A Psalm of Thanksgiving
Pastor Rich O'Toole
A Psalm of Thanksgiving - Psalm 100
The Psalmist said in Psalm 121:1, I will lift up my eyes to the hills — From whence comes my help?
Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. NKJV
Since today is the beginning of Thanksgiving week, we are going to take a break out of the Gospel of Mark; so please open your Bibles to Psalm 100 as we study that Psalm.
In His commentary, Marvin Tate said, “It is a striking fact about the one hundredth psalm that it is the only one in the Psalms explicitly identified as “a psalm for giving thanks.”
The setting is assumed to be that of a company of worshipers in front of the gates to the sanctuary summoned to enter the courts of the sanctuary with shouts and songs of praise.
A thanksgiving service, with a thanksgiving sacrifice, would follow the entry.
A part of the service would be a meal, with the worshipers sharing together in eating part of the meat from the sacrifice.
It is important to remember who the source of all of all blessings is, and then remember to praise the Lord for all He has done.
Since Psalm 100 is the only Psalm that is identified as a psalm for giving thanks, it makes sense to study it for today.
How to give thanks to the Lord.
Read Psalm 100:1-2
On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy gave a very famous speech where he declared that the torch had been passed to a new generation of Americans.
During this speech, he spoke his most famous words ever given; “And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”
President Kennedy was communicating that Americans are so blessed to be a part of such a great nation; so we should ask what we can do in return rather than seeking something for self.
Here within five short verses of Psalm 100, the psalmist is communicating that the Lord is the exclusive source of blessing; so, He is completely deserving of our thanksgiving and praise.
The psalmist first instructs us to make a joyful shout to the Lord.
The word LORD in Psalm 100:1 is the word, YHWH, the self existing God, triune, creator God, of the universe.
Today, most people misplace their source of thanks.
The scholar Derek Kidner said, “The joyful noise is…the equivalent in worship to the homage-shout or fanfare to a king.”
How it must grieve the heart of the Lord, when we will shout when some athlete runs a ball into the end zone or we will act like fools for a music group; but, we will not shout for the Him.
C.H. Spurgeon said, “The original word signifies a glad shout, such as loyal subjects give when their king appears among them.
Our happy God should be worshipped by a happy people; a cheerful spirit is in keeping with his nature, his acts, and the gratitude which we should cherish for his mercies.” (Spurgeon)
In the Bible, we see shouting during victories in battles and there are many times within the Psalms where the people of God shout with praise.
So there is an appropriate time for shouting; but, there are also times in scripture where the people shouted in rebellion.
Luke 23:20 Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them.
Luke 23:21 But they shouted, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" NKJV
The point is not to be obnoxious with shouting; the point is to give the Lord the praise due His name.
Notice, who does the psalmist instruct to shout to the Lord?
Psalm 100:1, all you lands.
Which is similar to…Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. NKJV
We are to give the Lord worship, praise and glory for who He is and all that He has done.
W.A. VanGemeren said, “If we exist as a thankful people, God will use that joy in Him to draw others to Christ.
“If we are a complaining, doubtful, and discouraged people, we are not a thankful people, and we fail in the call to draw "all the earth" in giving thanks.” (VanGemeren)
Once filled by the Holy Spirit, believers automatically have a desire to worship God and encourage others to worship Him.
Tozer said “Worship is to feel in your heart and express in some appropriate manner, admiring awe and astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of Our Father in heaven.”
When someone has done something for us, we may ask, “What can I do in return to show them how thankful I am?”
What is the best way to show appreciation to the Lord who is the provider of all things?
We cannot thank God by giving Him something. He needs nothing from us. What can we do?
The psalmist here tells us to serve the Lord with gladness and come into His presence with singing.
Serving the Lord is also an act of worship; we tell the Lord what He is worth to us, by our acts of service for Him.
Since the Lord is almighty, self existent, and the owner of all things; He really does not need me at all; but, in thankfulness I serve Him from a response of love and gratitude.
Psalm 116:12 What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits toward me?
Psalm 116:13 I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
Psalm 116:14 I will pay my vows to the LORD now in the presence of all His people. NKJV
The Lord created me for a love relationship with Him; and out of response to His great love, I worship and serve Him.
The psalmist also says to serve Him with gladness.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Peter talks about serving the Lord willingly, and not by compulsion.
Adam Clarke said. “It is your privilege and duty to be happy in your religious worship.
The religion of the true God is intended to remove human misery, and to make mankind happy.
He whom the religion of Christ has not made happy does not understand that religion, or does not make a proper use of it.”
Notice vs. 2, Come before His presence with singing.
Many times in the Psalms, praise is expressed through singing.
However, worship is not just about corporate singing on a Sunday morning; worship is a lifestyle of praise, to the only One who is worthy to be worshipped.
Singing is not the only way to worship the Lord; but, it is certainly an important part of worshipping the Lord.
Many people have their favorite songs; but cooperate worship with singing to the Lord is all about Him, not about our desires.
Some churchgoer said, “I didn't like worship today”; Francis Chan told him, “That's Ok. We weren't worshiping you!”
Worship is praising the name of the Lord and speaking of His mighty deeds.
The Lord is creator.
Read Psalm 100:3
The psalmist here is making it clear that YHWH is God.
He alone is Omni-present (present everywhere), Omniscient (all-knowing), Omnipotent (all powerful), immutable (does not change)…
He is holy, righteous, just and sovereign. But, He is also faithful, merciful, gracious, and kind.
And by the way, the LORD created us, we didn’t create Him, and so He alone is worthy to be praised.
F.B. Meyer said, “The sense of God’s proprietorship is the true basis of our consecration.
We must realize His rights over us before we can freely give Him His due.
And notice what the psalmist says in vs.3, “We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
Jesus said in John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. NKJV
Philipp Keller said, “Jesus came to set men free from their own sins, their own selves, and their fears. Those so liberated loved Him with fierce loyalty.”
David who was a former shepherd himself, inspired by the Lord wrote the 23rd Psalm to describe the love and care of the Lord.
Sheep are basically helpless creatures who cannot survive long without a shepherd, upon whose care they are totally dependent.
We also are totally dependent upon the Lord to shepherd, protect, and care for us.
David found comfort and security in the thought that God cared for him like a Shepherd cares for his sheep.
Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Phillip Keller, “But who is the Lord? What is His character? Does He have adequate credentials to be my shepherd, my manager, my owner?” (Keller)
I shall not want tells Children of God that we are promised to have all of needs met in Christ.
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. NKJV
But it also means "I will trust the Lord to provide and not desire more than what the LORD, my shepherd gives.’
Psalm 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. NKJV
Sheep will not lie down easily unless certain conditions are met; they are timid and afraid of many things.
Our Rest comes from our Shepherd, who promises us peace and not fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. NKJV
The still waters represent the peace the Lord provides His children as well as comfort and care.
Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. NKJV
“Restores my soul” demonstrates the rescue of a lost person who will come to Jesus for Salvation.
He leads me, tells us that the Shepherd will guide us in righteousness .
The leadership of the shepherd not only comforts and restores the sheep; it also guides the sheep into righteousness.
Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. NKJV
David used this phrase of a dark, fearful experience, of the valleys of emotions we face in life. He said I fear no evil, not even death, because You, Lord are with me.
Paul said in Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
Romans 8:39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NKJV
Next the rod and staff was used by the shepherd to guide and correct just as the Lord corrects those He loves.
Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
David describes the Lord’s provision and goodness He prepares for those who love Him. What the Lord has waiting for us in heaven is amazing; but, He wants us to have abundant life now.
The Shepherd refreshes the head of His sheep and the provision He supplies is so great, so David says, my cup runs over.
Oil in the OT was used by priests to anoint objects and people to be used for the worship and service to the Lord.
Just as a priest would anoint the heads of His people with oil in the Old Testament; now, Jesus gives us His Holy Spirit to anoint as His own people, set apart for worship service to Him.
And finally David speaks about the goodness of this life and the promise of eternity spent with the Shepherd.
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever. NKJV
Mercy is the word 'steadfast love' in other places of scripture, together with goodness it means the steady kindness and support that we can count on from the Lord
Psalm 23 ends I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. NKJV
God promises to take care of His children here and then He promises His sheep an eternity spent with Him in heaven.
The Shepherd cares for the sheep because He loves them and wants to be a faithful Shepherd to them.
Thankful for the Lord.
Read Psalm 100:4
This is God’s people entering the gates into the courts of the temple, which is a picture of the heavenly courts as well.
In the Book of Exodus, the Lord commanded Moses to build a Tabernacle, so that the Lord would dwell among them.
This was to be an earthly representation of the Tabernacle in heaven.
This is why God told Moses that He would give Moses an exact pattern to follow, not only for the building; but, also for the furniture and utensils as well.
In the Book of John, we are told that Jesus became flesh and dwelt (Tabernacled) among us.
Just as the Lord’s glory was revealed in the Old Testament tabernacle; so, He revealed His glory in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are invited to enter through the gates and into the court of the Lord Himself with praise and thanksgiving.
The walls and gates in Jerusalem were meant for security and only the citizens of Jerusalem were allowed to enter.
Jesus said in John 10:7 Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
John 10:8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.
John 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. NKJV
Entering into His gates and courts is an invitation into the very presence of God Himself, and again the psalmist tells us to enter into His presence with thanksgiving.
Of course we know, the only way possible to enter into God’s presence is through the finished work of Christ on the cross.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. NKJV
This verse also teaches a special aspect of thanksgiving that happens when the people of God unite together corporately in worship.
This is why the writer of Hebrews 10:24 says, And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works
Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. NKJV
One way of thanking the Lord is by inviting others to join us in thanking Him for who He is and all He has done.
Then notice the psalmist says, “Be thankful to Him and bless His name”
compellingtruth.org, answered the question, “What does it mean that we can bless God?”
“If God is perfect, how can we bless Him? To bless God simply means to praise Him or to honor His name.
The Hebrew word translated "bless" in the Old Testament literally means to kneel, indicating the idea of honoring the Lord.
“We do not add anything to Him when we bless Him, yet we worship Him as our appropriate response to His greatness and His love for us.” (compellingtruth.org)
Some reasons to thank Him.
Read Psalm 100:5
The first reason to be thankful is because the lord God is good.
James Boice said, “The gods of the heathen were not good. They were selfish and capricious. You could never know when they might turn against you and do you harm. Not so our God.”
“The God of the Bible is and has always been good.” (Boice)
The reason some people do not believe God is good, is because they are short sided and do not realize that the Lord has a plan and all of His ways are good.
When things do not go our way, we must realize the Lord sees the whole picture and though things can be tough to handle; God is still Good!
The Lord even understands the loss of a loved one; remember, the word gospel means the “good news”,
God’s ultimate goodness is shown within His plan to redeem us.
Even in the midst of the worst news possible; that we were dead in our sins and trespasses… The Lord gave His only Son to save lost sinners from eternal punishment.
Gotquestions.org said, “The fact that God is good means that He has no evil in Him,
His intentions and motivations are always good, He always does what is right, and the outcome of His plan is always good.
There is nothing unpleasant, evil, or dark in Him.
Everything that God made was originally good: God’s goodness is showcased in the Law He gave to Israel; the Law is holy, righteous, and good
James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above”
God can create only what is good, because He is fully good.
God did not create evil, rather, evil is the absence of goodness; it is whatever God is not.
“God’s goodness should lead to thankfulness on our part: “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever” (gotquestions.org)
And notice, His mercy is everlasting.
This brief Psalm ends with God’s unending mercy and truth.
These are everlasting reasons to give thanks and praise to God.
C. H. Spurgeon said, “So long as we are receivers of mercy we must be givers of thanks.” (Spurgeon)
God’s goodness is based on His loyal love and His truth.
God is “faithful.” His love “endures forever.”
God has many attributes; but, the very heart of God is love.
We live in a world that is constantly changing; but our God is immutable; He never changes and His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations.
Thomas Horne said, “How glorious will be that day which shall behold the everlasting gates of heaven lifting up their heads…
and disclosing to view those courts above, into which the children of the resurrection are to enter, there, with angels and archangels, to dwell and sing forevermore.”
So, as we are thankful let’s meditate on the blessings we have…
Along with so many things, we also have the Love of a good God towards us, the Word of God, Eternal Salvation, and so much more.
If we concentrate on who the Lord is and all that He has done…
We can’t help but Worship and be Thankful to our God who provides so much for us.
So Praise the Lord!
Re-read Psalm 100:1-2