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Psalm 100; April 25, 2010
Topic Started: Apr 25 2010, 10:39 PM (1,395 Views)
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Resident Rebbi

I heard a great sermon today. Father John Sweeney unpacked Psalm 100 in a very unique way this morning. Made my heart glad! I don't think we hear enough about what God expects of us in the way of worship and praise. These five verses comprise a wonderful primer on the expression of our relationship with our God. It also is among my first childhood memories

The preface and premise of this was that worship and praise are action verbs. He pointed out that each of these action verbs has a focus. Fr. John also noted that this psalm also adds a descriptor or an attitude to coincide with each verb and focus. We use the New King James Version at church, but I'm going to use the New American Standard Bible here. I think it's a little easier to see some of the words.

Psalm 100 NASB
1 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness;
.....Come before Him with joyful singing.[/+]
3 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.[/+]
4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving
.....And His courts with praise[/+]
.....Give thanks to Him, bless His name.[/+]
5 For the LORD is good;
.....His lovingkindness is everlasting[/+]
.....And His faithfulness to all generations.[/+]

Verse 1 is always a great place to start. The verb is SHOUT, the focus is TO THE LORD, and the attitude is JOYFULLY. Verse 1 also sets the tone for the psalm, speaking not just to the Hebrews, but to ALL THE EARTH. Shouting--joyful shouting, no less--has its place in church services! Yes, maybe elsewhere, too, but especially within the household of faith. It is a means of expression to the Lord, and it is also a means of bolstering the faith of those shouting next to you. Shouting is usually not something done privately, but even if it were, someone would hear it.

Verse 2 has two verb and attitude sets. Well, three verbs actually. ;) We are told to SERVE GLADLY and we are told to COME while SINGING JOYFULLY. The idea of coming toward the Lord is important. In Hebrews, we're told that we have been authorized to come boldly before the throne. We can borrow that attitude descriptor here. Fr John shared about his sons, both of whom are of an age where they can pull the cord on the mower and serve by cutting grass. He brought understanding smiles and chuckles as he shared that they haven't got the gladly part down yet, but he's working on that. We've all been in services and situations with lots of singing that is pretty mechanical. God's instruction here is really about getting the heart involved. ZionFireFriends has been preaching the whole-being issue of Hebrew mindset, that God's ideal is that our whole being be involved in life. Romans 12:1 re-emphasizes it with presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, that is our spiritual worship.

Verse 3 is a little more subtle. KNOW THE LORD contains the verb and the focus, but where is the attitude. It's hidden in that little word know. This word implies a knowing beyond mere knowing, an intimacy. This is the same Hebrew word used to describe God's knowing of our very thoughts and that part of Genesis where Adam "knew" Eve. Even though subtle, this is an intense attitude that goes with this verb. Intentional, purposeful, intense. This verse also reminds us that we are the sheep of His flock. The Gospel portion this morning was that quotation where Jesus is engaged with the scribes and Pharisees who were totally unbelieving in Jesus' ministry as Messiah. He told them plainly that His sheep know (there's that word again!) His voice.

Verse 4 is the culmination of a previous verb. Before we were told to come or approach. We've come from afar and now actually approach. We're told to ENTER the gates with THANKSGIVING, to ENTER the courts of the King with PRAISE. Praise here is the Hebrew word tehillim which translates act of general or public praise, adoration, or thanksgiving (paid to God). It also translates as "psalm". So, this is about both public and personal thanking of our God and blessing of our God.

Finally, verse 5 tells us why we're doing these things. We know that we love Him because He first loved us, but look at His plans from several thousand years ago laid out here, to show eternal lovingkindness and for us to realize that we witness His faithfulness as part of the "all generations" spoken of in this verse.

Here we have the basic instructions for approaching our God and our King. His place, His space, His rules. What a plan!

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