Dullness, Distance, Despondency, and the Like Must Be Met Head on with Praise and Thanksgiving
“Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (KJV, Ps. 100:3-5).
“Know ye that the Lord he is God”
Do you know that the Lord is God? Do you recognize the God of creation? The answer to this question has profound implications. Are you living before Him as though He is God? The answer to this question will give evidence to the first.
The psalmist speaks of more than an intellectual assent to a truth but also a firm conviction. The psalmist was not concerned with someone’s merely giving verbal credence to the Lord being God, but he was making a firm statement based upon a heartfelt conviction.
A conviction moves a believer. A conviction spurs a believer into action. Do you know that the Lord is God? This truth must reach the depth of the heart and permeate the being. With boldness, the psalmist would have written this psalm. With fire in his eyes, he would have declared this truth. With passion in his voice, he would have made the claim: The Lord is God!
“it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves”
The psalmist turns to an element of the Lord being God that must be held in the forefront. God has made man; man did not make himself. In a simple way, this puts things into perspective. If man had made himself, this would place man outside of God in some respect. In a sense, this could mean that man would not need to be in subjection to God and/or that man is autonomous. If man created himself, this could also mean that man could live for himself. Lest we be carried away with lies, let us get onto the truth.
God has created man. Man must recognize that as a created being, he has been created with a purpose. Every creation has a purpose. The light bulb was created for a purpose. Cups are created for a purpose. Cars are created for a purpose. Man must recognize his purpose in life and yield himself to God’s purpose.
“we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture”
God has called a people to Himself, and it is right and proper to say that His people are the sheep of His pasture. God is not only a Creator; He is also an Owner and a Shepherd. The Christian is owned by God and bought with a price.
During the days of Moses, God redeemed the Israelites from Egyptian slavery and, in a very real sense, made them His own. The Christian has been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, and our lives are no longer our own.
God is also a faithful Shepherd. God cares for His people, who are also likened to sheep. God watches over His sheep, feeds His sheep, provides water for His sheep, protects His sheep, etc.
Take note of the double use of “his.” Not only are we His, but we are also the sheep of His pasture. God has a special place in which He desires to take the Christian. His pasture land is unique, and He will make His sheep to lie down in green pastures.
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise”
Times of dullness and distance from the Lord will come into the life of the Christian. While there is not a simple solution to a problem that will only be solved in eternity, there are helpful remedies that the Christian should consider along the way.
Dullness, distance, despondency, and the like must be met head on with praise. If someone is feeling distant from the Lord, it is possible that incorporating praise and thanksgiving in his life will be a great benefit.
The psalmist tells us that we are to enter through the Lord’s gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. But how many Christians put this into practice? How many Christians enter into the presence of the Lord by giving thanks and praising the Lord?
“be thankful unto him, and bless his name”
Yet again, we can see that the psalmist was concerned with giving thanks to the Lord. But we also see that we are not just to give thanks; we are to bless His name. God has given the believer much more than he deserves. The Bible makes it clear that man deserves death, which is the wages for the sin he has committed. However, God freely gives life to those who receive Christ as Lord and Savior.
God also bestows much mercy, grace, and patience on both the believer and the unbeliever. There are many reasons to give thanks to the Lord. The Christian ought to count his blessings each day. As he does this, he ought to bless the Lord. This means that the Christian should speak well of God. God should be highly esteemed through the Christian’s words, thoughts, and behavior.
“For the Lord is good”
The word “for” gives us a reason (or reasons) for why we should give thanks and bless the Lord. The Lord is good, and this conclusion naturally follows the command to bless the Lord. As was stated, to bless the Lord means that the Christian should speak well of God or good of God. The reason for this is that God is good. The Scriptures are not commanding the Christian to do something outrageous or nonsensical. God is good; therefore, declare it to be so.
God being good is both an amazing truth and a scary one. God being good should not be taken lightly. God is good, but man is not. Man is a sinner who cannot escape the judgment of One Who cannot look upon evil. God is good, but man cannot say the same about himself. So where does this leave us?
If God was a crooked judge, He would not be good. A corrupt, unjust judge is not looked upon as good by the people of the land. But God is good; therefore, He must be just. The Lord is good, but there is more to add to the story.
“his mercy is everlasting”
God is also merciful. This does not mean that God lets people off the hook. God has sent his Son, and in His Son Jesus Christ, the mercy of God is on display. For the Christian, it is rightly said that the mercy of God is everlasting. The mercy of God knows no bounds and cannot be overcome by sin.
Two thousand years ago, God sent Jesus to the world to become a man. In taking on flesh, Jesus lived a perfect life so that He would have no sin to pay for Himself. As a result, He could offer himself before the Father as a perfect substitute. God punished His Son in the place of sinful man so that sinful man could become the righteousness of God.
“and his truth endureth to all generations”
God’s truth will stand the test of time. The gates of hell will not prevail against God’s truth. Although the heavens and the earth will pass away, God’s truth will remain throughout all generations. God’s truth has an enduring element, which also means that the Christian will endure alongside it.
The life of the Christian moves alongside the truth of God’s Word. It could also be said that the truth of God’s Word carries the Christian and propels the Christian. Therefore, since God’s truth will endure, so will a Christian in his walk with Christ.
Father, thank You for Your enduring Word. I pray that You would help me to see the many reasons for why I ought to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Teach me to meditate on the fact that You have created me, You own me, and You are my Shepherd. Thank You for guiding me in a good direction and for watching over me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.