Calvary Road Baptist Church

“WHAT WE ARE MOST THANKFUL FOR”

Psalm 100

 

I trust that you will enjoy Thanksgiving Day with your friends and relatives tomorrow. It is appropriate that a country with our rich history of God’s work in our midst should formally acknowledge Him on a Thanksgiving Day each year. However, I am sad that Thanksgiving Day is being transformed into something else entirely. I also trust that you will be able to join with those of us in the church that are not out of town for Thanksgiving, as we gathered for a wonderful time of fellowship with our church family and invited guests. I am quite sure that one of the very best ways to reach your lost friends with the gospel is to bring them with to you to observe Christians in the kind of setting we will enjoy Friday night.

Whether you spend Thanksgiving Day with friends and family in your own home, or enjoy that time at someone else’s home, I urge you to step up and bless those you are with by tenderly insisting that some time be given to actually expressing your thanks to the Lord. Let me spend some time with you in a short psalm that you might consider reading at your gathering tomorrow.

Turn to the 100th Psalm. When you find that passage in God’s Word, stand and read aloud with me:

 

1      Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

2      Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

3      Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4      Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5      For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

 

I suggest you consider this psalm in four sections:

 

First, WE SEE APPROPRIATE ACTIONS AS WE APPROACH GOD

 

1      Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

2      Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

 

In these two verses we have three parallel activities encouraged by the psalmist:

First, “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.” What does it mean to make a joyful noise? “The original word signifies a glad shout, such as loyal subjects give when their king appears among them.”[1] Thus, this verse means exactly what it seems to say. You need to praise the LORD audibly, expressively, energetically.

Next, “Serve the LORD with gladness.” “He is our Lord, and therefore he is to be served; he is our gracious Lord and therefore to be served with joy.”[2] Who in his right mind would not recognize the great privilege of serving our great God? As I mentioned in chapel to our Christian school kids today, how can serving be thought of as demeaning when the Lord Jesus Christ indicated that He did not come to be served, but to serve, Matthew 20.28?

Third, “come before his presence with singing.” Consider how few there are who have access to God. Think about how rare is that individual who has the privilege of coming before God to worship Him, adore Him, praise Him, and to serve Him. How it must displease Almighty God to grant such a privilege, only to find people refusing to sing during a song service, or merely mouthing the words with no smile on their faces or joy in their hearts. I find it incredible. Listen to what David wrote in Psalm 51.7-14:

 

7      Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8      Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

9      Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

10     Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11     Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

12     Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

13     Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

14     Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

 

Psalm 107.2 reads, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,” and one of the ways the redeemed say so is by singing, making a joyful noise. Another way is by serving the LORD with gladness.

 

Next, WE SEE APPROPRIATE KNOWLEDGE AS WE APPROACH GOD

 

Verse 3: “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

 

First, “Know ye that the LORD he is God.” My friend, you need to be mindful that it is God you are approaching when you come to the house of God to worship, to sing, and to hear Bible preaching. This is God, known by His covenant name Jehovah; the same Who spoke to Moses from the burning bush, the God Who is a consuming fire.[3] Know Who it is you are approaching, and be respectful.

Next, “it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” Not only is He our covenant God, He is also our Creator. Methinks this phrase is a direct refutation of evolution. Does not evolution claim that processes within each of us is responsible for us being who we are, evolving over time from lower forms to higher forms? I say that is nonsense, and so does God’s Word: “it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” When you approach God you are approaching not only your Creator, but the Creator of all things.

Third, He is our Shepherd. “We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” The phrase speaks to what we are, but it shows Who He is by declaring who we are. If we are the sheep of His pasture, then He is the Shepherd. Being our shepherd, He is responsible for our protection and our nurture. In other words, not only is He our Creator, but He is our Sustainer, as well.

Therefore, when you approach God, be careful. Be careful to recognize His name. Be careful to recognize that He is your Creator. Know also that He is your Sustainer. You would not be here were it not for Him, and you would not continue to live were it not for His provision and protection of your life and health.

 

Third, OUR ACCESS TO GOD IS TO BE REFLECTED BY OUR ATTITUDE

 

Verse 4: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

 

Two considerations:

As you approach Him, let your mind imagine coming before Him to be something like entering the Temple in Jerusalem. Sometimes you come before God in prayer, Hebrews 4.16: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace.” Sometimes you come before God in public worship, such as this service we are in tonight. At other times, you come before Him when you praise Him, since God inhabits the praises of His people, Psalm 22.3. On whatever occasion it occurs, consider the similarity of your experience and that of a Jewish worshiper entering the Temple. First, you enter the gates. There should be thanksgiving that you survived the perilous journey to get there. You might have died along the way. Then, where would you be? Then, you enter into the courtyard. There should be praise. You have arrived at your destination, the very presence of God. You can no more see God now than they could see God then. However, what they could only accomplish by walking long distances, you can accomplish in a variety of ways, from gathering with the saints to bowing before Him in prayer. However, you have approached Him. You are now on holy ground.

You have arrived. You are now before God. In what way should you express yourself to Him? First, “be thankful unto Him.” You did not arrive here on your own. No one can approach God on his own initiative. He must be bidden. Therefore, whether you are alert enough to realize it or not, you are here by divine appointment. That you have arrived here, before God, to a place where you can ponder Him, worship Him, adore Him, pray to Him, glory in Him, is an appropriate cause for you to give thanks. As well, “bless His name.” It is, after all, His covenant name. It is that name that is above every name. It is that name that, if uttered vainly, results in divine retribution. Charles Spurgeon wrote on this phrase, “He blessed you, bless him in return; bless his name, his character, his person. Whatever he does, be sure that you bless him for it; bless him when he takes away as well as when he gives; bless him as long as you live, under all circumstances; bless him in all his attributes, from whatever point of view you consider him.”[4] When you come to church, are you thankful to God? Do you bless His name? When you approach God in prayer, are you first of all thankful, and do you second of all bless His name? Consider that He grants access to so few, and He is a Being of such majesty, that being in His presence should be understood to be an amazing opportunity.

 

Finally, HIS ATTRIBUTES ARE REHEARSED

 

Verse 5: “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

 

Certainly, not all of God’s attributes are reviewed for us, but three particularly appropriate attributes:

First, “For the LORD is good.” Even if He had never done a single thing for you, He is worthy to be praised, because He is good. Someone who does not praise good is not himself good. Goodness encompasses all of God’s moral attributes, including His love, His holiness, and His righteous. God is everything that is good, and He is nothing that is not good. For this reason alone He is worthy to be praised, as well as served. Who would not be glad in His presence?

Next, “his mercy is everlasting.” Are you glad God is not justice alone, but also merciful? I am. How many times in the Psalms alone do we read that “His mercy endureth forever”? That is good, in part, because we are always in need of God’s mercies.

Finally, “and his truth endureth to all generations.” This speaks to God’s immutability, that He changes not, that He cannot lie, and with Him is neither variableness nor shadow of turning.[5]

 

What reason we have to thank God and bless His holy name. Amen? Not just for Him being Who He is, but also for granting to us the access we have to Him through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Think of it! We can approach the unapproachable God, while the unsaved only pretend to approach Him, and only think they approach Him with their rituals and religious nonsense. We, on the other hand, come to God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. How glad should we be, therefore, who recognize that we have hands and feet that are dirty and defiled, but for the shed blood of Jesus Christ?

How our privileges should influence our praises, our songs, our countenances, and our willingness to lay all on the altar of service for Him? How thankful we ought to be.

When you celebrate Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, take a moment to read the five verses that comprise Psalm 100, and urge each person in the room to bless His holy name and to praise Him in some way, for some blessing in his life.



[1] Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury Of David, Volume II, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers), page 233.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Exodus 3.14, Hebrews 12.29

[4] Ibid., page 234.

[5] Malachi 3.6; Titus 1.2; James 1.17



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org