“Know the LORD to Thankfully Serve Him”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Psalm 100
Let’s turn to the Old Testament hymnbook in the psalms. Psalm 100. To determine what the LORD would have us to consider this morning, this day before Thanksgiving, I did a search for the word “thanks” or “thankfulness” in the psalms. The highest concentration of the English, or any of its variation, is in this psalm, Psalm 100. It occurs a total of three times.
That word occurs two times in verse 4. Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
And the first time it occurs is in the inspired title, “A Psalm for Thanksgiving.” This is the only psalm with this title. “Thanksgiving” can also refer to a “thank offering.” The thank offering was for when someone was overwhelmed with the depth of gratitude to the LORD. So, if God does some amazing thing in your life, this is a psalm that could turn to. It will give you words for your overwhelming gratitude. The structure of the psalm is relatively simple.
You have a command and then the foundation upon which to carry out that command. That combination occurs twice in this short psalm. The command and then the motivation or power to carry out that command.
Let’s look at it, you’ll see it. In verses one and two, you have the command to joyfully serve the LORD. Psalm 100:1-2 1 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.
But how are you going to do that? How can you joyfully serve the LORD? What you need is verse three. You need to ….Psalm 100:3 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.
To joyfully serve, you need to know the LORD, you need to know God.
It works the same way with verses four and five. Verse four emphasizes the Thanksgiving. Psalms 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
But how will you thankfully enter into his courts, as it were? By, verse five, knowing something. You must know the LORD. Thankfully serve Him … Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.
So, to serve the LORD thankfully or joyfully, you first must know Him. I’d like to preach then on the message of Psalm 100, which is “Know the LORD to Thankfully Serve Him”
First … serve the LORD with Joy …
Serve the LORD with Joy (100:1-2)
Again, Psalm 100:1-2 1 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.
Just like with any passage of Scripture, it’s easy to take verses out of context. For example, for readers of God’s Word, it’s easy to take verses out of context in Paul’s epistles. And as we’ve seen in Mark, it’s easy to take the stories out of context and not realize that Mark’s point is found in how two stories relate.
Similar here, it’s easy to just solely focus on what these verses are saying to us right now in our present New Testament church context. However, God first gave this passage to people in the context of the Old Covenant. Plus, and as we will see, more important, this psalm occurs in a series of psalms, from Psalm 93 to 100.
These psalms are well known to have the end times under discussion. If you were to read these Psalms you would be constantly bombarded with the pronouncement that the LORD reigns and that He does so over all of the earth, or over the nations, or over all people (93:1; 96:10; 97:1; 99:1). Judgment is also a major theme in these psalms (Ps 94:2, 15; 96:10, 13; 97:8; 98:9). For example, Psalm 98:8-9 8 Let the rivers clap their hands, Let the mountains sing together for joy 9 Before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity.
Clearly, an end times focus there in Psalm 98:8-9. And that’s the flavor of all of Ps. 93-100, though at some points it is subtle. So these psalms give testimony to a time when Yahweh alone will reign as king over all the earth and over all peoples and lands. Now, Psalm 100 is the sort of grand finale of this these psalms.
And this global reign of God is the subject of verse one. We can see it when the psalmist exhorts all the earth to shout joyfully to the LORD. Picture that, the whole earth giving exuberant praise to God!
Verses one captures this theme of joyfulness. There are three different words in 2 verses to describe this emotion. “Shout joyfully” verse 1, serve the LORD with “gladness” and come before him with “joyful singing.” 3 different words describing a joyful emotion.
In verse 2, the second line explains the first line.
Verse 2, the psalmist commands us … Psalm 100:2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.
In other words, what does it look like to serve the LORD with gladness? It means to come before him with joyful singing. So the idea here in verse 2 seems to be a presentation of oneself for spiritual service…a presentation of oneself for spiritual service.
Present yourself, that is, “come before Him.” For what though? To serve the LORD. So then you present yourself for spiritual service. And you do this with great gladness and joyful singing!
But how on earth would you be willing to wholly present yourself to someone? This is a giving yourself over to someone for dedication. What is it going to take to obey this command and to do so gladly and joyfully?
TRANS: The answer to that is in verse three. In order to gladly present yourself for spiritual service and dedication, you must know the LORD. You must know God! You must know the LORD to serve Him joyfully.
Know the LORD to Serve with Joy (100:3)
Psalms 100:3 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.
Know that Yahweh is God
If you do not know the LORD, you will not present yourself to Him nor will you come before Him and serve Him with gladness. That would be the same way with anything, wouldn’t it? Unless you knew someone … Unless you intimately knew someone, you would not present yourself before him in order to serve him.
And that’s the word for “know” here. This is not a mere head knowledge, but this is in intimate knowledge, an spiritually empowered, illuminated knowledge. Not a textbook knowledge. The idea here is the same as in Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
The LORD is not merely mentally acquainted with the way of the righteous, but he intimately knows the righteous in a saving way.
So this is then, in the Hebrew understanding, a call to receive the LORD in a saving way. Verse 3, again, You must know that the LORD Himself, He is God. The “LORD” is in all capital letters and this is God’s proper name. You must know that Yahweh Himself is God. He alone is the true and living God over all the earth. There is no one else.
And today, under the New Covenant that we are in, intimate knowledge of the LORD comes, by God’s design, through Jesus Christ alone. John 14:6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
You must know that the LORD, He is God and you must know that Jesus is the way to the Father. And it’s only those who repent of their sin and trust Christ, who receive this intimate knowledge of God that actually and truly saves. Spiritually-empowered knowledge of God is only those who have turned away from their own life and asked Jesus to save them.
Not only must you know that Yahweh is God, but also from verse 3, you must know that He is the One who made us, not we ourselves. He is our creator. Know that He has made us. Psalm 100:3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves…
Our Creator: Know that He made us
He created us, not ourselves. Who is the “us” or the “ourselves.” It’s the same people under discussion in verse one, who is that? It’s “all the earth.” God has made all of the earth that is capable of shouting joyfully, so it’s all the people of the earth. God’s creating of people would of course be true during any time, either past, present, or future. And as we have already alluded, I think we’ll be able to nail down exactly who this is more specifically in a minute.
Our Sustainer: Know that we are His people, His sheep
But for now, also know, that not only is He our Creator, He is also our sustainer. He has made us and, end of verse 3, we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Understand that in order to shout joyfully to the LORD and to present yourself to the LORD gladly … In order to do that, you must intimately and savingly know the LORD. Know that He is the only One, He created us, and thirdly He sustains us.
And for those of us here who have trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and have called upon him, your ability to joyfully present yourself before him for worship and service will be motivated and empowered by your understanding of who God is.
To the degree that you have spiritual illumination about the knowledge of God, to whatever degree you have that, to that degree you will gladly and joyfully present yourself before him for service and worship.
So, the exhortation then becomes to call upon Jesus Christ to save you from your sins and if you’ve done that, you must receive regular spiritual fellowship with God the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. Without regular times of true fellowship with the LORD, you will fail in your service and glad presentation of yourself to Him. At the end of the message, I will give some real practical steps to know the LORD in a close way.
TRANS: But for now understand this principle that the present yourself gladly to the LORD for service and worship, you must know the LORD.
And this idea is not foreign to us. Turn over to Romans 12.
This command to give ourselves over to the LORD is the same kind of command that Paul gives to the Romans in Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
This presentation of ourselves to God for spiritual service of worship is only reasonable given what Paul wrote about the amazing gospel of Christ in Romans 1-11. Because of the spiritual blessings that we have received in Christ, we should present ourselves to God for spiritual service. But it is receiving regular spiritual knowledge of Jesus Christ and His salvation that will equip you for glad service to him. Romans 12:1 again … “Therefore, because of those mercies of God” I urge you to present yourself to God… see, you must know the mercies in order to present yourself to Him!
Somebody says, “Well, I want to know what this spiritual service of worship looks like.” That’s Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Paul, himself, then continues to explain service in the body of Christ. Verse six, each believer has a gift and must exercise that gift according to the grace that God has given him. If you have been given the ability to proclaim God’s word, you must do that. If you have the strength of your hands to serve, verse seven, you must do or teach … or verse eight exhort, encourage, comfort, or strengthen us, or if you have an unusual spiritual ability to give, do so generously. If you have leadership ability, do that with diligence….
And so see, these are God’s applications to present yourself before Him for spiritual service. You serve in the body of Christ. And you give diligence to doing so. To the degree that you have intimate knowledge of who God is and His purposes, to that degree you will diligently give yourself over to spiritual service before Him as you serve Him with us and as you serve each other here.
Now, back to Psalm 100. But service takes spiritually-empowered knowledge of who God is and what He has done. It takes spiritually-empowered teaching and doctrine first, and then you’re motivated to present yourself before His presence for service.
In Psalm 100, we understand that these verses would apply to us in that we are to know the LORD and that as we increase in our intimate knowledge of who God is, we will serve him with gladness and joy. We will know that we did not make ourselves, but that he made us that we are his people the sheep of his pasture.
But we see a bit of confusion with the explanation. We understand the application that it applies to us. But these verses are specifically addressing a certain people group. The people group being addressed again, verse one, is “all the earth.”
Second line of verse three, God made “us” … God made all the people of the Earth. Now, it says “we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” But wait a second, that sounds like that every human being is one of His people and one of His sheep. How can all the earth from verse 1 also be called in verse 3, His sheep and His pasture? Sounds like everyone is in right relationship with God and we know from the Bible that most people are not in good standing with God.
So, what could this be referring to? Let’s keep reading into verse four and maybe we will get more of an understanding. Verse four is the command to serve the LORD with thankfulness.
Serve the LORD with Thankfulness (100:4)
Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
This is clearly set in a Temple context. We are talking about “gates.” We’re also talking about “courts.” These are terms to refer to the Temple.
Notice who is exhorted to enter His gates and his courts. Who is it? The same people in the context. All the people of the earth, whomever He created and who can also be called “His people and His sheep.”
So combining all of that it must be a people and a time in which all of the earth can be called His people and His sheep. And it must be a time period in which all of the earth could in fact have the opportunity to enter into the Temple and obey the command of verse 4.
When will it be possible that all the earth could be called His sheep and all of the earth could have the opportunity of entering into the Temple? Answer: the Millennium! Turn to Isaiah 66 to see this a little more clearly. The Millennium is the literal, 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth that happens after the 7 year period known as the Tribulation.
Somebody might say, “Well, I thought it was the New Heaven and New Earth.” You’d be onto something, because not everyone is saved in the Millennium and could be called His sheep in a saving way. But also, Israel is called His sheep and not everyone is saved, in Numbers 27:17. Plus, in the New Heaven and New Earth, there is no Temple and thus no need for “courts” or “gates” as described in Psalm 100. The LORD God himself is the Temple, Revelation 21:22 says.
But, in the Millennium, there will be a rebuilt Temple. Let’s read Isaiah 66:18-23, as we do, notice how all the earth is gathering to the LORD just like they are commanded to do in Psalm 100.
Isaiah 66:18-23 18 “For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory. 19 “I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: [PRONOUNCE??] Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshe-k, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations. 20 ” …[notice these terms here …. ] Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the LORD, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the LORD, “just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD. 21 “I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites,” says the LORD. 22 “For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make [that’s actually set in the future …which I am about to make, it can be translated…] will endure before Me,” declares the LORD, “So your offspring and your name will endure. 23 ” …[now, here it is, …]… And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the LORD.
So here is the time in which all of mankind will come from all over the earth to bow down before the LORD: it will be a time just before when the LORD makes the new heavens and the new earth and it will be a time in which, verse 20, all of God’s people from all the nations are brought to the LORD. I won’t go into all of it now, but it will be during the 1,000 year reign of Christ.
So, back to Psalm 100 verse 4. Indeed, this will be a time in which God’s people from all over the earth will literally enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. They will give thanks to Him and bless His name.
But to do that, even in the Millennium, they must know something. In that time in the future, there will be those who are the children of God’s people and they will rebel against the LORD. So even in the Millennium, there will need to be active choices made to know and serve the LORD who reigns upon the earth.
So, in order to serve him joyfully and with thanksgiving, just like they in the future, they we will need to call to mind, verse 5….
Know the LORD to Serve with Thankfulness (100:5)
Psalm 100:5 … [that] the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.
We have three things to know about the LORD in order enter into His gates as it were to serve Him joyfully and that is, number one, that He is good. Two, his lovingkindness is everlasting and three his faithfulness is to all generations.
These descriptions are not necessarily meant to be all that distinct from each other. But you can picture yourself in the millennium praising the LORD in this way that when He indeed does come again and reigns upon the earth, you will look back and be able to say of a truth that the LORD is good!
In fact, His lovingkindness and faithfulness has extended to all generations; it’s been everlasting! And as someone in the Millennium, I can see that! In other words, the principle here is that our past experience with the LORD and the fulfillment of His promises encourages us to thankfully and joyfully present ourselves before Him for spiritual service and worship.
When we are in the Millennium, that 1000-year reign of Christ upon the earth, we will look back over century upon century of God’s goodness and be able to proclaim that His lovingkindness has indeed been everlasting. That word lovingkindness is an important word. It has the idea of his covenant love. In fact, the ESV translates this word “steadfast love.” That’s the idea and it often occurs in the context of God’s promises to his people through covenant.
He has come to His people and has promised to fulfill what he said he would. And he has indeed promised in his word of a future time in which He will reign upon this earth. And when he does, we as God’s people will look back and see how he has fulfilled all of his many promises. And we will be able to say that his faithfulness has endured to every single generation. He has been faithful.
So you can bank on it! And so today, as you struggle with giving yourself over to the LORD with thanksgiving and praise your hearts, know Him! Know that you will confess these things! And know Him now!
And so how do you know the LORD? First, you must receive Christ! If God has not come into your life and given you a new heart with new desires knowing that the old things have passed away and behold all things have become new… If God hasn’t renewed your heart, ask him to! If you are delighting in the things of this world more so than what God Himself has said, God desires to change your heart and turn you from a child of destruction to a child of God! Seek His face and ask him to save you from your sins.
But if you have received Christ, God’s counsel to you is now to seek hard for that knowledge. Proverbs 2:1-5 1 My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, 2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; 3 For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; 4 If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God.
You must have knowledge of God! To receive that knowledge, cry out for it! Seek this knowledge as if for silver! It takes a diligent search. God will not just reveal himself to passerby’s. You wouldn’t spill your heart out to random strangers on the sidewalk, either! And so you can’t expect God to reveal the treasures of himself to those who are flippant about their relationship with him. Take your relationship with God seriously and seek his face diligently.
Seeking him diligently like this requires that you seek him in his word. Seek Him in His Word. Psalm 119:10 With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Here is a tie between seeking God and not wandering from his commandments. If you are to seek the LORD, you must not wander from his word. In other words, to know the LORD requires that you know his word. Meditate upon your Bible!
Finally, to know the LORD, you must seek Him in prayer. Paul prays that we would receive knowledge of God. Receiving knowledge of God demands that we pray! Paul writes…
Colossians 1:9-10 9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask […see he’s praying …for what? …] that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the LORD, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
See, Paul prays that you would increase in the knowledge of God. To know the LORD, you must pray that you increase in the knowledge of God! To know the LORD, you must seek Him diligently, seek Him in His Word, and seek Him in prayer.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Psalm 100
Let’s rejoice over who God is and what He has done for us! He has given us all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus! He has a marvelous future yet in store for us! And you have seen his hand of the mercies in the past! Know Him, know his word know his ways, meditate long upon them, and seek his face. And as you receive spiritual illumination from him, you will increase in knowledge of Him. As you increase in knowledge of God, you will be motivated, to joyfully present yourself before Him for spiritual service.
Sing Psalm 100 to the tune of the Doxology