(Psalm 100) Remember the last time you cut loose and got silly cheering you child around the bases. That special one was running just as fast as their five year-old legs would take them. You hooped and hollered until they crossed home plate. Then you sat down, looked at the parent in front of you, you know the one you don’t know and said, “The one’s mine.” There was no sense of shame or impropriety and you couldn’t wait to have the chance to do it again. Now move from Saturday at the ballpark to Sunday at the morning service. Are you ready to do it again, just like the day before? Or, is there a tendency within you to look a bit impatiently at the person two rows down and to the left who just amened the preacher or raised their hand during a stirring song?
What happened? You wanted to join two rows down to the left but just couldn’t bring yourself to do it. Now I’m not talking about a disruptive, look at me dance around the auditorium. Rather just a simple expression of joy. “But that’s not who I am.” Really, it was yesterday. “But I think we should quietly reverence God and not make a big stir.” Agreed, kind of. One must be careful not to take the focus of the service off the One to whom all should be focusing. However, one should be ready to openly express devotion and joy to toward that One to whom all should be focusing.
Enter Psalm 100. It is one of the shortest songs in the Bible’s songbook. Take a moment and do a slow read of the entire five verses. Watch closely for expressed praise and the reason for the expression. It is not known who wrote this one so maybe God wants you to understand that anyone could write this psalm and everyone should want to.
The purpose of Psalm 100 is undeniable. It is found in the opening words: “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth” (v.1). No mistaking the meaning, no way to side-step or explain it away. In the original language, Hebrew, the word “shout” means…shout. It literally means “to split the ear with sound; glad, happy sound.”
Why shout? Because the Lord has filled you with joy. Who should shout? Everyone. What has prompted the shout, this audible expression of praise? That’ the rest of the psalm.
First, the psalmist reminds the reader that he or she can have joy knowing that they are invited into the very presence of God (v.2). Even more, He has sent out the invitation. Even more, He welcomes the song of the worshiper. He is not looking for a perfect sound but a grateful, thankful, reverent and celebrative one. The Lord invites us to sing Him a song; the one that wells up from our joy-filled soul.
Next, God gives us a reason for such the expression: “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” (v.3). Wow, I can celebrate because God made me. Consider this, is it reasonable to think that if God made me He knows me and knows what I need most, long for, or to just know that He knows?
The psalm also clearly states that God owns me and cares for me. God loves me and He loves you. He is the shepherd for all His people. Jesus said the good shepherd loves His sheep to the point of dying for them (John 10:11). Now isn’t that worth an amen or a raised hand, and not a shy one?
In verse four we find that we are to come into His courts, right through the very gates that lead to God’s presence, and thank and praise Him. The word “praise” here comes from the Hebrew “Tahillah” which is also the word used as the title of this book, “Psalms”. The word means a praised expressed in song sung aloud.
Every wonder what God thinks when He hears, “I’m not a singer” or worse “I don’t like to sing.”? Is it not odd that God would call on His worshipers to sing aloud to Him and then not put a desire to sing into their heart? No, not liking to sing is not an attribute that the Lord has put within a person. Rather, it is the choice of the individual, and not a good one. The same idea is expressed in the word for thanksgiving. It describes an entire choir of praise and “to extend the hand in adoration.”
In his closing, the writer pens, “For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations” (v.5). Here is the best reason to vocally express gratitude, to physically extend a hand toward God. First He is “good” coming from a word that describing something being exactly as it should be; like all that God created in Genesis 1 (“and God said it was good”). Let’s get excited about God because He is exactly what He should be and does exactly what He should do.
Next His unconditional love can overcome and outlast anything and everything that would seek to undo it. It continues. God’s loves is so strong that there will never be a time when it is not. The song writer declares “His (God’s) faithfulness.”
And lastly, God’s faithfulness, His stability and truth flows out from generation to generation. It never ends; you can depend on it.
The psalmist hit this one out of the park, just like you child did at the game. And just like that mom and dad jumped and shouted for the entire world to see and for all know whose special one that one was, let’s praise the Lord the same way and for the same reason.