By all rights Christians ought to be thankful. Psalm 100 tells us how to be thankful, and it tells us why we are to be thankful, to begin with.
Psalm 100:1-5 says, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God. It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name, for the Lord is good. His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”
Immediately we can see that the Psalm tells us to whom we are to be thankful– “Joyfully to the Lord.” The word there is Lord, it is the name of the Lord; it is Yahweh. It is communicating that there is only one to whom this thanks is to be directed, and that person is God–four times in these five short verses, but the Psalmist goes on and he addresses where we are as His people, and whose we are positionally. We are in His pasture, and we are His people. I hope you can see that the psalmist is providing a model of worship. He is communicating how we are to worship? He is saying that the evidence of true worship is joy. And that the key evidence of true joy is thanksgiving.
Do you see the words of the many commands in these five verses, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.” There’s a loudness that’s implied there, an excitement, an exuberance to the Lord. “Serve the Lord with gladness.” Not with sourness, but with joy. “Come before Him with joyful singing.” That’s a picture of worship, coming before God and ascribing to Him the glory that is His. Finally, He says, “Know, that the Lord Himself is God.” We really need to understand the picture, that God is God. Yahweh is God. He is sovereign over all. He is the one who deserves all of the glory.
Four commands and then the Psalmist tells us why we are to have that attitude, and why it is to be directed toward Yahweh alone; “It is he who has made us and not we ourselves.” It’s quite humbling, and it’s good for us to remember that God has made us. God has made each and every one of us, and everything that we have has given to us by Him. As the song says, “He’s got the whole world in his hands,” and He has made the whole world. The one who makes us, the one who created the whole world is God. It is God who makes the rules, and it is God who gets all the glory.
“It is He who made us and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of his pasture.” Those are such rich words. We do well to remember that God has made us to be the sheep of His pasture. God has ownership over what He has made–God has ownership over us. The place where we reside is in Him. The place where we reside is in His pasture, and in life with Him. We are his people and the sheep of His pasture. But, what is His pasture?
Can’t you just hear Psalm 23 pulsing through that verse?
His pasture is where green grass is provided for us. His pasture is where we have calm waters that are abundant and clean. His pasture is where He guides us in paths of righteousness. His pasture is where there is no fear. His pasture is where we have confidence in Him. His pasture is where are we are secure. His pasture is where we are protected. His pasture is where He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. His pasture is where He anoints our head with oil. He takes care of us. He nurtures us. His pasture is where our cups are running over. His pasture is where His grace and mercy pursue us all the way into the house of the Lord forever. He guides us in paths of righteousness to the foot of the throne.
The pasture is simply in relationship with God.
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. We have been chosen to hear the Shepherds’ call. And we are asked to respond and to become dependent upon Jesus. Do you understand the incredible blessing that has been extended to us? There are many other pastures out there and they’re not good pastures. But there’s one true pasture and that’s being in a relationship with God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Do you understand the amazing blessing that God has extended to us through Christ?
The entire darkness of sin has impeded us from having a good right forever relationship with God. But because God has sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross, we may celebrate; we celebrate the blood that flowed in order that our sins might not just be covered, but that our sins might be taken away, that we might have an eternal relationship with God through work of Jesus Christ.
We are a privileged people. “Shout joyfully to the Lord all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God. It is He who made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of his pasture.”
Guys, we have it made. We have cars in our driveway, we have food in our refrigerators. We have homes, we have warm homes, we have clothes, we have family, we have friends, we have health. Most of all, we have a relationship with God, and we dwell in the shadow of the Most High in His pasture. No person should come into the halls of the Lord cold and unresponsive, passive and indifferent. Rather, we come into the house of the Lord, and we worship the Lord. We exalt the Lord with boldness. We serve Him willingly. We worship Him in spirit and in truth, and we understand His role as sovereign God in our lives and over all the earth. We do well to acknowledge that He is sovereign and that He alone is sovereign over our lives.
Thanks be to God.