Are any of us weary of listening to news reports which seems to be filled with little hope? Is the atmosphere that we are living and working in heavy with a feeling of gloom? Is it beginning to seep into your spirit? Let us be encouraged to lift our voices to glorify our God today and receive His fresh joy and strength.
Psalm 100 NRSV
All Lands Summoned to Praise God
A Psalm of thanksgiving.
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;[a]
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Psalm 100 is a reminder of a sure and certain and true hope, a call to glorify and worship the Lord, with highest joy and greatest thanksgiving. It is a reminder to glorify and praise God for exactly who He is, as the Creator of this world.
But also who He is in relation to us, our Creator. We belong to God, and without a relationship with Him, there will always be a void, something missing from our lives – hope. We have the privilege to be His people, tended and cared for by Almighty God. Let us remind ourselves that we are much-loved children of God.
We belong to Him, the Sovereign ruler, we are His people, He is our benefactor.
We are the sheep of His pasture. God cares for us, and we can absolutely trust in His infinite mercy and goodness. This psalm gives a call to enter the place of God’s presence, His gates, and courts with praise. This Psalm of course referred to the Temple in Jerusalem. But now we no longer need to go to a particular place, to a Mountain or to a Temple — we worship in the Spirit and in truth.
The place of worship is irrelevant, because true worship is in keeping with God’s nature, which is Spirit. We glorify and praise and worship in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the truly undeniable truth of Jesus Christ. (John 4:19-26)
Praise is the key
The way for us to enter now into our Living Hope, being our God’s presence, is with thanksgiving — praise is but one key. When we remember that unexpected and undeserved gift (the gift of our salvation); when we remind ourselves of the hope and joy which we first felt when we received that gift of life, then out of the overflow of hopeful, hope filled, and grateful hearts, praise will flow. As we lift our hearts, minds, and voices in praise to the Lord, our perspective changes.
Our faith is mightily encouraged and strengthened to the possibilities in God. When we make a sacrifice of praise, choosing to thank God regardless of how we are feeling exactly right now, we are lifted up. As we praise God, as we bless Him with our thanksgiving, God pours out His blessing upon us. We receive joy and a strengthening in His presence — for our God inhabits the praises of His people.
The Point the Psalmist is trying to emphasize is this:
Our hearts warm up with the fires of hope, gladness and thanksgiving as we meditate on God’s goodness and approach corporate worship with His people.
How do we feel when we recite this Psalm?
We prayerfully feel warm sentiments of joy, gladness, and gratitude. When we really feel the true import of the words, “God is good to us,” we cannot help but respond in joyful praise. In a world that is lost without truth, we have found the ONLY One we can trust Who is the very paradigm of truth Himself. In a world of terrible sin and condemning guilt, we receive mercy from the God of all mercy. We are comforted to know we are God’s sheep, and He absolutely guarantees for us His feeding, protection, and salvation from the enemies of each of our souls.
What does this Psalm reveal to the reader?
Verses 1–2. As you have noticed, the Psalter in the Bible provides a specific categorization for every psalm (and there are very many “Praise Psalms”). Nevertheless, this is the only psalm which comes with the title “A Psalm of Praise,” which is provided, we will go on to assume, by the divine author.
The psalm begins with an invitation to the whole world to join in with glad praise to Yahweh God, the Creator of heaven and earth. This is in keeping with many other psalms (Psalms 67, 96:1, 97:1, 98:4, 99:1).
This psalm is part of a cluster of these “international psalms.” Our God is over the whole earth, and nothing short of the whole world giving Him glory and praise is appropriate. But this is far more than a general call to worship God. This is a call for “joyful” worship and glad service to God. True believers will always be “hopeful,” “hope-filled,” and “glad” servants of the Lord God.
In the Parable of the Talents told by Jesus, the fellow with the single talent was condemned to hell, but why? According to his own testimony, he buried the talent in the ground because he considered the Lord a hard and unreasonable Master, “reaping where he did not sow” (Matthew. 25:14–30). It was his perception of the Master that produced such miserable, unfaithful service.
If we are to provide glad service to our Lord, we must first begin with a right relationship with Him. If we think of God as a slave master or a harsh judge requiring something that we cannot possibly provide Him, our service will be that of a grudging slave, wretched, hopeless soul. Surely believe, our God is not some exacting Master and harsh Judge Who “reaps where he does not sow.”
In truth, He is so merciful, longsuffering, and gracious that He sent His Son in order to pay the penalty for our sins and reconcile us to Himself! (John 3:16-17)
As this is the case, we have every reason in the world to worship Him with gladness and enter into His glorious courts with singing. This is why merit-based salvation schemes are so dishonoring to God. They reduce millions of people to play the part of the miserable, unprofitable servant who was given a single talent. It minimizes, and takes for granted, the maximum Grace of God!
Verse 3. The rest of the psalm gives good reasons for our hopeful, hope-filled and joyful worship. First, we recognize God as our Creator. We look at our hands and know God made them for us, (Psalm 139:13-18) so we gladly raise them in worship. We think about our minds and voices, heart and soul, and ask, “What kind of a God would have given us these good things?” So we raise glad voices and worship the God of all goodness with the most joyful words we can find!
Not everybody will worship the God Who made them because they are in sinful rebellion against Him. Those who gather to sing this Psalm call themselves “the sheep of His pasture” (see also Psalm 95:7). They identify Jesus Christ as their Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20), they confess themselves to be His sheep. They trust He knows what He is doing as He leads them through trials and tribulations.
They submit themselves to His leadership. They receive His words of promise, hopeful encouragement, and rebuke through the reading and preaching of the Word. They listen carefully for His voice, knowing with maximum assurance that He will surely and certainly and TRUTHFULLY one day lead them to glory.
Verses 4–5. Our hope-filled joyful praise is also laced with words of gratitude and sentiments of thanksgiving. Continually, we recount the good things that He has done for us. We even interpret our trials as opportunities for growth. We see every good thing as a gift of His life coming down from the Father of lights.
Is there any other way to approach His courts? Yes! Sadly, there are some who discount and even dismiss God’s goodness and instead focus on their hopeless suffering and misery. They enter into the worship more focused on themselves than on God. They cannot see every good gift is undeserved because they do not, cannot view their own condition from God’s perspective. Their fundamental assumption is wrapped up in one simple statement, “I am not all that bad!”
This is a tragically, fatally-flawed assumption. In actuality, if Adam’s sinful progeny receive anything better than death and hell, they are recipients of something good from a God of beyond infinite forgiveness and mercy. If they are in God’s fold and yet receive chastisement from His rod and staff, there is good comfort here as well (Psalm 23:4). This is our hope-filled perspective.
How we perceive God will define our relationship with Him. When Charles Darwin’s daughter Annie died, this tragedy profoundly affected his view of God. He “became more willing to proclaim his theories—and his religious doubts.” Nine years later he published his famous book that redirected the entire world toward a godless naturalistic materialism. If a man cannot believe that God is good, he is walking into an old mine field in covenant rebellion against Him.
But for us, God’s goodness is the great presupposition of our lives. We hang all our hopes on this basic assumption. Whatever difficulties come our way, we say, “God is good.” Whatever crushing loss is suffered, God is good. Whatever blessing we receive, God is good. When things are at their worst, we are still holding to this great truth. When faced with the monumental problem of evil, we won’t surrender hope in God’s goodness. God is good, we are sinners.
God has a morally acceptable reason for the evil in the world because He is good. But even more importantly, God’s goodness provides a way of salvation for those who recognize and recognize and with hope-filled hearts, confess God to be good! When sinners finally admit that they are sinners and beg for mercy on the basis of the goodness of God, they shall obtain mercy from an infinite store.
We also recognize the goodness of God in providing us with His truth. We rely on the light of His truth to uncover our hypocrisies, self-deceptions, and sinful behavior. We need His truth to show us who we are, and then we cry out to Him for His mercy to deliver us from our sinful condition. Absent God’s truth and God’s mercy we would be forever lost. We thank God, We glorify God, We praise God, that He has mercifully revealed His truth to us, guides us to Christ’s cross for everlasting mercy, and then leads us on our way by the same light of truth!
How do I apply Psalm 100 to our lives now?
1. Be grateful. Be grateful. Be grateful! The sine qua non, or the “essential characteristic,” of the wicked is of their ungratefulness (Romans 1:21). They do not, cannot see that God is good. They eat His food and enjoy His blessings, cursing His name and refusing to give thanks. May God by His mercy keep us from this indescribable ingratitude! Every day, let us glorify and thank our God from the heart and soul for His good gifts, the chief of which is His redemption.
2. May our service and worship be filled with joy. Every single person in the world serves and worships something or somebody. Other people’s gods make promises in glossy brochures which they give to their followers. But we know from the Bible’s promises that service to the true and living God yields the most immeasurable degrees of hope-filled hope and abundance of blessings. Such a God Who is good, gracious, and longsuffering, even to those who hate Him, is worthy of our joyful and enthusiastic service today and for the rest of our lives.
Does Psalm 100 teach us to worship God?
This is a corporate psalm, a “we” psalm. “We” gather as God’s people and call ourselves “God’s sheep.” We do this in unity and humility. Without humility and unity in the expression of corporate joy, there is no church. May the church learn to express hope and joy together! As the Apostle exhorts us, “Rejoice with those who rejoice!” Too often, a third of the church comes to church rejoicing, a third of the church shows up in a grumpy mood, and a third is just disinterested and bored. The goal of the church is to learn to joyfully worship—in unison.
Draw near to God today, with hope-filled praise and thanksgiving, and His Living Word promises that He WILL draw near to you. Come back to the source and receive afresh, His love, joy, hope and peace, and give glory and thanks. He is worthy of all our praise. And hope is infectious, it changes the atmosphere!
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Let us all PRAY,
We want to link our voices with the whole of creation and rejoice in Your goodness and grace.
We want to glorify you and shout “Thank You” for Your great and might works and for the gifts and graces that You have bestowed on us.
We want to glorify you and shout “Thank You” Your grace is sufficient for all and that no-one is excluded from Your good and gracious offer of salvation – through faith in Christ.
We want to glorify you and shout “Thank You” that You loved us so much that You sent Jesus to be the propitiation for our sins and thank You that by faith You have removed our sin as far as the east is from the west – and are prepared to do the same for all who will trust in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.
May the entirety of our lives be a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving – for You alone are worthy of all of our praise and worship. in Jesus name we pray, AMEN.