Happy Thanksgiving

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

(Psalm 100)

Have you ever had one of those ‘flat days’ – you know those days when you just feel blar? (a technical term!!). A day when the idea of ‘worship’ or ‘praise’ seems so removed from your mental space – I have them often.

I was reading Psalm 100, it is a Psalm of Praise and Thanksgiving. Israel as God’s people are called to gather and enter into the temple courts in Jerusalem shouting for joy (100:1), worshiping with gladness (100:2), singing joyful songs (100:2), giving thanks to God praising his name (100:4).

For the Psalmist, as he entered through the gates of that magnificent temple in Jerusalem, I wonder if the excitement of coming close to the presence of the Lord would have helped bring him to an attitude of praise and worship? I wonder if that sort of excitement could be anything like what we might feel today when we enter through the gates to the Adelaide Cricket Ground to watch a match or take our seats at the Festival Theatre for that long awaited show.

So why don’t I always feel like worshiping God or praising his name? I suspect I am not alone.

I also wonder, if at times, Christians feel a pressure to ‘be happy’, to always have an attitude of praise or thanks, and when that is not the case there is a guilt factor that often comes into play.

Psalm 100 helps me. It calls me to give thanks and praise because it tells me why. Our worship (what we do) springs out of our theology (why we do it).

As I look deeper and reflect longer I see a rich theological realities – that the Lord, is the Lord over all the earth (100:1), that the Lord is God and that he made me and he has put me among his people (100:3), that the Lord is good, and that his love endures forever and his faithfulness continues throughout all generations even to me (100:5).

We have even more reason today to worship and praise God than what our Psalmist had – but we have to focus not on the what, but on the why and the who. We stand in the presence of God today, not because we have walked though the temple gates, but because Jesus Christ is Lord. He is Lord over all the earth (Matt 28:18; Acts 10:36) , he is God (John 1:1; 20:28), he made us (John 1:3; Col 1:16), he puts us among his people (1 Peter 2:5; 2 Cor 6:16), he is good (John 10:11), his love is forever and his faithfulness is the reason that all generations know eternity (Matt 28:20).

I am reminded of why I have felt so inclined to worship our Lord in the past and why I am called to worship the Lord Jesus today and tomorrow.

Friends, keep your focus on the why and who. It is because Jesus Christ is our Lord that we should be motivated to do what we do.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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