Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Psalm 100 - A Psalm for Giving Thanks

Psalm 100

dandelion

A Psalm for Giving Thanks

1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
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.

Psalm 100

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This is one of the first psalms that I was taught in Sunday School many years ago. I learned it from the KJV. I think perhaps I can still recite this short psalm, but it would be with a mixture of KJV and some newer version of the verses. It is a good psalm for all to memorize.  It is not just for youngsters it is for all "children" of God.  I must admit that memorizing Bible verses is more and more difficult for me.  Over the years memorization is a disciplin and skill that I have lost.

This short psalm startes with a bang.  Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!  Psalm 100:1 Some versions read "Shout triumphantly" to the Lord.  The hebrew word here is רועַ rua.  It means: to split the ears, shout for joy, give a blast, to shout in applause with religious impulse, to shout in victory. One is to SHOUT.  Don't whisper or mumble to the Lord, shout with joy.   And all the people of the world are to shout. These are verbal expressions of  gratitude and thanksgiving.  There are time when we become aware of things that God has done that we cannot contain ourselves. We may see Him is some small or great thing that happened in our life. When those times come, don't accept it without even a murmur. Lift your voice in praise and thanksgiving.  Give Him the adoration of your heart.  Sing to the Lord with JOY.  Our adoration of God should not be with a long face, but with a heart filled with joy.

Serve the Lord with gladness!  Psalm 100:2   In the previous verse we were to thank the Lord joyously.  In this verse we are told to serve the Lord, and to serve Him with gladness.  This is the natural order of a person's relationship with God. Once on knows the Lord they will adore Him.  Once they adore Him they will want to serve Him. God is not a tyrannical king who forces His people to serve Him. One serves the Lord because they love Him. We love God because He saved us by His grace. Christians do not serve the Lord to be saved, we serve because we are saved. The hebrew word here translated as gladness is שִׂמְחָה simha.  It is translated as joyfulness, gladness, mirth, pleasure and glee.  In doing God's work we are doing it for Him.  Glad service is grateful response to the grace of God.

Today many confuse joy with happiness. This mistake is not made in the Bible. Happiness is an emotional state that is generally dependent upon external circumstances.  Happiness is often short lived and fleeting. Joy is much deeper than our shallow happiness.  Joy includes much more. Joy includes a sense of well-being.  There is confidence, trust and hope in joy. Joy includes an assurance that God is with us and that He will deliver us.  No matter what are circumstances are we can still have joy.  Difficulties, sin, suffering, and legitimate sadness will not destroy our joy.  God is sovereign and He will save His children.

Come into his presence with singing!  Psalm 100:2  The word singing here is the Hebrew word רְנָנָה  r nana.  This word means a shout for joy, singing, and triumphing.  When we come into the presence of God We should have a song of praise and thanksgiving in our heart.  We should have confidence in God's presence in our life at all times. That confidence is joy. It is something to sing about.  We should sing with joy. We should come before God's presence with songs of joy, thanksgiving and praise.  This should be our atitude a our worship services.  This should be our atitude as we serve the Lord in all aspects of our life. Charles Spurgeon says: Singing, as it is a joyful, and at the same time a devout, exercise, should be a constant form of approach to God.

It is difficult to distinguish joy from happiness in a person's walk or face, but joy should be a reason for a smile.  Does your face and body reflect the joy of knowing God?  Look around, how many people do you see smiling?  If you actually see someone with a smile on their face, do you wonder what is wrong with them? A little smile on ones face couldn't hurt.  If you smile someone might think you were strange.  They might ask you why you are smiling.  Wouldn't it be great to tell them.

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Priority of Service

When Dr. W. A. Criswell, pastor of the largest Southern Baptist church in the world, was preaching in the North Shore Baptist Church in Chicago, he was entertained at the home of deacon James L. Kraft, who was superintendent of the Sunday school and founder of Kraft Foods. Kraft said that as a young man he had a desire to be the most famous manufacturer and salesman of cheese in the world. He planned on becoming rich and famous by making and selling cheese and began as a young fellow with a little buggy pulled by a pony named Paddy. After making his cheese, he would load his wagon and he and Paddy would drive down the streets of Chicago to sell the cheese. As the months passed, the young Kraft began to despair because he was not making any money, in spite of his long hours and hard work.

One day he pulled his pony to a stop and began to talk to him. He said, “Paddy, there is something wrong. We are not doing it right. I am afraid we have things turned around and our priorities are not where they ought to be. Maybe we ought to serve God and place him first in our lives.” Kraft then drove home and made a covenant that for the rest of his life he would first serve God and then would work as God directed.

Many years after this, Dr. Criswell heard James Kraft say, “I would rather be a layman in the North Shore Baptist Church than to head the greatest corporation in America. My first job is serving Jesus.” 
(Adapted from W. A. Criswell, Acts [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983], pp. 187-88.)



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