. Jim Packer in his brilliant book “Knowing God” says this about denying God and the pursuit of knowing Him,

“We are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfold, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you”.

 That is a sad description of our world today, a people who,

“Stumble and blunder through life blindfold, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds them”.

But we can know God and it is possible through the life and teachings of God’s Son or “God’s Word” as John says in the words of Christ in John 8: 31 – 32,

 “ To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

So the first reason why we should praise and thank God is because he is a God who has made himself known to us as the Lord or King who is the one true God of heaven and earth.

  1. He made us

The next expression in verse 3 that sets down why we should want to praise and thank the God of the bible is,

“It is he who made us, and we are his”

Is this talking about God’s general making of all people or his specific making of his special people?

I think the phrase, “And we are his” indicates the later as the answer to this question.

This is also made clearer by what follows namely that “we are his people, the sheep of his pasture”.

The original target of these words as I said in my introduction would have been all of the Jews who came from all over the land of Israel and the known world of that time to worship in the Temple in Jerusalem.

God chose this small and tiny nation called Israel, which he made out of the descendants of the patriarch Abraham as we see in Deuteronomy 7: 7 – 9,

“The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments”.

Why did God make Israel a special people or nation?

We read the answer to this in Exodus 19: 3 – 6,

“Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

 God made, Israel his special nation because he had a special job for them to do and that was to declare to the whole world the very word of God and act as a priest or go between man and God.

Israel, of course failed over and over again in its long history to do this special job but in a sense his plan to make Israel his priests or go between God and made was fulfilled in them. This is because through the Jews God sent Jesus the perfect priest, go between or mediator between God and man as Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 2: 5,

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus”.

 Jesus came to make the one and only way back to God, John 14: 6,

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

Through Jesus then any person from any nation who puts their faith in Christ becomes God’s special people or people that God has made as John declares in John 1: 12 – 13,

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God”.

This is why Peter in his first letter speaks in Old Testament, special people of God terms about all who have come to Christ telling us that we now have the special job of all being God’s priests or the go between’s God and man as we declare the message to the world of who Jesus is and what he has done for us, 1 Peter 2: 9 – 10,

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”.

So the second great reason why we should praise and thank God is because he has made us his special people and given us the great job of taking his saving message to the world.

  1. He is our shepherd

The third and final reason why we should want to praise and thank God is found in the final phrase of verse 3, which says,

“We are his people, the sheep of his pasture”.

Not only are we his special people he has made but we are the people he chooses to lead like a shepherd leads his sheep. The concept of God being Israel’s shepherd and Israel being his sheep has cropped up right through the Psalms and has even been in one of the “Our God the king Reigns” psalms, Psalm 95: 7,

“For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care”.

This shepherd – flock image was very real to King David as he as a boy worked for many years as a Shepherd of a flock of sheep and he later wrote about our unique relationship with God in Psalm 23: 1 – 4,

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”.

In this Psalm David is saying God leads us in this life in the good times,

“2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul”.

Also God is with us and is guiding us through the tough times of life as well,

“4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”.

Jesus had much to say about this as well, describing himself in John chapter 10 as, “The Good Shepherd”, who gives his life for the sheep, John 10: 11,

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”.

 The Good shepherd who calls his sheep to himself, to follow him, who he gives eternal life to and who he will never let go of or forsake, Jon 10: 27 – 30,

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Note also Jesus is calling to himself not only people of his own nation, Israel but people from every nation on earth who he will make into one flock or one family of God, John 10: 14 – 16,

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd”.

So finally we have a third and wonderful reason why we should praise and thank our God the king and that is because he is our Shepherd who calls us, through Jesus into his flock and who he leads and protects through good times and difficult times to one day be with him in heaven experiencing wonderful full eternal life, life that Jesus says in John 10: 10 is not just full life when we die but is ours even in this life,

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

To finish this second section of Psalm 100 I would like to present my second rewritten verse with its chorus of the old hymn “All people who on earth do dwell”.

Know that the Lord our God is God indeed

He made his people and they belong to him

We are his sheep and he leads us on

He calls us now to praise and sing.

Refrain:

Rejoice, rejoice in God our king.

Give thanks, give thanks and joyfully sing

For Jesus Christ died for my sin

So now I come to worship him.

  1. (vs. 4)   GOD WANTS OUR THANKS

 Now we come to the third and I think central teaching of this Psalm as it features a second call to worship based on thanking God which is what the Hebrew heading suggests is the main teaching of this Psalm,

“For giving thanks”

 I see two main aspects or parts of this third section, which is:

  1. (vs. 4a) Come to God with thanksgiving
  2. (vs. 4b) Thank God

 Lets then have a close look at each of these two parts of this fourth verse, which is my third section of this Psalm.

  1. (vs. 4a) Come to God with thanksgiving

 Verse 4 also fits not only the theme of thanksgiving but the possible context of this Psalm being a call to worship for God’s people as they were entering the Temple area from all over the land and as verse 1 suggests the “the earth”. Verse 4 says,

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise”

 I want to have a closer look here at answering to questions:

  1. What are the gates and courts?
  2. What does it mean to approach God with thanksgiving?

Let me try and give you an answer to these two important questions.

  1. What are the gates and courts?

The first part of verse 4 speaks of entering “gates” and “courts” which of course refer to, at the time of the placing of this Psalm in the fourth book of Psalms, the second Temple in Jerusalem. So literally the gates were where the people entered the Temple area in Jerusalem and the courts were where the people actually gathered for worship because only the priests or Levites went into the main enclosed temple building.

We must remember this is Hebrew poetry so the gates and courts are poetically symbolic of any place where people gather to worship the Lord and the Pulpit Commentaries quotes a person named Professor Alexander who explains that this metaphorically may,

“Extend to all the faithful and to all places of worship”.

 The obvious ultimate place of worship is in heaven itself, which is described in Revelation 21: 1 – 3, this way,

“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God”.

So in this heavenly Jerusalem or heavenly Temple all true believers will enter one day as Revelation 21: 22 – 27 puts it,

“ I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life”.

So the ultimate destiny of all true believers is to enter the gates of the heavenly Temple. Which is actually heaven itself to join with all believers to worship God forever.

  1. What does it mean to approach God with thanksgiving?

Please note how God wants us to come together in worship of him and it is not in a quiet serious and joyless manner but with great thanksgiving and praise,

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise”

That older lady in the church I grew up in who told me and my friends to be quiet as we were entering God’s house as we must be prayerful as we enter God’s presence had not understood the bible correctly. Yes our Godless youthful chatter was not the way to enter a time of worship but either was the older ladies view of entering God’s presence with quietness and like church and heaven is some kind of silent library.

No, verse 4 of Psalm 100 says enter your place of worship with thanksgiving and praise which is not a silent don’t’ make any noise type of activity. The closer tradition of pre- worship activity is probably the Baptist custom of a time of singing praise as the more biblical approach to coming into worship.

This is also telling us that when we come to worship God together as a the Church of Jesus Christ we must drop all the thoughts of our everyday lives and instead focus on God and all the wonderful things he has done for us. As the writer to the Hebrews puts it in Hebrews 12: 1 – 3,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart”.

This of course is not just a concept of how we should think and act when coming together for formal worship of God but also is a word to us on how God wants us to live our lives. He doesn’t want us to walk through our lives as true believers letting the things of this world hold us down but he wants us to live a life of service and thanksgiving moving ever forward for him.

Paul had much to say about this, like Romans 12: 1,

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship”.

Also 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18,

Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

Then in that final entering into God’s house or eternal home the emphasis will be both praise and thanksgiving as we read in Revelation 19: 6 – 7,

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has

come, and his bride has made herself ready”.

The symbols here are, the Lamb is Jesus and his bride is his church, the true members of his eternal family who will enter into his eternal home in heaven.

Those who think that heaven will be a quiet, peaceful place of reflection like floating on a cloud playing a harp forever will get a rude shock in heaven because it is more a place of great joyful, thankful and fruitful service and praise, something I am really looking forward to in the future.

  1. (vs. 4b) Thank God

The second part of verse 4 like the first emphasises the concept of thanksgiving as the prime way of how God wants to come into his presence, verse 4b reads,

“Give thanks to him and praise his name”.

 I mentioned in my introduction the wonderful benefits of giving thanks and spiritually these benefits go even deeper. I referred to Pauls command to the Thessalonians to give thanks in all circumstances in the first part of this verse. Let me remind you of those verses in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18,

Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

Note how Paul like the writer of Psalm 100 says that giving thanks is what God wants us to do. Giving thanks and praising God in all circumstances involves doing this even in difficult times like sickness or persecution. In fact the real test of our faith is, do we give thanks to God and praise God in difficult times as Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1: 6 – 9,

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.

 On one of my short -term mission trips to Myanmar (Burma) a few years ago I came down with a painful and unpleasant illness for three days. On the first night of this time of sickness I was scheduled to preach at a large New Years Eve service in a church in the rural Myanmar town we were ministering in. New Year Eve services are a big deal for the Christians in Myanmar. I sent prayer requests home, the team I was with on that trip prayed for me and of course I was much in prayer.

God enabled me, though still in much pain to get to the church service around 11pm that night. As I sat up the front of the church waiting for my time to preach I was in much pain but as I rose to preach the pain seemed to go and I was able to both preach and sing for over half an hour. As soon as I sat down the pain returned and soon after the service I was taken back to my hotel very ill indeed.

I was able to join with my team and local supporters soon after this when I was on the mend and give God great praise and thanks for his power to enable me to preach and sing that night and this whole experience taught me that even in pain and sickness we can look to God with praise and thanksgiving especially when he comes close to us to help us cope with our pain and sickness.

Other Christians have to suffer far more than I did on that mission trip to Myanmar but they too can know the help only God through Jesus can give them as Jesus offers in Matthew 11: 28 – 30,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 For this great promise of Jesus and the reality of its truth we can claim in our lives we should give thanks and praise to God.

Far greater thanks and praise can be given to God for what he has done for us in sending Jesus into this world to pay for our sins on the cross. God gave up so much for us to save us and this is the grounds of our thanksgiving to God as Paul tells the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 10: 16 – 17,

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf”.

I close this third section of this Psalm with my third verse of my rewritten version of the old hymn “All people who on earth do dwell” and its New Testament inspired refrain:

Enter God’s house and give him praise

And come before his throne with joy.

Give him the thanks that he deserves

May constant praise your lives employ.

Refrain:

Rejoice, rejoice in God our king.

Give thanks, give thanks and joyfully sing

For Jesus Christ died for my sin

So now I come to worship him.

  1. (vs. 5)   WHY GOD WANTS OUR THANKS

 We come then to the fourth and final section of this Psalm, which explains even further why God deserves and wants our praise and thanks.

I have broken this fourth section into two parts as well which are:

  1. The Lord is good
  2. His love and faithfulness endures forever.

 Lets look then at these two parts:

  1. The Lord is good

So this second call for praise and thanks to the God of the bible is followed up by a verse that sets down two more reasons why we should praise and thank our God the king and the first reason is in the first phrase of verse 5 that simply says,

“The Lord is good”

 David Guzik spells out beautifully the full extent of God’s goodness,

“He is good in His plans, good in His grace, good in His forgiveness, good in His covenant, and good in every aspect of His being”.

 The God of the bible is the only God or system of religion that speaks of the God of heaven and earths this way. Even Islam has a different view of the love and goodness of God and this is well set down by a article on the differences between the Christian God and the God of the Koran by The Arabic Bible – Outreach ministry when they write,

“The Qur’an calls God “the loving” (Al Wadud), but the meaning is rather different from the Christian idea of God’s love. It implies “approval”; thus the Qur’an says that God loves (approves of) the good, but does not love (approve of) the evil-doers (3, Ali “Imran 29/32, 70/76 etc). The Qur’an speaks much of God’s goodness in creation and in sending prophets, but nowhere says that God loves the world, nor that God loves sinners, nor that “God is love” (cf. John 3; 16; Romans 5: 8 1John 4:8)”.

 However here in Psalm 100 verse 5 and right through the bible and particularly in the New Testament God is good.

Jesus said, Mark 10: 18,

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

 Paul said, 1 Timothy 4: 4,

“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving”.

And James said, James 1: 17,

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”.

So these verses tell us that not only is God good but everything he does and says is good. We should then trust in this God and taste or experience his goodness in our lives as David challenges us to do in Psalm 34: 8,

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him”.

 David is speaking to God through difficult times but is saying even then God is good.

Paul makes it clear that God’s goodness works its way out, for those who put there trust in him in all circumstances, Romans 8: 28,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who] have been called according to his purpose”

Even my terrible three day illness on my Myanmar mission trip years ago worked out for the good because it taught me to trust and thank God in all circumstances and it has become for me and others who know me a testimony to the love and goodness of God who helped me minister in that Church on New Years eve in Myanmar and it was a testimony to God’s healing power when I was brought out of the illness only after three days.

No matter what our situation, if we look to God we can taste and see how true is the goodness of God if we would but put our faith and trust in him and what his Son did for us on the cross.

  1. His love and faithfulness endures forever.

 The final words of verse 5, the final words of the Psalm speak wonderfully of the love and faithfulness of God as the final reason why we should thank and praise our God the king.

These final words of the Psalm read like this,

“His love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations”.

 This is simply a wonderful expression of the covenantal love of God the love God promised in the first covenant to Israel long ago which we read in Deuteronomy 7: 7 – 9,

“The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments”.

David spoke often of this covenantal love of God like Psalm 57: 3,

“God sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; God sends his love and his faithfulness”.

And again in verse 10 of Psalm 57,

“For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches the skies”.

Israel and even David did not deserve this love and faithfulness of God because both failed God on many occasions yet God continued to offer his love to them both. The God of the bible offers a very special kind of love that the New Testament calls grace as Paul speaks of in Ephesians 2: 8- 9,

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast”.

This covenant of love or grace is the basis of the whole Old Testament word from God or word of God and it becomes even clearer in the New Testament, which documents the life, teaching and its implications of the Lord Jesus Christ for our lives. This is even clearer in the well known verse in Johns Gospel, John 3: 16,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

This love of God is expressed in Jesus the foundation of what the writer to the Hebrews calls the New Covenant in Hebrews 9: 14 – 15,

“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

 15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant”.

So these final words of Psalm 100 tell us we should thank and praise God because of his eternal promise of his love and faithfulness, which means his word, which it says, endures forever.

This everlasting great love of God given to us through his Son Jesus Christ which we find expressed so wonderfully in his word, the bible should be the grounds for not only our love for God or thanks and praise of God but also our love for one another which Peter spells out in 1 Peter 1: 21 – 25,

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been

born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and

enduring word of God. 24 For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you”.

I close this fourth and final section of the Psalm with the fourth verse of my rewritten version of the old hymn “All people who on earth do dwell” and its New Testament inspired refrain:

“The Lord our God is God indeed

For all his love and grace is sure.

God’s word stands firm and will not change

His faithfulness and his love endure.

 Refrain:

Rejoice, rejoice in God our king.

Give thanks, give thanks and joyfully sing

For Jesus Christ died for my sin

So now I come to worship him.

 CONCLUSION

 We have seen in Psalm 100 the call of God to worship him with thanks and praise inspired by who he is and what he has done for us. He is our God the king who made us his people that he leads like his sheep. He is totally good and gives us good things and he loves us with a love we do not deserve a love that will endure forever.

This is then the great doxology of the past seven Psalms that speak so powerfully of the God of the bible being our King who reigns in heaven and on earth forever who deserves our thanks and worship and of course our service in taking his message of His love to the world.

I close as usual with a poem and a prayer and my poem is the words of the rewritten old hymn “All people who on earth do dwell” and its New Testament inspired refrain.

WORSHIP HIM

(Based on Psalm100)

(Rewrite of the hymn “All people who on earth do dwell)

  1. All God’s people who dwell on earth

Sing to the Lord with a joyful voice.

Serve the Lord with gladness and praise

Come now before him and rejoice.

          

           Refrain:

Rejoice, Rejoice in God our King

Give thanks, give thanks and joyfully sing.

For Jesus Christ died for my sin

So now I come to worship him.

 

  1. Know that the Lord is God indeed

He made his people and they belong to him.

We are his sheep and he leads us on

He calls us now to praise and sing.

          

           Refrain:

Rejoice, Rejoice in God our King

Give thanks, give thanks and joyfully sing.

For Jesus Christ died for my sin

So now I come to worship him.

 

  1. Enter God’s house and give him praise

And come before his throne with joy.

Give him the thanks that he deserves

May constant praise your lives employ.

          

           Refrain:

Rejoice, Rejoice in God our King

Give thanks, give thanks and joyfully sing.

For Jesus Christ died for my sin

So now I come to worship him.

 

  1. The Lord our God is God indeed

For all his love and grace is sure.

God’s word stands firm and will not change

His faithfulness and his love endure.

          

           Refrain:

Rejoice, Rejoice in God our King

Give thanks, give thanks and joyfully sing.

For Jesus Christ died for my sin

So now I come to worship him.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

PRAYER:

 O Lord our God you are our God and we give you our thanks and praise because you made us and lead us like your sheep. Help us to come to you in worship and praise particularly thanking you for the sending of your son to earth to die for our sins on the cross. May our very lives be a sacrifice of praises our thanks as we seek to serve you in this world by proclaiming your love to this world. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.