Are you weary of listening to news reports that seem to be filled with problems? Is the atmosphere that you are living and working in heavy with a feeling of gloom? Is it beginning to seep into your spirit? Let us be encouraged to lift our voices in praise to God today and receive fresh joy and strength.
This psalm is a reminder, a call to praise and worship the Lord, with joy and thanksgiving.
It is a reminder to praise God for who He is, as the Creator of the world. But also who He is in relation to us, our Creator. We belong to God, and without a relationship with Him, there will always be a void, something missing from our lives. We have the privilege to be His people, tended and cared for by Almighty God. Let us remind ourselves that we are much-loved children of God. We belong to Him, the Sovereign ruler, we are His people, and He is our benefactor. We are the sheep of His pasture. God cares for us, and we can trust in His infinite mercy and goodness.
This psalm gives a call to enter the place of God’s presence, His gates, and courts with praise. This of course referred to the Temple in Jerusalem. But now we no longer need to go to a particular place, to a Mountain or to a Temple – we worship in the Spirit and in truth. The place of worship is irrelevant, because true worship is in keeping with God’s nature, which is Spirit. We praise and worship in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the truth of Jesus Christ.
Praise is the Key
The way for us to enter now into God’s presence is with thanksgiving – praise is key. When we remember that unexpected and undeserved gift (the gift of our salvation); when we remind ourselves of the joy that we first felt when we received that gift, then out of the overflow of thankful and grateful hearts, praise will flow. As we lift our hearts, minds, and voices in praise to the Lord, our perspective changes. Our faith is encouraged and strengthened to the possibilities in God.
When we make a sacrifice of praise, choosing to thank God regardless of how we are feeling now, we are lifted up. As we praise God, as we bless Him with our thanksgiving, God pours out His blessing on us. We receive joy and a strengthening in His presence – for God inhabits the praises of His people.
Joy is a Gift
The joy we receive is given to us by the Holy Spirit, an inner contentment and happiness that is not dependent on external circumstances. We can be joyful in hope for the future, because of the surety and certainty of our hope in Christ Jesus.
We can enter God’s presence in secret, when we praise and worship God on or own, in our own ‘quiet’ time. Or there is private worship, when we are together with our family or in a small group setting. And of course, what so many of us have missed recently, the call to public worship amongst our wider Christian community. There is power in our united praise, when we participate, even if it is online or via Zoom.
Draw near to God today, with praise and thanksgiving, and His word promises that He will draw near to you. Come back to the source and receive afresh, His love, joy, and peace, and give thanks. He is worthy of all our praise. And joy is infectious, it changes the atmosphere!
A Psalm of Thanksgiving
“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.” Psalms 100:1-5 NIV