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Psalm 100:1-100:5
Key Verse: 100:3

Happy Thanksgiving! On this Thanksgiving Sunday we are going to study Psalm 100. It is uniquely entitled in the book of Psalms, “A Psalm. For thanksgiving.” This Psalm has been loved by many people of God. This Psalm consists of five verses. Except the last verse there are imperative sentences in the four verses with the verbs, shout, worship, come, know, enter, give and praise. This Psalm commands first to shout for joy to the LORD and commands finally to give thanks to him and praise his name. It is because the Psalmist is so assured of who the LORD is and who we are. The LORD is worthy of all these commands. Our joy, thanksgiving and praise are to be directed to him.

First, the LORD is the God of joy (1-2). Look at verse 1. “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.” The beginning of this Psalm is majestic. Shouting for joy is the description of one’s extreme joy. Such a cannot be contained inside; it has to be burst out. People shout for joy when things go so well, beyond their expectation. In Isaiah it is written, “The mute tongue shout for joy” (35:6), and “The barren women shout for joy” (54:1). When a terribly selfish and lonely man met Saviour Jesus, he could not contain joy in himself. He invited all his friends to his home and had a feast of joy and thanks. But Psalm 100:1 is command, “Shout for joy to the LORD,” and it is addressed to all the earth, both to people of every language and all creatures on the earth. It is the expression of the Psalmist’s love for the LORD and faith in him. It is his prophetic vision that all the earth will shout for joy to the LORD. It will come true when the LORD’s salvation work is completed through his Son Jesus Christ and so all things are restored. The LORD will be known to all.

Look at verse 2. “Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” People should worship the LORD with reverent fear. But the LORD also wants us to worship him with gladness and come before him with joyful songs. How happy the parents will be when their children are joyful and come before them singing joyfully! They will be sad if the children come to them sorrowing and sobbing. Characteristically, worshipping the LORD is a joyful thing. Jesus once said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son” (Mt 22:1,2). What can make a king more joyful than his Son’s wedding? The kingdom of heaven is full of joy, like the joy of wedding. The LORD our God is the God of joy and gladness. According to John’s gospel the first miracle Jesus performed was to change water into wine in the wedding banquet. In a situation when wine was no more and so joy would be gone, Jesus changed water into wine and kept the joy in the wedding feast. Jesus came to this world to bestow joy on the lives of people, which otherwise would be dry and dreary and dark with many sorrowful events. Bible says, “Be joyful always” (1 Thess. 5:16). This is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. He wants his people to be joyful always. Many things can deprive us of joy. But we can be joyful in God through his Son Jesus Christ. When we worship the LORD with gladness and come before him with joyful songs, we can keep the joy in us and share the joy with others. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “…joy of the LORD is your strength.” It is true that joy makes us strong and energetic in life.

Second, the LORD is God the Creator (3-4). Look at verse 3a. “Know that the LORD is God.” The LORD is the God of the Bible. He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. When this God revealed himself to Moses, Moses asked, “What is your name?” The answer was, “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex 3:6, 13). The Psalmist is commanding to all those on the earth, “Know that the LORD is God.” People of the world wander not knowing who the true God is. When the Israelites were oscillating between the LORD and Baal, the prophet Elijah challenged them, saying, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” Then he proved that the LORD is God by letting the fire of the LORD fall from heaven and burn the sacrifice (1 Kings 18:21,38). And the LORD is the Father of Christ Jesus. Before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “Father…Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3). The final proof of the LORD being God is Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Jesus said in Mark 12:29, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” The people of all times including our time need this command, “Know that the LORD is God.” When we know that the LORD is God, we can truly know ourselves.

Look at verse 3b. “It is he who made us, and we are his.” How was the universe formed? How did the world and all things in it exist? What is the origin of human life? Who am I? These are fundamental questions all human beings can have. The Psalmist gives the crystal clear answer, “It is he who made us, and we are his.” In short, the LORD is God the Creator. Genesis 1:1 declares, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” He created all things out of nothing. John 1:3 says, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” Most significantly the LORD made us. Genesis 1:27 says, “…God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Because God created man in his image, man is seeking God and can know Him and have a fellowship with Him. In his wisdom he created two genders, male and female. It is so beautiful! Jesus confirmed this truth in Matthew 19:4, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female…?” When David thought about God’s creating him, he was marveled at the creation and said, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps 139:14). How marvelous it is that the LORD made me as his wonderful creature, his masterpiece! He made me, my soul, my heart, my mind, and each and every part of the body. The more science is developed, the more we find the mystery of our body and its functioning. We admire for his creation.

Recognizing the Creator is the foundation and beginning of human life. One cannot truly begin his or her life until the person knows the Creator God. Sadly there are many people who do not acknowledge the Creator God. According to Paul, God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. But people intentionally rejected the creation truth in their wickedness (Ro 1:20). God sorrowed over the Israelites who went astray, “The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand” (Isa 1:3). When we think about God’s creation in a right mind, we cannot but thank and praise God for his creation. The first book of the Bible declares God’s creation and proclaims his glory. In the book of Psalms are full of praise for God’s creation. Psalm 104:24 says, “How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” Psalm 8:3-5 says, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour.” And in the last of the Bible is the song of praise for God’s creation: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Rev 4:11). However the world changes, we must keep this fundamental truth of God’s creation truth in our hearts and praise him, and grow deeper in the knowledge that he made us.

Then why did he make us? We cannot fathom all the creation purpose. According to Westminster Shorter Catechism, man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever. And Ephesians 2:10 says, “…we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

He made us. So we are his. What a great security! What a great comfort! Here is our eternal security and everlasting comfort. One’s possession is so precious to the person. We are his. So he engraved each of us on the palms of his hands (Isa 49:16). The LORD says, “Though your mother forgets you, I will not forget you.” I am his. It also means my life is his and belongs to him. My life is not my own. There are many people who think their lives are their own and live their lives as they want. Some can be successful in the world and become proud of what their accomplishments and their positions. Others become full of shame and guilt and failures. But regardless of their success or failures all cannot escape the reality of fear and anxiety in life, unless they admit from their hearts that they are his and their lives belong to him. When we recognize that we are his and our life is his, we cannot live a selfish life or waste away our life. We want to live a most productive and fruitful life for God and our others. Such a life cannot be done by our own strength and effort. The LORD God wants us to put our faith and trust in him. He will give us strength each time of need and guide us in every path of our lives. He does not lead us in easy ways but into the paths of righteousness. And Proverbs 3:6 says, “in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Look at 3c. “we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” The concept of people is related to governing. The people of Canada, Canadians, are governed by Canadian government. We are his people, the people of God. God’s people are governed by God. The Ten Commandments begin with these words, “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Ex 20:2). No one could bring them out of Egypt, the superpower nation of that time. But the LORD God brought them out of that land of slavery and led them out to the land of liberty. The Israelites became the people of God. Isaiah 43:1 says, “…O Israel, I have redeemed you…you are mine.” In the New Testament Peter said to the early Christians, “…You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 Pet 2:9). Christ redeemed us and we are a people belonging to him. What a grace it is to be chosen as his people.

And “the sheep of his pasture.” The Israelites could not think of the sheep that have no shepherd. The sheep are the under the care of their shepherd. The shepherd knows his sheep in his pasture. The sheep are dangerous outside the pasture. In his pasture they are safe and graze peacefully. They are satisfied and restful and are endlessly happy at the watchful eye of their shepherd. King David said in Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.”

In verse 3 the Psalmist triply claims our belonging, who we are. We are his through creation, his people through redemption, and the sheep of his pasture. What can be more important than this in the world? What can be a greater blessing than this? What can we be more thankful for than for this? So verse 4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” It is a great privilege to enter his gates and his courts to his dwelling place and presence. Only his people can enter. But the Psalmist commands to enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, and command to give thanks to him and praise his name. In Message, verse 4 is translated. “Enter with the password: ‘Thank you!’ Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him.’” In this way thanksgiving is emphasized.

We thank and praise God that we are his, his people, and the sheep of his pasture. All the blessings are here, being his and his people and his sheep. On this Thanksgiving Day, we may be deeply thankful for this and shout for joy to the LORD and worship him with gladness. “Give thanks to him in all circumstances” is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. We have ample reason to thank and praise him.

Third, the LORD is good, loving and faithful (5). Look at verse 5. “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Jesus said, “No one is good—except God alone” (Mk 10:18). The LORD alone is good, absolutely good. All the creation he made was good. His creation purpose was good, and all he does is good. In the first chapter of Genesis is written, “God saw all that he had made and it was very good” (Ge 1:31), and in the last chapter of Genesis Joseph said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…” (Ge 50:20). Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” There is nothing but goodness in him and in all he does.

“His love endures forever.” Human love is conditional and changeable and temporary. But God’s love is unconditional and steadfast and endures forever.

“His faithfulness continues through all generations.” We are amazed by God’s faithfulness. Every new morning testifies his faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23). Especially he is faithful to lead his people and keep his promise with his people. “All generations” includes our generation, too. He will be faithful until Jesus comes again, until his kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

May we live as his joyful and thankful people, for all the blessings came from the LORD, our God, Creator and Shepherd.

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