This psalm is simply titled A Psalm of Thanksgiving, and it is the only psalm in the collection to bear this title. It speaks of an invitation to the whole earth to know and to worship God. “It is jubilant with confidence for the whole earth, as it contemplates the glory of that earth, when all its people are submitted to the reign of Jehovah.” (G. Campbell Morgan)
A. The what and why of giving praise.
1. (1-2) What to do: Praise God.
Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
a. Make a joyful shout to the LORD: Unlike the several previous psalms, Psalm 100 does not begin with a declaration of God’s sovereignty or character. It begins with the simple and direct exhortation to all you lands to praise God with a joyful shout. This is a call to the nations, extending far beyond Israel’s borders.
i. A joyful shout: “The original word signifies a glad shout, such as loyal subjects give when their king appears among them. Our happy God should be worshipped by a happy people; a cheerful spirit is in keeping with his nature, his acts, and the gratitude which we should cherish for his mercies.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “The joyful noise is…the equivalent in worship to the homage-shout or fanfare to a king.” (Kidner)
iii. All you lands: “The nations must recognize who the Lord is. He is Yahweh, by whose grace and blessings his people exist. The nations too are invited to sing hymns to the Lord and to worship him.” (VanGemeren)
b. Serve the LORD with gladness: The whole earth is invited to serve the LORD. The psalmist likely had in mind the service of worship or temple rituals, but the principle applies to any service directed to God. Those who serve the LORD should do it with gladness.
i. Serve the LORD with gladness: “It is your privilege and duty to be happy in your religious worship. The religion of the true God is intended to remove human misery, and to make mankind happy. He whom the religion of Christ has not made happy does not understand that religion, or does not make a proper use of it.” (Clarke)
ii. “As for the true believer in Jesus, he serves his God because he loves to serve him; he assembles with the great congregation because it is his delight to worship the Most High.” (Spurgeon)
c. Come before His presence with singing: As in many places in the psalms, praise is expressed in song. Singing is not the only way to praise God, but it is the chief way to praise Him.
2. (3) Why to do it: He is our Creator and Shepherd.
Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
a. Know that the LORD, He is God: The praise that comes to God from His people and all lands should be mindful. We have many reasons to worship Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel, and the reasons begin with the recognition that He is God.
i. “To know is to have firm ground underfoot, the prerequisite of praise (cf. 40:2f.), and this knowledge is ours by gift; indeed by command.” (Kidner)
ii. Know that the LORD, He is God: “Be convinced of it, ye heathens, whose fantasies have forged false gods.” (Trapp)
b. It is He who has made us: The next reason to worship God is in appropriate recognition of His work as Creator. The idea that we could make ourselves is absurd, and we should worship the One who has made us.
i. “The sense of God’s proprietorship is the true basis of our consecration. We must realize His rights over us before we can freely give Him His due. Those rights are manifold in their sweet reasonableness; but amongst them all, this of creation is one of the chief. God has a right to us because He has made us.” (Meyer)
ii. “Of course, if we do not need God as our Creator, then we do not need to be thankful. Why should we? We got here by ourselves, thank you. We have no one but ourselves to thank.” (Boice)
iii. Under the New Covenant, the believer has a second and greater reason for praise: he or she is a new creation in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
iv. And not we ourselves: “Therefore we owe him homage and service, and him only, and not other gods, who made us not.” (Poole)
v. “For our part, we find it far more easy to believe that the Lord made us than that we were developed by a long chain of natural selections from floating atoms which fashioned themselves.” (Spurgeon)
vi. “Some men live as if they made themselves; they call themselves ‘self-made men,’ and they adore their supposed creators.” (Spurgeon)
c. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture: The third reason to worship God is because He has chosen a people (originally the Jewish people, then added the followers of Jesus Christ), and He cares for us as the sheep of His pasture.
B. The what and why of giving thanks.
1. (4) What to do: Come to His house with thanks and praise.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
a. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving: Now the psalmist pictures the people of God from all you lands (Psalm 100:1) entering through the gates and into the courts of the temple. As God’s people approach, we should do so with thanksgiving, recognizing how much God has done for us.
i. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving: “Publicly worship God; and when ye come to the house of prayer, be thankful that you have such a privilege; and when you enter his courts, praise him for the permission.” (Clarke)
ii. “It teaches that there is a special aspect of thanksgiving that involves the whole people of God together and not just the private prayers of individuals.” (Boice)
b. Into His courts with praise: Thanks and praise merge together, as God’s people are thankful and bless His name.
i. “It is as though the gates of the City, the courts of the Sanctuary, were suddenly thrown open, and all lands are called to serve Jehovah, to know that He is God, to enter into relationship with Him.” (Morgan)
ii. Under the New Covenant, not only are the gates and courts open, but even the way to the Holy of Holies is thrown open (Hebrews 10:19).
2. (5) Why to do it: God is good and merciful.
For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
a. For the LORD is good: Thanks and praise are right in recognition of God’s goodness. He is good in His plans, good in His grace, good in His forgiveness, good in His covenant, and good in every aspect of His being.
i. For the LORD is good: “The gods of the heathen were not good. They were selfish and capricious. You could never know when they might turn against you and do you harm. Not so our God. The God of the Bible is and has always been good.” (Boice)
b. His mercy is everlasting: The brief psalm ends with God’s unending mercy and truth. These are everlasting reasons to give thanks and praise to God.
i. “So long as we are receivers of mercy we must be givers of thanks.” (Spurgeon)
ii. “How glorious will be that day which shall behold the everlasting gates of heaven lifting up their heads, and disclosing to view those courts above, into which the children of the resurrection are to enter, there, with angels and archangels, to dwell and sing forevermore!” (Horne)
(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – firstname.lastname@example.org