A Family’s Praise of God
Gracious Father, Your loving kindness draws me to You; Your faithfulness prompts me to praise You with all my heart and soul.
Read PSALM 100:1-5
 A psalm. For giving thanks.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lam. 3:22,23, NRSV). Isn’t that true and truly wonderful?
What a happy psalm this is, in great contrast to the elements of sin, punishment, disaster and fear in Amos’ pronouncement. There we glimpsed a people who confused their privilege with permission to sin. Here, there’s encouragement for a privileged people to celebrate their covenant relationship with joy, gladness, thanksgiving and praise. Yet both messages were spoken to the same nation, Israel, many generations after its beginnings during the time of the monarchy. The temple and its corporate worship had been established and there is a sense of joyous anticipation as people are called together to worship God. We might wonder how people could sing psalms like this inside the temple when, outside the temple, their behavior often did not reflect the character and expectations of their God. How true it is of human nature that we need both reminders to repent and encouragement to praise. The words of both prophet and priest are necessary to keep us on God’s straight and narrow path.
This worship was noisy: shouts of joy and songs of praise accompany entry through the temple gates and celebration in its courts. This worship was focused primarily on the character of God, his creative power and ownership in the first place, and his continued goodness, love and faithfulness. The people who had once been shepherds themselves (Gen. 47:1-4) were now experiencing the shepherd’s care of God himself. However, this well-known song of praise already sees beyond the biological family of Israel. It transcends geography (“all the earth”) (1), time (“forever”) (5), and history (“all generations”) (5). We are invited to join in grateful praise with patriarchs, prophets, priests, kings, apostles and all the family of God throughout all ages (Rev. 5:11-13).
Pray for encouragement and perseverance today for followers of Jesus who must worship him alone or in secrecy.
Lord, freedom to worship is a priceless privilege and I thank You for it. Encourage those who face hostility because they seek to worship You.