By Kenny Bruce
Pastor emeritus, Leawood East Baptist Church, Cordova
Focal Passage: Psalm 100:1-5
I. APPROACHING GOD (vv. 1-2) God invites the whole earth to shout triumphantly to Him. When we enter the presence of God, we are to raise our voices to Him. It would be akin to raising our voice to get someone’s attention. We do not raise our voices to call attention to ourselves, but to express our joy in experiencing God.
“Serve the Lord with gladness” (v. 2) in this context refers to a way of life as well as the specific activity of singing joyful songs to Him. Singing Scriptures of praise (choruses) or hymns of praise with pure hearts draws us into His presence. Music is an essential link between God and His children. There are over 500 references to praise, singing and music in the Bible. The danger of music is that it can become our god. The cleansed state of our hearts is far more important than what we sing.
II. ADMIRING GOD (v. 3) To acknowledge God as Lord is to experientially know God personally through Christ. He is the great “I Am” who lives His life in and through us. Upon entering His presence, we confess Him as our Creator (v. 3). Because He created us, He owns us and has the right to rule over us.
As “the sheep of His pasture” we recognize Him as our “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11). We are under His care. He leads us, protects us, nurtures us and provides for us. Most of all, He laid His life down for us (John 10:11).
Imagine a father who has been away on a business trip for two weeks. When his airplane lands, his wife and four-year-old daughter are at the airport to greet him. The daughter squeezes her way to the front of the waiting area and begins screaming, “Daddy! That’s my daddy!” She flies into his arms and begins hugging him. That is how God feels when we acknowledge Him in worship.
III. APPRECIATING GOD (vv. 4-5) We are commanded to enter His presence with grateful hearts and heartfelt praise. How do we do that when we are walking through a valley of darkness and grief? We deny our feelings and by His power thank Him for our material, physical and spiritual blessings.
We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1:3). We praise God for His name.
As the great “I Am,” He is sovereign over our lives. Jesus taught us to enter into prayer by hallowing His name (Matthew 6:9). Secondly, we praise Him for His “goodness” (Psalm 100:5) because He knows what is best for us. Another reason to praise Him is for His “faithful love.”
This love is a loyal, enduring and everlasting love which gives us security in our relationship with Him. Finally, we praise God for His faithfulness which extends to all generations. God has never failed to do what He said He would do.
He is reliable. Particularly during this Thanksgiving season, let us come before God with thanksgiving and praise on our lips and in our hearts. Only then will we experience unadulterated worship. B&R