Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving, Day 1

Leslie Basham: How would you describe your worship to the Lord? Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Worship is to be joyful and expressive. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord; shout joyfully to the Lord.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place. It’s Monday, November 21, 2016.

Nancy: As we come into this Thanksgiving week, I want us to take the next few days and look at what is one of the most beloved and familiar psalms in the entire Jewish psalter, the Jewish hymn book. It’s called “A Psalm for Giving Thanks,” and it’s actually the only psalm in the whole Scripture that is specifically designated that way. There are lots of psalms that have thanksgiving and praise in them, but this one actually has as its heading “A Psalm for Giving Thanks.”

So we’re going to be looking at Psalm 100, and if you’re in a place where you have your Bible, and you can click it on, turn it on, scroll to it, open it without causing an accident (if you’re driving), I wouldn’t recommend this. But if you’re in a place where you can turn to this passage and join with us today and over the next couple of days, I want us to just soak in this psalm, as I have been over the last several days, and use it as a way of tuning our heart to praise the Lord, to give thanks to Him.

So let me read the entire psalm—five verses, eighty-one words—and then we’re just going to unpack it over the next few days and see what it has to say to our own hearts.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Now, this psalm has been set to music. It’s a subject of many hymns and poems and books as well. Psalm 100, the metrical version of this psalm, the verse that’s been paraphrased and set to metrical verse is known as the Old Hundredth. You may not have heard it called that, but it was paraphrased by a Bible translator named William Kethe back in 1561.

It’s also known as the Doxology, and here we are still singing those words to the same tune in many of our churches more than 400 years later.

In 1953, this psalm, this hymn, “All People That on Earth Do Dwell,” was sung at the close of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey. And then sixty years later, it was sung again at a national service of Thanksgiving in St. Paul’s Cathedral, to celebrate the diamond jubilee of her Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. You can actually see both of those services on YouTube and hear this familiar hymn.

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
Him serve with fear, his praise forthtell,
Come ye before him and rejoice.”

That’s all based on Psalm 100, the psalm we’re looking at this week.

Now, there are lots of different kinds of psalms. As you read through the book of Psalms, you find that there are some psalms of lament, psalms of sadness, psalms of confession. There are psalms of instruction. But this psalm is different.

There’s no mourning in this psalm. There’s no grieving in this psalm. There are no tears in this psalm. This is a hymn. It’s a hymn of praise. It’s a doxology. It’s a hymn of joy and gladness and singing.

As I have been meditating on this psalm over the past several days, it’s just lifted up my heart. As you read it over and over and over again, it has a way of dispelling and displacing darkness and clouds and sadness. And there’s a lot of all of that in the news today.

But you get in God’s Word, and in a psalm like this, and you find your eyes are lifted up. Your heart is lifted up. The clouds move away, and you just realize that above it all is the great God and King of the universe.

This is a psalm that may have been sung by the Jews in the Old Testament era as they approached the temple in Jerusalem to worship. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come into his presence with singing.”

So the psalm breaks down in a very simple way. Let me just give you the overall outline and format, and then we’re going to look at each piece a little bit at a time.

The first two verses are a call to worship. In that call to worship, that invitation to worship, there are three imperatives: Make a joyful noise to the Lord; serve the Lord with gladness; come into His presence with singing.

Then in verse 3, there’s a cause for worship, a reason to worship. And that takes the form of three affirmations: He is God; He made us, and we are His.

And then, verse 4, we have another call to worship, another invitation to worship. And, again, there are three imperatives: Enter His gates; give thanks to Him, and bless His name.

And then, finally, in verse 5, we have once again a cause for worship; three attributes of God: His goodness; His steadfast love, or as some of your translations say, His mercy; and His faithfulness.

So you see here the Trinity of God—threes everywhere in the call to worship and in the cause for worship—they just go back and forth. And we want to see what that has to say about our thanksgiving and our worship today.

The first thing I notice as I look at these first couple of verses, this call to worship, is that worship is to be joyful and expressive—joyful and expressive. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord.” One translation says, “Shout joyfully to the Lord.” Or another, “Shout for joy to the Lord.”

The reason you have these different translations is it’s hard to come up with just one way of saying what the word is in the Hebrew text. So it can be translated: “A joyful noise,” or “Shout joyfully.” But it’s loud. It’s noisy. It’s joyful. It’s expressive. It’s celebrative.

I have to tell you about a little ritual that my husband and I have—I’m a little embarrassed to tell you this because it’s just between us, but now it’s between us and everybody else. In our living room we have, spanning across two adjacent walls, a Scripture verse from Psalm 65. It says, “O God, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas . . . You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy” (vv. 5, 8).

But here’s how we do that: When I come downstairs in the morning . . . Robert is a really early riser. He’s on his knees; he’s in the Word way before I’m up in the morning. So when I come down the stairs in the morning, I get to the bottom step, and he comes to meet me. Then we, well, we hug, we kiss. I tell him, “Good morning, my beloved.” And he says, “Good morning, my love.” Then over his shoulder, I can see the Scripture verse.

So it’s still early for me, and I don’t like being loud in the morning—I don’t even like talking in the morning. So I just kind of whisper this verse in his ear: “O God, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, You make the going out of the morning and the evening”. . . and then he braces, and then we go together, “to SHOUT for joy.”

So that’s our way of waking each other up in the morning: “to shout for joy.” Now, don’t tell anybody about that. That’s just between us. Okay?

“Shout for joy.” This isn’t because God is hard of hearing. God hears fine when we whisper. He hears what we’re thinking even if we don’t say it. But when we “shout for joy,” we’re celebrating. We’re being expressive of our thanks to the Lord.

And the concept here of shouting joyfully is like an earsplitting, celebratory fanfare for a king. The King is here! The King is coming! We’re in His presence. We’re entering His presence, and we want to shout for joy.

It’s a word that could be used as a victory cry in battle. It’s the same word that’s used in the book of Joshua when he commanded the people to shout outside the city of Jericho, and the walls fell down.

Sometimes I wonder what walls of discouragement, depression, fear, anxiety, anger would crumble as we “shout to the Lord,” as we express joyfully our celebration of who He is.

The Hebrew word here actually means “to split the ear with sound, to cry out." It’s a cheering. Sometimes it’s a war cry.

And let me say this: Shouting out to the Lord says to me that this isn’t something that’s just for those who have great musical abilities . . . “sing to the Lord,” but those of us who can only croak or creak or slit the ear with a sound. We can join in praise and thanksgiving as well. And I’m so glad for that.

You see this concept all through the Psalms. Psalm 66, “Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!” (v. 1).

Psalm 81, “Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!” (v. 1).

Psalm 98, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, [or the harp] with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!” (vv. 4–6).

And then, continuing in Psalm 98, even nature is called to join in this great symphony of praise. “Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord” (vv. 7–8).

Well, I think you can see that there is nothing subdued or halfhearted or lackadaisical about this kind of praise. Praise is not a quiet game. Now, it can be quiet at times, but at times, it needs to be warm, hot-hearted, enthusiastic, passionate, expressive, exuberant.

And let me say, this is not always easy for those of us who are more introverted. I put myself in that category. So your shouting joyfully to the Lord may sound a little different than someone who is a really outgoing extrovert, but you know in your heart if there is praise welling up, rising up to the Lord.

Since getting married to Robert Wolgemuth, I have become Cubs fan. Yes, I now know that’s baseball. And I’m learning a little bit about the game. We love listening to games or following the scores on a Cubs’ app we have on our iPhones. As you listen to that, you can hear the fans in Wrigley field all the way on the other side of the Lake. They’re loud. They celebrate. I mean, you can tell what’s happening. Even if you’re not watching it, you can hear it because of the fans shouting out joyfully.

Which makes me wonder: Why is it okay for tens of thousands of fans to shout for joy when a batter hits the ball way out of the park, but some of us, some of our churches, are chronically stone-faced and silent when it comes to corporate worship, to praising the Lord?

You see, the kind of thanksgiving we’re talking about here sometimes involves shouting, singing, gladness, noise. Not just something we feel or think inwardly. It needs expression.

Thanksgiving is not a spectator sport. It’s not us sitting on the sidelines. It’s us actively participating.

Now, this kind of praise, this kind of thanksgiving, can’t be manufactured. It can’t be manipulated. It’s a work of grace. It’s a work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. But it is our passionate response to our God when we see who He is and what He has done, and our hearts well up and overflow in praise and gratitude and sometimes in outbursts of praise.

So our worship is to be joyful and expressive. But secondly, I see in this very first verse that worship is to be universal. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth”—all the earth.

You see, praise and thanksgiving is not just for God’s covenant people. Now, certainly those of us who know Him and belong to Him should lead the way in praise and thanksgiving. We should show the earth what wholehearted worship looks like.

But in this passage and others throughout Scripture, all people everywhere are commanded to bring their praise to the King of kings. That’s because He deserves the praise of every creature in the universe. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” And I have to say that outside my house, we have geese and ducks and swans and all kinds of creatures that have breath that are praising the Lord. I know that that’s what they’re doing. “All the earth make a joyful noise to the Lord.”

“He is the Lord of all the earth,” Psalm 97:5 tells us. He’s not just the God of the Jews. He’s not some tribal deity. “The Jews have their God. The Moabites have their god. The Ammonites have their god.” No! Jehovah reigns over all the earth. He is the God above all gods, and He has poured out His blessing, lavished His common grace on all the earth.

He has created everything that lives. We owe our lives to Him. That means He is to be praised, and every person, in every corner of this world, from every religion owes praise to Jehovah, whether they realize it or not.

Now, that means that every false god must be renounced and forsaken, and worship must be given to God and God alone. For, as Psalm 96 tells us, “For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord [Jehovah] made the heavens” (v. 5).

And even those false gods are commanded to praise the true God. Psalm 97, verse 7: “Worship him, all you gods!” (Lower-case “g”)

Now, we’re to take the gospel to all the earth so that as people come to know Him, they, too, will join this great chorus of praise and thanksgiving.

I love this quote by Charles Spurgeon. He says, “Never will the world be in its proper condition until with one unanimous shout it adores the only God.”

So the solution to our world’s problems is not for us just to say, “Oh, we have lots of gods; we have lots of religions. We’ll all just tolerate each other, enjoy each other, let everybody have their way.” Now, we’re to be kind. We’re to love people of all faiths, but never will this world be in the condition it was intended to be “until one unanimous shout it adores the only God.”

We anticipate by faith that day when “every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” We look forward to that day, not only on earth but in heaven and in the new heaven and the new earth when “a great multitude from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”

That’s what we’re moving toward. That’s what we’re living for. When we praise the Lord here with shouts of joy, with celebration, with expressiveness coming from our hearts to His throne, we are having a dress rehearsal, a practice for what we will spend an eternity doing in heaven around the throne.

So our praise is to be joyful and expressive. It is to be universal. And then, finally, we are to worship Him with glad-hearted service. We worship Him with glad-hearted service.

Verse 2, “Serve the Lord with gladness!”

Now, the word for worship and for service in the Old Testament Hebrew are the same. Worship and service are intermingled. They’re closely connected. You can’t separate one from the other. To worship God is to serve Him. To serve Him is to worship Him. And that’s why some of your translations say, “Worship Him,” and some say, “Serve Him.” “Serve the Lord, worship Him with gladness.

Now, conversely, to serve other gods, other things, other loves, other affections is to worship them. And our private and our corporate worship is one way we say, “Lord, we serve You. We acknowledge that You alone are our Master, our Lord. We serve You. We worship You with gladness.”

Notice that we’re not to worship Him grudgingly, or with gloomy hearts. “Gotta go to church this morning. Yep. If I don’t, everybody will notice. I’d sure rather sleep in today. There’s lots of things I could do around the house today. Oh, I’ve got this work project. I just wish I could skip church and work on that.” We’re not to worship Him grudgingly.

We’re not to worship Him with gloomy hearts. “Oh, what a tough week it’s been. I’m so sad.” Now, listen, there are sad times. There are tough weeks. There are hard things. There are busy times. But God’s Word tells people that even in harvest times, even in difficult times, even in times of suffering, they are to worship Him, not grudgingly, not gloomily, but gladly, cheerfully because worship is a privilege.

This verse, “Serve the Lord with gladness,” is one that comes back to me over and over again, especially as I’m preparing for recording sessions or working on book deadlines, and it’s just like I’m in the labor room day after day, night after night, late nights, weekends, holidays sometimes, when there are other things I’d rather be doing. I can just start to be really uptight and gloomy about what it’s costing me to serve the Lord. And I come back to this verse, “Serve the Lord with gladness.”

He wants my glad service. He wants your glad service. Whether what you’re doing seems major and significant, or it seems minor and insignificant—running the laundry, running the dishes, caring for your family—doing that same task day after day after day and at work, “Serve the Lord.” It’s the Lord God you serve. Not serving man; serving God. “Serve the Lord with gladness.” It’s a privilege.

God told His people in Deuteronomy chapter 28, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything” (v. 48).

“Serve the Lord with gladness,” or you’ll find yourself being a servant to oppression and depression and discouragement.

Now, sometimes our hearts are heavy. Sometimes we’re burdened and anxious and concerned and troubled because there are troubling things happening in our world and in our little worlds. There are lots of troubling things. But Jesus said to His disciples, as He was about to leave them and go back to heaven, John 14:1, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”

You see, you get centered on God, and your whole world looks different.

Philippians 4, “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (vv. 5–6).

Rejoice in the Lord! You see, our worship, our praise expresses faith that God is more real than our circumstances, that heaven rules, that God is good and wise and kind in all His ways.

This psalm reflects a God-centered life, a God-obsessed life, a God-drenched life. This Psalm 100 has just eighty-one words in the English, and out of those eighty-one words, twenty percent of them, one in every five are either the word Lord or God or He or Him, pronouns related to God. Every fifth word is God or pronoun related to God. That should tell us something.

And in this kind of praise and thanksgiving, we realize that nothing else really matters at all. So sickness and loss and tears and difficult relationships, strained family relationships, heartaches, pain, grief, sorrow, they’re real while we’re here on this earth, but they are all eclipsed by a bigger, grander, greater, all-encompassing vision of God. And seeing Him, there is still every reason for joy, no matter what may be going on in my life.

So, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!”

And tomorrow we’ll talk about what it means to “Come into His presence with singing!”

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been inviting you to make Thanksgiving more than just a day on the calendar. Psalm 100 invites you to be in God’s presence with a heart of thanksgiving. Nancy’s walking us through that passage in a series called, “Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving.”

This series will come and go, but you can make it an opportunity to make thanksgiving a habit for the rest of your life. We’d like to send you a booklet called, “30 Days of Choosing Gratitude.”

Thirty days is long enough to establish a habit, and this booklet will give you ideas for developing gratitude day by day for thirty days.

We’ll send you the booklet, “Thirty Days of Choosing Gratitude,” when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size.

To give by phone, call 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. We’ll send one booklet per household for your donation of any size.

Do you ever find yourself spectating during the worship time at church? Tomorrow Nancy will encourage you to get more involved.

Nancy: We’re not the audience, and we’re sitting there or standing there, waiting to be entertained. We’re supposed to be active participants, and God is the audience.

Leslie: Please be back tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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