A thanksgiving psalm.
100:1 Shout out praises to the LORD, all the earth!
The psalm has been described as ‘An excited, joyous invitation, universal in scope, is extended to shout, worship, come, know, enter, give thanks, and praise, not as a duty but because God made us, shepherds us, is good, loving, and timelessly faithful.’ (Evangelical Commentary on the Bible)
‘This Psalm contains a promise of Christianity, as winter at its close contains the promise of spring. The trees are ready to bud, the flowers are just hidden by the light soil, the clouds are heavy with rain, the sun shines in his strength; only a genial wind from the south is wanted to give a new life to all things’ (Speaker’s Commentary)
Hymns based on this psalm include
All people that on earth do dwell (William Kethe)
Before Jehovah’s aweful throne (Isaac Watts)
Shout for joy – this shout is such as loyal subjects would give at the appearance of their king.
All the earth – ‘This verse claims the world for God.’ (Kidner)
‘As in the royal psalms preceding, the call goes out beyond the chosen people to all the peoples of the earth. God is their King too, whether they are aware of it or not.’ (New Geneva)
100:2 Worship the LORD with joy!
Enter his presence with joyful singing!
Worship – or ‘serve’.
‘Can you bear to be waited upon by a servant who goes moping and dejected to his every task? You would rather have no servant at all, than one who evidently finds your service cheerless and irksome.’ (George Bowen, quoted by Spurgeon)
Worship the Lord with gladness
1. For he is not only our Lord, but our Creator, Saviour, and Friend.
2. For in his service is perfect freedom and satisfaction
3. For in so doing we are preparing for eternity
4. For in so doing we commend our Lord to others
5. For he deserves nothing less
‘God is not a despotic king who forces his people to serve him. Loving service is grateful response to the grace of God.’ (New Geneva)
100:3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God!
He made us and we belong to him;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
This verse reminds us who God is (Yahweh – ‘a name richly annotated by his words and works’); whence and whose we are; and in how favoured a relation we stand to him. (Kidner)
To know ‘is to have firm ground underfoot’ (Kidner).
‘Our worship must be intelligent. We ought to know whom we worship and why. “Man, know thyself,” is a wise aphorism, yet to know our God is truer wisdom; and it is very questionable whether a man can know himself until he knows his God.’ (Spurgeon)
1. That the Lord he is God, the only living and true God; that he is a being infinitely perfect, self-existent, and self-sufficient, and the fountain of all being.
2. That he is our Creator: It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves. We do not, we could not make ourselves; it is God’s prerogative to be his own cause; our being is derived and depending.
3. That therefore he is our rightful owner. The Masoretes, by altering one letter in the Hebrew, read it, “He made us, and his we are,” or, “to him we belong.” Put both the readings together, and we learn, that because God “made us, and not we ourselves,” therefore we are not our own but his.
4. That he is our sovereign Ruler. We are his people, or subjects, and he is our prince, our rector or governor, that gives laws to us as moral agents, and will call us to an account for what we do.
5. That he is our bountiful Benefactor; we are not only his sheep whom he is entitled to, but the sheep of his pasture, whom he takes care of.
6. That he is a God of infinite mercy and good; (Ps 100:5) The Lord is good, and therefore doth good; his mercy his everlasting.
7. That he is a God of inviolable truth and faithfulness; his truth endureth to all generations, and no word of his shall fall to the ground as antiquated or revoked.
Know that the Lord is God
‘That you may be true amid superstition, hopeful in contrition, persistent in supplication, unwearied in exertion, calm in affliction, firm in temptation, bold in persecution, and happy in dissolution.’ (W. J., quoted by Spurgeon)
It is he who made us – ‘We think it a great kindness in a man to spare our life, but what kindness is it in God to give us our life! We draw our breath from him; and as life, so all the comforts of life are from him. He gives us health, which is the sauce to sweeten our life; and food, which is the oil that nourishes the lamp of life. If all we receive is from his bounty, is it not reasonable we should glorify him?’ (Thomas Watson)
‘Some men live as if they made themselves; they call themselves “self-made men,” and they adore their supposed creators; but Christians recognise the origin of their being and their well-being, and take no honour to themselves either for being, or for being what they are.’ (Spurgeon)
It is he who made us, and we are his
1. He made all for himself. He was not employed by any to make it for another, for in that case sometimes the maker is not the owner; but the Lord did employ himself in that great work, and for himself did he undertake and finish it. Prov 16:4; Col 1:15-16.
2. He made all things of nothing, either without any matter at all, or without any but what himself had before made of nothing. A potter when he makes an earthenware vessel, if the clay be not his own which he makes it of, he is not the full owner of the vessel, though he formed it: “the form is his, the matter is another’s;” but since the Lord made all of nothing, or of such matter as himself had made, all is wholly his, matter and form, all entirely.
3. He made all without the help or concurrence of any other. There was none that assisted him, or did in the least co-operate with him in the work of creation… Those that assist and concur with another in the making of a thing may claim a share in it; but here lies no such claim in this case, where the Lord alone did all, alone made all. All is his only.
4. He upholds all things in the same manner as he created, continues the being of all things in the same way as he gave it. He does it of himself, without other support, without any assistant. All would fall into nothing in a moment, if he did not every moment bear them up. So that all things on this account have still their being from him every moment, and their well-being too, and all the means which conduce to it; and therefore all are his own.
Here is the answer to self-centredness and selfishness. ‘Many people live as though they are the creator and center of their own little world. This mind-set leads to greedy self-centeredness and, if everything should be taken away, a loss of hope itself. But when we realize that God created us and gives us all we have, we will want to give to others as God gave to us. (2 Cor 9:8) Then if all is lost, we still have God and all he gives us.’ (Handbook of Bible Application)
Trevin Wax argues that of all Bible verses, this one is the most offensive to modern Western sensibilities. According to some manuscripts, the clause ‘and we belong to him’ reads, ‘and not we ourselves’. Either way, the meaning is clear: we are not self-made; we were by God. We do not belong to ourselves; we belong to him.
Several things follow. We do not construct our own version of reality, or of truth, or of God. He defines us, and not vice-versa.
We are his people
‘We have been twice born, as all his people are. We love the society of his people. We are looking unto Jesus like his people. We are separated from the world as his people. We experience the trials of his people. We prefer the employment of his people. We enjoy the privileges of his people.’ (W. J., quoted by Spurgeon)
We must know and acknowledge God:
- That he is. To doubt this is to annihilate God’s promises.
- That he is God. To doubt this is to be guilty of atheism.
- That he alone is God. To doubt this is to be a polytheist.
- That he is over all God blessed forever. The doubt this is to hold the Most High in contempt.
- We must take him as our God. To fail to do this is to hold the truth in unrighteousness.
100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give him thanks!
Praise his name!
We are invited to enter his gates and his courts. They are those of the temple. ‘Yet not only his outer courts but the Holy of Holies itself are thrown open “by the new and living way,” and we are welcome.’ (Kidner)
‘The substance of the exhortation is, join in the worship of his people. That the reference to the sanctuary at Jerusalem is merely typical or metaphorical, is clear from the analogy of Isa 66:23, where all mankind are required to come up every sabbath, a command which, if literally understood, is perfectly impracticable.’ (Alexander)
‘In all our public service the rendering of thanks must abound; it is like the incense of the temple, which filled the whole house with smoke. Expiatory sacrifices are ended, but those of gratitude will never be out of date. So long as we are receivers of mercy we must be givers of thanks.’ (Spurgeon)
‘In all acts of religious worship, whether in secret or in our families, we come into God’s presence, and serve him; but it is in public worship especially that we enter into his gates and into his courts. The people were not permitted to enter into the holy place; there the priests only went in to minister. But let the people be thankful for their place in the courts of God’s house, to which they were admitted and where they gave their attendance.’ (MHC)
We give God praise and worship because,
1. He made us, and we are his
2. He is our preserver and benefactor
3. He is our Lord and ruler
4. He is God, and possessed of infinite and everlasting perfections
100:5 For the LORD is good.
His loyal love endures,
and he is faithful through all generations.
His faithfulness continues through all generations – ‘No fickle being is he, promising and forgetting. He has entered into covenant with his people, and he will never revoke it, nor alter the thing that has gone out of his lips. As our fathers found him faithful, so will our sons, and their seed for ever. A changeable God would be a terror to the righteous, they would have no sure anchorage, and amid a changing world they would be driven to and fro in perpetual fear of shipwreck. It were well if the truth of divine faithfulness were more fully remembered by some theologians; it would overturn their belief in the final fall of believers, and teach them a more consolatory system. Our heart leaps for joy as we bow before one who has never broken his word or changed his purpose.’ (Spurgeon)
We come to resemble who (or what) we worship. ‘The highest form of worship is imitation’ (Plumer). God is good; let us be good. God is loving, let us be loving. God is faithful, let us be faithful.