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Psalm 100 - The LORD Is God, We Are His Sheep

INTRODUCTION: This brief psalm of only five verses contains a depth that is belied by the brevity. It has been a favorite in the church for centuries, and perhaps the rich content in few words has been an important factor to that popularity among the people of God. The entire psalm could be committed to memory in a reasonably short period by those who enjoy memorization. It expresses some important aspects of our relationship to our God, including some similar wording and metaphors that link it to other scriptures to add depth of meaning.

NOTE: All Bible text is taken from the World English Bible [WEB].

A - Praise the Lord and serve Him with joy

Psalm 100 "1 {A Psalm of thanksgiving.} Shout for joy to Yahweh, all you lands! 2 Serve Yahweh with gladness. Come before his presence with singing."

COMMENTS: At the outset of this psalm, "all you lands" are being addressed, and this is the very same opening used in Psalm 66. Then that psalm makes it very clear that there will be a time when the people of the whole earth will submit to the Lord's authority and will sing and shout praises to his holy name. Psalm "66:3 Tell God, "How awesome are your deeds! Through the greatness of your power, your enemies submit themselves to you. 4 All the earth will worship you, and will sing to you; they will sing to your name." Selah." An invitation to all the earth to sing praise to the Lord is found in Psalm "98:4 Make a joyful noise to Yahweh, all the earth! Burst out and sing for joy, yes, sing praises!" Centuries before these psalms were written, God had already established the requirement that his chosen people Israel serve the LORD. Deuteronomy "10:12 Now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul," As the Lord's chosen people, Christians should also serve the Lord joyfully with their whole life as a demonstration of their love for him because of his incomparable rewards. Colossians "3:23 And whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord, and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." The Lord equips the believer to serve him in ways not possible except for the enablement from him. Ephesians "2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them." We have good reason to serve the Lord with joy if we keep in mind the promise that Christ will bring us with great joy into the Lord's presence in a very precious manner, even though we may not come before him in the courts of a physical temple. Jude "1:24 Now to him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory in great joy, 25 to God our Saviour, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen."

B - Know the Lord and that we are His

Psalm 100 "3 Know that Yahweh, he is God. It is he who has made us, and we are his. We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture."

COMMENTS: His Word is truth, and it settles all matters. Genesis "2:7 Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Through the centuries there were individuals who trusted the LORD, and eventually he chose a nation to be his own. Moses spoke to the children of Israel to implore them to recognize the LORD God as the only God to be worshipped after they had taken the land east of the Jordan River. Deuteronomy "4:39 Know therefore this day, and lay it to your heart, that Yahweh he is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is none else." The message of "no other God" did not change through all the period of the judges and the kings during Israel's time in the land the LORD had given them. Israel was eventually scattered due to their unfaithfulness, and the word of the Lord was scattered with them to the benefit of the whole earth. Isaiah "45:21 Declare and present it. Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has shown this from ancient time? Who has declared it of old? Haven't I, Yahweh? There is no other God besides me, a just God and a Saviour; There is no one besides me. 22 "Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23 I have sworn by myself, the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and will not return, that to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath." This continues as an unchangeable truth because of the ministry of Christ Jesus. Philippians "2:8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name; 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

What a wondrous provision from a loving God, to make salvation available in an incomparable manner. Now it is even more clear that we become his possession only through the means he provides. John "1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn't recognize him. 11 He came to his own, and those who were his own didn't receive him. 12 But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God's children, to those who believe in his name: 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." The LORD will take care of those that he has set apart as he is the Good Shepherd of their souls. Of all that the Lord created, we alone are made in the image of God. That fact alone should give us great joy as we consider that there is yet more in store for us when we reach the ultimate green pasture of heaven. The following prophecy was in the time of the decline of Israel's earthly kingdom, but held promise of what was to come. Ezekiel "34:11 For thus says the Lord Yahweh: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day." Then the Lord Jesus gave further assurance, when he was indeed among his sheep. John "10:26 But you don't believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." This eternal life is for those who have accepted the salvation of Christ by faith and are willing to obey him. John "3:36 One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won't see life, but the wrath of God remains on him."" The way is open to all, Jew and Gentile alike, as they will become one flock. John "10:14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I'm known by my own; 15 even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd."

C - Respond to the Lord

Psalm 100 "4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, and bless his name."

COMMENTS: We who belong to the Lord have an unparalleled reason to gather together to bring praise and thanksgiving to his name. The true flock may be scattered in the midst of those who are not the sheep of Christ, with the routines of daily living while in the world. But we should demonstrate a special joy by maintaining a priority to assemble together with other believers on a regular basis. Hebrews "10:24 Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching." Unlike sheep, we have so many ways available within ourselves to give praise to our maker because of the unique way in which man was fashioned in the image of God, on that sixth day of creation. The absence of God's temple here on earth does not prevent the worship the Lord desires of us. Isaiah "66:1 Thus says Yahweh, "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: what kind of house will you build to me? and what place shall be my rest? 2 For all these things has my hand made, and so all these things came to be," says Yahweh: "but to this man will I look, even to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my word."" We can be confident about the acceptability of our sacrifice of praise to the LORD when we come before him in humility with no haughtiness of spirit, and a true willingness to serve others. Hebrews "13:14 For we don't have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come. 15 Through him, then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which proclaim allegiance to his name. 16 But don't forget to be doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."

D - The Lord is faithful to all generations

Psalm 100 "5 For Yahweh is good. His loving kindness endures forever, his faithfulness to all generations."

COMMENTS: Though there may be present suffering for the sheep of God's pasture, his goodness will surely come to pass. Psalms "79:9 Help us, God of our salvation, for the glory of your name. Deliver us, and forgive our sins, for your name's sake. 10 Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" Let it be known among the nations, before our eyes, that vengeance for your servants' blood is being poured out. 11 Let the sighing of the prisoner come before you. According to the greatness of your power, preserve those who are sentenced to death. 12 Pay back to our neighbours seven times into their bosom their reproach with which they have reproached you, Lord. 13 So we, your people and sheep of your pasture, will give you thanks forever. We will praise you forever, to all generations." Even in the dark days of Judah, as the southern kingdom was being conquered, Jeremiah could write these words. Lamentations "3:24 Yahweh is my portion, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 Yahweh is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. 26 It is good that a man should hope and quietly wait for the salvation of Yahweh." In the present generation we still must place our full trust in the enduring word of the Lord, despite any circumstances. 1 Peter "1:22 Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth through the Spirit in sincere brotherly affection, love one another from the heart fervently: 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and remains forever. 24 For, "All flesh is like grass, and all of man's glory like the flower in the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls; 25 but the Lord's word endures forever." This is the word of Good News which was preached to you." As long as there are subsequent generations of man, the Lord's loving kindness will be faithfully passed on to the next generation. Once we have accepted the Lord, our confidence is in his Word. Philippians "1:6 being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."

--- Reflections in prayer ---

Lord, I want to have a song in my heart even when there is none on my lips so that all of my service to you will be rooted in the incomparable joy you provide. I firmly believe that you are God alone, and that you are my loving creator. I thank you Lord that you have made me one of your sheep because I know that as the good shepherd you gave your life that I might live eternally. I thank you Lord with all my heart and I want to continually come before you with praise to your holy name. You are indeed good with no trace of evil. Jesus responded to a man by saying, "No one is good but one, that is, God." I know that I will have joy throughout eternity with you because your loving kindness endures forever. All praise to the true and living LORD! Amen.

Published 16 April 2011