A PSALM OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
PSALM 100 is one of the best known and loved of the Psalms. It is the only Psalm with the inscription, A Psalm of praise. It was probably written by David, and was sung when the sacrifice of thanksgiving was offered (Leviticus 7: 12). The people would chant the Psalm as they entered the temple or as they began worship. During the Christian Age, this Psalm has been sung frequently, and many hymns have been based upon it. Martin Luther put it to music. Let us consider this psalm, verse by verse:
“Make a Joyful Noise unto the LORD”
V. 1: “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.”
This verse is practically a repetition of Psalm 98: 4: “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” This “joyful noise” signifies a glad shout, one that loyal subjects would give when their King appears. The Harrison translation renders it: “Let all the earth shout for joy to the LORD.”
The message is “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD,” and it is addressed to “all ye lands.” This message has been delivered by the Lord’s people throughout the Jewish and Gospel Ages, though often imperfectly. It has only been received by relatively few, but according to the Scriptures, God’s Word will not fail, but will accomplish the greatest fruitfulness and a complete fulfillment in the future (Isaiah 55: 11). The great Hallelujah chorus, which will take place following the Millennial Age and its Little Season, is pictured in Exodus 15: 1-21 and Revelation 5: 13.
“Serve the LORD with Gladness” and “Singing”
V. 2: “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”
The Knox translation renders it, “Pay to the LORD the homage of your rejoicing, appear in his presence with glad hearts.” The Lord’s people enter the Lord’s service at consecration, and it is the greatest privilege that a human being can possess. A servant of the Lord must develop and possess several qualities of character, such as meekness, zeal, obedience and reverence. One of the most essential qualities is joy, which may be defined as the quality of heart and mind which exercises exultation, gladness or happiness of spirit.
Psalm 2: 11 reads, “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Some have, and do serve the Lord with dread because of the errors of the dark ages, such as the blasphemous false doctrine of eternal torment. The correct thought of this verse is not dread, but reverence. With this in mind, the invitation of verse 2 is to serve God with joy, not with melancholy. God surely deserves service and worship by happy people. Could we bear to be waited upon by a servant who goes about moping and dejected at every task? If that were the case, would we not be better off without such a servant? Philippians 4: 4 reads, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Counting our blessings enables us to joy over and over again, even amidst tribulations.
The second part of verse 2, “come before his presence with singing,” is an invitation to approach the Lord with praise and thanksgiving and with a heart filled with joy. This is not an invitation to enter into the Lord’s presence literally; but it does refer to the singing of literal hymns, to our prayers of praise and thanksgiving and most especially to the living of our lives, filled with a joyful spirit. The Apostle describes it well in Ephesians 5: 19: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
Our Maker and Shepherd
V. 3: “Know ye that the LORD he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”
There are three parts to this verse. The first part, “Know ye that the LORD he is God,” is an appeal to our reason – God exists. Only a foolish person would conclude that there is no God, as we read in Psalm 14: 1: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” The Scriptures present God as the self-existent, eternal, self-sufficient, immortal, omnipotent and omniscient One. Hebrews 11: 6 states, “He that cometh to God must believe that he is [exists], and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” The Lord’s people by faith and through His Word have learned by experience that God is a personal God who sympathizes and cares for His people, and has made a Plan that encompasses the whole world. Knowing this, we may rejoice in our place in that Plan, as well as the blessings that await the groaning creation.
The second part, “it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves,” states that God is the Creator of man, and that we are His indirect creation through Father Adam. As our Creator, we are His, and as such, owe Him our allegiance. All of the qualities we possess are gifts from God. We sometimes hear that so and so is a self-made man, but according to this verse, there is no such thing as a self-made man. The Apostle states it well in 1 Corinthians 4: 7: “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”
The third part, “we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture,” give us further cause for rejoicing. What a blessed favor it is to become one of the Lord’s people in this life, and it is all due to God’s grace. Jesus stated that no man could come to Him unless he were drawn of the Father (John 6: 44). Furthermore, it is only by the Father’s invitation that one may be enabled to consecrate his life to God (Romans 12: 1). We also recognize that we are not our own, but that we were bought with a price, the precious blood of our Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20: 7: 22, 23). This verse uses the illustration of a shepherd’s care over his sheep to impress upon us the Great Shepherd’s care over us as His people. Just as a literal shepherd guides, tends to and feeds his literal sheep, so the Heavenly Father guides, tends to and feeds us as His people.
Thanksgiving and Praise
V. 4: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”
The first part of this verse is an exhortation to enter into consecration joyfully. To enter into consecration with any other spirit is unacceptable. The appreciative child of God does so joyfully and continues to “count it all joy” when difficulties come, because he recognizes that the Christian life is one of faith. The Apostle sums it up well in Romans 5: 3-5: “Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed.” The New English Bible translation renders it: “And endurance brings proof that we have stood the test and this proof is the ground of hope.”
The second part of this verse, “bless his name,” means to praise God’s name by proclaiming His Plan; and it is His Plan that reflects credit upon Him because it displays His marvelous attributes of character, especially His Wisdom, Power, Justice and Love.
The Lord’s Goodness, Mercy and Truth
V. 5: “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
The American Standard Version renders this verse: “For Jehovah is good; his lovingkindness endureth for ever, and his faithfulness unto all generations.” The word “For” is followed by three reasons why the Lord deserves joyful praise, thanksgiving and service: (1) “Jehovah is good,” that is, He is large-hearted, as shown in His person, character, Plan and works. We see this in His creation of angels and men; we see it in every step and phase of His Plan; and the supreme example of His goodness is seen in His Son; (2) “his lovingkindness endureth for ever,” that is, His favor will forever shower the faithful with joys and blessings; and (3) “his faithfulness unto all generations” describes the quality whereby He will always exercise loyalty toward His faithful creatures, despite all difficulties.
Psalm 100 is a short, but most beautiful Psalm, that has proven to be an inspiration to Jews and Christians for thousands of years; and that will undoubtedly inspire the world of mankind in the coming Millennial Age Kingdom. We recommend the memorizing of, and meditation of this Psalm, in order to receive the maximum blessing intended.
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