Day 8: Thursday, 14 March
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 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.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures for ever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
This psalm is an explosion of praise. In just a few lines it covers themes of joy, worship, ownership, thanksgiving, praise, and God’s everlasting goodness. It would have been used in processional worship, sung as the procession moved into the courts of the Temple itself.
It, too, is also used in morning worship. The traditional words ‘O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands’ may miss the emphasis slightly. We are not called to be joyful but to shout out for joy, to be so agitated by joy that the earth has to hear it.
The whole earth is called to rejoice –but following verses claim the special covenant relationship that God has with his people, Israel. Verse 3 reveals God’s ownership of this covenant nation, a truth that is repeated in the one verse.
The sight of a procession of priests and musicians moving into the Temple courts must have been something to behold. The music would have been loud, the singing strong. A CofE procession might not quite match the colour, the dynamism, the noise and the dancing (very likely) of the procession to the Temple. The tone of the psalm would suggest that dignified solemnity did not play a major part in the proceedings.
We, too, are called to come into our places of worship with joy and proclamation. It might be the done thing for people who have entered into a church to sit down and say a quiet prayer. That tradition, and I am not criticising it, does not appear to have its origins in Psalm 100, which stands into eternity as a model for our corporate, rather than personal, worship.
The last verse expresses God’s eternal goodness, love and faithfulness. These qualities come as part of the special covenant relationship He has with his people. Goodness, love and faithfulness are attributes of a God who seeks to give of himself for his people’s benefit. Today we can be recipients of God’s great love in his gift of Jesus Christ to all who receive him.
What can we learn from Nehemiah 12 about processions?
How can your church foster a sense of joy as you enter your place of worship or as the act of worship begins?
How has God shown his goodness, love and faithfulness to you? Who have you shared this with?
Father God, through the Word I am your creation, and I am yours. Teach me how to live under your covering. Show me how You desire a joyful, glad, praising and thankful people coming together to worship you for your everlasting love. Amen.
A worshipful rendition
You can do it, too!
A gentle gospel rendition
The Old Hundredth
Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version (Anglicised Edition) Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica (formerly International Bible Society). Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, a Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. "NIV" is a registered trademark of Biblica – UK trademark number 1448790.