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“Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted” (Psalm 89:15). How shall we give thanks to the LORD? What could we do for the one who has done all for us? What could we give to the one who has given us everything? The 100th Psalm is a song for giving thanks. “The verses are few but big with great subjects; may the seed bring forth within your hearts, the barn be prepared for the Lord’s harvest.”[1]

The heading or title says, “A Psalm of Thanksgiving.” The word “thanksgiving” is used “to express one’s public proclamation or declaration (confession) of God’s attributes and his works. This concept is at the heart of the meaning of praise. Praise is a confession or declaration of who God is and what he does.”[2] The word is richer than “thanks.” It is more than being grateful. God deserves more than what we could ever express. The word could be better translated “confession,” for the person confesses or declares God’s attributes and works, as seen abundantly in the Psalter (cf. Ps 89:5 [H 6]; Ps 105; Ps 106; Ps 145) and elsewhere (cf. I Chron. 29:13). Therefore, yādâ is one of the keywords for “praise.”[3] The Psalm then tells us how we might praise God for his wonderful works. It is no mere ritual of recitation. Rather, this worship is “it is the expression of a mind poured forth in joy, expressing, as far as it is able, the affection, but not compassing the feeling.”[4]

 

JOYFULLY WORSHIP HIM—PSALM 100:1-2

The Psalm begins “make a joyful noise to the LORD.” The “joyful noise” is one that “makes a loud, public noise that signals a feeling or a future action.”[5] This declaration of God’s goodness is to be felt over al his created land. All the earth should praise God. “And since he invites the whole of the inhabitants of the earth indiscriminately to praise Jehovah, he seems, in the spirit of prophecy, to refer to the period when the Church would be gathered out of different nations.”[6] All are created by and blessed by God. Therefore, all should worship God.

Just as Adam was placed in the Garden to tend and keep it for God’s glory, we are placed in this world to reflect God’s glory in creation. So, we “Serve the LORD with gladness!” We “Come into his presence with singing!” Our continual worship of God is demonstrated in the word serve. It means “to serve, perform service (to God), work; to till (the ground).”[7] We have taken Adam’s place. We are to perform services to God. Just as Adam worked in the Garden to glorify God, we are his servants of glory.

We are not to be led astray like Adam. “As it is then a most difficult thing to retain men in the practice of the pure worship of God, the prophet, not without reason, recalls the world from its accustomed vanity, and commands them to recognize God as God.”[8] We are to follow Christ, the second Adam, in perfect dedication and holiness.

This service is to carried out joyfully. The word is used for joyful cries of worship (Neh. 12:43) and for feasts (Prov. 21:17). Nehemiah 8:12 used the word to describe the peoples’ joy for having heard and understood God’s Word.

We are to “Come before his presence with singing.” “The initial use of rānan is in Lev 9:24 where the shout of jubilation is connected with a divinely appointed sacrifice. This usage of the term to describe the joy of Israel at God’s saving acts is carried on throughout the out.”[9]

 

CONFESSIONALLY WORSHIP HIM—PSALM 100:3

We are told to “know that the LORD is God.” We are being told to do more than to know that fact, we are challenged to acknowledge that reality (CSB). “Knowing a person or deity in a position of authority means recognizing his or her authority (Deut 4:39; 1 Sam 3:20; Isa 1:3). The book of Ezekiel emphasizes that God’s actions of judgment are for the purpose of bringing Israel to recognize his authority (Ezek 6:7; 7:4; 11:12; 16:62; 39:28). Not knowing a person or deity means refusing to acknowledge their position of authority (Exod 1:8; 5:2; Judges 2:10; Hos 5:4).”[10] Only when we acknowledge the LORD as God, then we will worship him.

We acknowledge his position over us as our Creator and provider. The Psalmist described God as Creator when he wrote: “ It is he who made us, and we are the sheep of his pasture.” We should consider all that he has made and praise his craftsmanship. Christians are God’s creation in a special way. “Believers are the persons whom the prophet here declares to be God’s workmanship, not that they were made men in their mother’s womb, but in that sense in which Paul, in Eph. 2:10, calls them, Τὸ ποιημα, the workmanship of God because they are created unto good works which God hath before ordained that they should walk in them; and in reality, this agrees best with the subsequent context.”[11]

God is described as the caregiver in the second portion of the verse, “We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He is the one we trust so that “I shall not want.” We can “walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil because his rod and staff comfort us.”

Everything we are and everything we hope to be is dependent upon the Lord. He is our Creator and Sustainer. Without him, we would not exist. Without him, we would be helpless sheep with no Shepherd.

 

IMMANENTLY WORSHIP HIM—PSALM 100:4

We do not worship a god who is far away from us. We do not worship a god which we have to exhaust ourselves seeking. Instead, we worship the God who revealed himself to us. We worship the God who came near. We worship the God that dwells among us and beckons us to his home.

We are to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him and bless his name.” This was meaningful for the Jews as they entered the Temple for worship. As they followed the shining glory of the Temple as the North Star until they reached their destination of worship, this very Psalm would have been on their lips and hearts as their foot crossed the barrier. They were not excluded. They were welcomed, even commanded to come near.

For Christians, this passage is even more precious. We are the Temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Acts 5:32). We don’t enter his gates, he has entered us. Therefore, we should always be giving thanks (worshipfully acknowledging God). We should always “bless his name.” We are blessed to be servants in his house. “Fear not the servitude of that Lord: there will be no groaning there, no discontent, no indignation; no one seeketh to be sold to another master, since it is a sweet service, because we are all redeemed. Great happiness, brethren, it is, to be a slave in that great house, although in bonds.”[12]

But our present joy is also a joyful expectation. We live in expectation of the return of the King. We call out “how long?” as we wait for Jesus’ return for our ultimate redemption. Christians are marching toward that Heavenly Temple with Jesus as the North Star and the Bible as our guide. Throughout the journey, we praise God for the his wonderful works.

 

ENABLED WORSHIP—PSALM 100:5

Christians are able to worship God because of his own character. God is “good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” We deserve death. We are blessed to be a part of God’s chorus. Psalm 100:5 emphasized God’s faithful mercy. His merciful character is the reason we want to worship and the reason we are able to worship. We must be worshipful because of who God is.

Since we must be worshipful because of who God is, then we must recognize what it means to not worship him. To not worship God is to make him less than God in our own eyes. This is blasphemy. This is rebellion. To not worship God is to break the natural and created order. It is to make ourselves god in our own eyes. This life will lead only to misery. We cannot satisfy our own needs. We will never satisfy ourselves. We will never be able to care for ourselves. All our needs and questions rest in God for answers.

 

CONCLUSION

Let us be worshipers of God. The ancient Christians recognized the need for full and continual devotion and we should join their piety.  Cassiodorus, in his “Homilies on the Gospels” wrote:

“If by the gift of his grace we pursue him eagerly, always with a pure and untiring heart, he will be propitious toward all our iniquities, according to the promises made to our ancestors. He will satisfy our desire with good things, he will crown us unto eternal life not as a reward for the works of justice that we have done of ourselves but in the compassion and mercy that he has given us, for he lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, throughout all ages. Amen.”[13]

Worship is the best and right function of our heart, soul, and mind.

              [1] Augustine of Hippo, “Expositions on the Book of Psalms,” in Saint Augustin: Expositions on the Book of Psalms, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 8, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888), 487.

              [2] Ralph H. Alexander, “847 יָדָה,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 364.

              [3] Ibid., 365.

              [4] Augustine of Hippo, “Expositions on the Book of Psalms,” 488.

              [5] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

              [6] John Calvin and James Anderson, Commentary on the Book of Psalms, vol. 4 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 83.

              [7] George M. Landes, Building Your Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary: Learning Words by Frequency and Cognate, vol. 41, Resources for Biblical Study (Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001), 57.

              [8] John Calvin and James Anderson, Commentary on the Book of Psalms, 84.

              [9] William White, “2179 רָנַן,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 851.

              [10] Jeremiah K. Garrett, “Knowledge,” ed. Douglas Mangum et al., Lexham Theological Wordbook, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).

              [11] John Calvin and James Anderson, Commentary on the Book of Psalms, 84.

              [12] Augustine of Hippo, “Expositions on the Book of Psalms,” in Saint Augustin: Expositions on the Book of Psalms, 489.

              [13] Quentin F. Wesselschmidt, ed., Psalms 51–150, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 8 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007), 202.

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