Psalm 100 (NLT) A Psalm of Thanksgiving
v1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! v2 Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. v3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. v4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. v5 For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
This Psalm is chocked full of gratitude. The 100th Psalm was written for the people of Israel and is basically saying: “When you come into the promised land, and settle down in your warm homes, and you have plenty to eat, don’t forget Me. Remember that it was I who led you out of the wilderness and I brought you into a land flowing with milk and honey.”
But it doesn’t take very long to realize that the people of Israel needed a reminder. And we do too sometimes. When this Psalm was penned, I believe God had us in mind, too. Did you notice to whom it is addressed? Verse1 says that it’s addressed to “all the earth”, and the last verse (5) says that it includes “all generations".
The importance of Thanksgiving is so deep and so wide that it applies to every person of every generation who has ever lived! Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word Thanksgiving as “a formal public expression of thanks to God”. And there is something about giving thanks together to God that breaks down barriers between people and brings about a unity.
Did you know that Psalm 100 is a hymn that was sung while entering the temple, and was done in connection with a Thanksgiving ceremony?
Let’s look at what the 100th Psalm emphasizes, let’s just scan the Psalm. In v1 we find the name of the Lord - in v2 we find the name of the Lord - in v3 we find the name of the Lord. Notice the basis for our Thanksgiving - The LORD! In v4 it says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving,” and in v5 we find the name of the Lord again: “For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations”.
Alex Haley, the author of “Roots”, had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, “Why is that there?", Alex Haley answered, “Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words and think that they are wonderful and I begin to feel proud of myself, I look down at the turtle on top of the fence post and remember that he didn’t get there on his own. He had help.”
How many of us have had help? Where did this help come from? Remember the old hymn - “Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I find”.
Thanksgiving doesn’t require bounty (how much stuff you have), just recognition of what our Savior has done for us! I recently read a story about a man who served as a medical missionary for many years in India. He served in an area where there was progressive blindness. People were born with healthy vision, but there was something in that area that caused people to lose their sight as they matured.
Well, this medical missionary developed a process that would stop progressive blindness. So people came to him and he performed his operation, and they would leave realizing that they would have become blind but now they were going to be able to see for the rest of their lives. The people never said “thank you” to this missionary because that phrase was not in their dialect. Instead, they spoke a word that meant “I will tell your name”.
Wherever they went, they would tell the name of the missionary who had cured their blindness. They had received something so wonderful that they eagerly proclaimed it! Have we received something so wonderful that we eagerly proclaim it? And this…this is the source of our Thanksgiving!!!