A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
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.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving(Ps. 100:1-5 NIV)
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures for ever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
This Psalm is often used as a call to worship. The summons to worship goes out to all the earth. Those who do not respond will be held accountable for their disobedience. As Paul tells us in the book of Romans there are three witnesses that speak of God, the witness of creation, the witness of conscience and the witness of God’s law. Therefore all the earth is without excuse for not responding to God. All people on earth are duty bound to acknowledge the name of the Lord. We’re often told, even from within the church, that we should not impose our faith on other people, yet God has already imposed this call to worship on all. The God of heaven is Yahweh, the warrior God. All people exist because of God’s grace and blessings. The gladness of worshipping the Lord comes from the fact that when we are worshipping we are doing what God designed us to do. Gladness enters our souls when we are living in harmony with the Creator, Redeemer, and King. The singing of joyful songs is the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips. We sing because God has given us a song to sing, we pray because God calls us to come. A sage piece of advice that used to be given to children was ‘Do not speak until you are spoken to.’ It is good for us to begin with God’s word before we pray, before we sing, before we worship. Let God take the initiative through His word calling us to come.
In verse three the word ‘know’ is in the imperative and commands us to know, meaning to know and confess. We confess that the Lord our God is the one and only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there is no other God. God is not identical with the gods of other religions but just called by other names. God has revealed His names, we invent no other to address Him. This one true God is the God who made us. We belong to God. He owns us by creation and He owns us by redemption. God is involved with every day of our lives because we are the sheep of His pasture, He feeds and tends the sheep. The good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep. We our God’s possession at a very high price.
From God’s pasture we can enter the gates of His presence with thanksgiving. We can be thankful that God created us and He gave us life, and we can be thankful that God gave us new life in the Lord Jesus Christ. We roam God’s pastures and we enter into God’s court with the sacrifice of praise. We do not approach His courts with merely words, but from our hearts we express that thankfulness. We praise His name because as we explore the meaning of each name it reveals to us the character and work of the Lord.
The Lord is our Shepherd, He is the good Shepherd, the Lord is good and his love (hesed) endures forever. I have made a practice of giving you the Hebrew word behind the word ‘love’ because this is the covenant love with which God, by His unchangeable nature, has bound Himself to us. As the hymnwriter puts it, this is ‘love that will not let me go!’ We are bound into this love that God has solemnly pledged to us. This love endures forever. Everything we have in life will one day be left behind, but this enduring love we will have with us for all eternity. This love will not let me go in life, in death and throughout all eternity. The faithfulness of God in exercising this covenant love has continued through all generations. My grandfather and grandmother’s generation, my father and mother’s, my sons and daughters’, and their children’s generations. Some of you have great grandchildren. In most cases the older we get, the less influence we have over those succeeding generations. But the covenant love of God is expressed. Sometimes when we leave home for a journey or a short period away we ask God to look after our family when we are gone. We all know what is meant by this and we don’t need to be over critical, but God looks after our family even when we are there. As God has looked after your generation so he looks after the next generation. In the local church we have a number of generations, and the love of God is faithfully exercised to us all. We are loved because God loves us and we should respond by loving one another.
Lord God we give You our thanks for the abundance of the blessings that we enjoy in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have become the sheep of Your pasture because Christ our good Shepherd has died for us. Lord we rejoice before You with our sins forgiven, and we thank You that You call us and permit us to enter Your presence in the name of Jesus Christ. We give our thanks through the name of Christ. Amen.