1Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
2Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
3Know 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.
4Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him,
bless His name.
5For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100 [NASB])
In these five verses, David expressed thanks to God. David exhorted the people of God – Israel and all who followed God by faith – to thank the LORD, too. Who God is and what He has done overwhelm David and cause him to pour out thanks to God. Who God is and what He has done has not changed over the millennia and so God’s people today have cause to thank God, too.
In these verses, David gave six exhortations. He told God’s people to shout, serve, come before, enter, give thanks, and bless. By themselves, these actions are meaningless. When seen in relation to or for whom they are done, great meaning occurs. In each of these exhortations, David said the actions were to be done for the LORD. David mentioned the LORD by name in verse one and referred to Him throughout the text. He reflects on the LORD – who He is and what He has done – in verses three and five. Let us consider the six exhortations and reflections closer.
“Shout joyfully to the LORD,” David urged. This was not just making a loud racket with no purpose. Shouting is not an inward action. It draws people’s attentions to someone or something. The tone of voice and words said while shouting leads listeners to consider something or someone and possibly act in response to the shouting. David told them to shout joyfully. Here the people were to shout out with joy as applause toward the LORD – Yehovah, the “existing One.” David led people with his words to worship and praise the LORD because of the joy He caused in and gave them.
Next, David told the people to serve the LORD with gladness. Serving requires recognition that someone is greater than one’s self or is worthy to be considered greater than one’s self. It is personal submission before another and working for that other person. In this verse, David told the LORD’s people to serve the LORD. Their service was not with reluctance, but with gladness. With joy and pleasure, the LORD’s people are enhorted to serve the LORD as a result of being filled with joy.
As the LORD’s people shout joyfully to the LORD and serve Him with gladness, they are to come before Him with joyful singing. The LORD’s people can be in His presence. He accepts them as His own and wants them with Him singing and shouting joyfully. The LORD is not distant and unapproachable neither does He want reluctant service. He wants his people to be joyful and full of gladness. To be joyful and glad, people need a reason and the LORD gives them the reason – Himself.
David noted the reason the LORD”s people are joyful and glad in verse three. He said, “The LORD Himself is God.” Know this, David said. The LORD is God. The existent One from before time began is big “G” God, the God of gods. No other being is God. Know that. Perceive, recognize, admit, acknowledge, and confess the LORD – the One you know from your history – is God. “He made us,” David said. “We did not make ourselves.” God was here before us, and powerful and wise enough to make humankind. He chose us as His own and cared for us just as a shepherd chooses and cares for his sheep. God protected us. Just as God is from before time, He continues into the future. We are His and He protects and cares for us. For who God is – the “existent One before time” and Creator – and for what He has done – created, chose, protected, and provided, David said we can shout with joy, serve the LORD with a glad and joyful heart, and come before Him singing joyfully.
Because we are the LORD’s people – His children – we can enter His gates and courts. We are not just servants or “the created,” we are His and He enjoys our presence. God wants a relationship with each of us and provided the way for us to be in an eternal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. Those who are His children through Jesus Christ are in an eternal relationship with Him and can enter His gates and courts with thanks and praise. God made the way for us to be with Him because of His love. Our thanks cannot be contained, but must pour forth from our mouths in shouts and songs. Praises to God for who He is and what He did pour forth proclaiming Him with joy and gladness.
Give thanks to Him and bless His name. Humble yourself and admit God gave you what you have – life, provision, relationship with Him, eternal life with Him, and Himself. These come to you because of His love, goodness, and mercy, not from anything you did or could have done. Give thanks to Him! He deserves it because of who He is and what He has done. What more to do then? Bless the LORD’s name. Bless – kneel adore, and praise Him. Bless His name that leaves such a reputation of greatness and love. Bless Him that His reputation is justifiable and true. On the LORD’s fame and reputation humankind can count and hold onto knowing God is faithful, steadfast, loving, and true.
With a final thought, David said we shout with joy and cry out with song to draw others to the LORD and worship Him in His gates and courts because of His goodness. The LORD is good. His lovingkindness and faithfulness to all generations is everlasting. God is the embodiment of all things good, excellent, and right. God does only good and right things. His being is only good and righteous. From His goodness comes His lovingkindness and faithfulness forever. God’s lovingkindness is shown through His mercy, kindness, faithfulness, loyal actions, and unchanging love. His faithfulness is unending and He is fully trustworthy. God is steadfastly loyal to His people. Because of God’s goodness, excellence, faithfulness, mercy, and trustworthiness, we shout for joy and sing joyfully to the LORD. Come now and know the LORD; He is good. His love endures forever.
David’s psalm of thanksgiving led him to shout and sing out about the LORD. It continues to lead people to recognize the LORD as God and as the giver of all good and excellent things. They then will shout out and sing with joy and praise to the LORD until all creation is caught up in the offering of thanks to the LORD God, the holy and eternal God of gods and King of kings. What begins with one man shouting out and singing with joy and praise leads to harmonious voices rising together in joy and praise of God. One begets many. If one does not begin to sing of God’s praises, how will others know Him?
Thanksgiving is one day set aside to remember and call attention to God. We draw attention to God by shouting out with joy and crying out with song in praise of who God is and what He has done. Hopefully Thanksgiving is not the only day we shout and sing with joy and gladness to the LORD for Who He is and what He has done. The attention of people around us should be drawn to God when we serve others. His joy should be evident in our hearts by our love, kindness, and mercy during those times. When we enter His house – His place of worship – each week, the attention of people should be drawn to God by our worship of Him and by our relationships with other believers there. Joy and gladness should be seen in our love, mercy, and forgiveness toward other believers. Whether we are among other believers or out in the world, God’s love and faithfulness should be seen and experienced by people in our encounters with them. They should be able to experience God through us. When that happens, these other people can experience and recognize God. They can then join us shouting out and singing with joy and thanksgiving to the LORD. Our shouts and songs of joy and praise testify about the LORD. Others will hear and know the LORD and join us in the procession of shouting joyfully to the LORD and singing with gladness and joy about Him. One voice leads to other voices. Your voice leads to other voices declaring the praise to and about the LORD. There is responsibility in this. Praise the LORD and give thanks for God is good and His love endures forever.
Shout joyfully to the LORD.
Serve the LORD with gladness.
Come before Him with joyful song.
Draw attention to God.
Declare and proclaim His name today – Thanksgiving – and throughout each week so others come to know and confess Him as their God and join us in joyfully blessing and praising His name.