The Song of Thanksgiving

Bible Book: Psalms  100 : 1-5
Subject: Thanksgiving; Joy; Praise

Psalm 100:5, “A Psalm for Thanksgiving. Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. 3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations.” NAS

Back in the late 70's and the early 80's, gasoline prices skyrocketed. Many of the major manufacturers put a diesel engine in their cars. I had an Oldsmobile with one of those diesel engines and for a long time I would get 30 miles to the gallon driving this larger car. Every once in a while someone would say to me, "Don't you hate that noise that the diesel engine makes?" And I would answer, "That noise is repeating over and over save money, save money, save money. Just listen to that knocking noise and hear it say 'save money.'" Right now I would like for you to take your pulse. Get your finger on your pulse and then listen to this poem,

“Thou hast given so much to me,

Give one thing more--a grateful heart.

Not thankful when it pleases me,

As if Thy blessings had spare days,

But such a heart, whose pulse may be Thy praise.” George Herbert --James S. Hewett, Illustrations p. 265.

Thanksgiving Day in America is unique in that it began as truly a Christian holiday. The concept of "giving thanks" comes directly from the commands of scripture. Psalm 100 teaches us some things about being thankful.

I. We Can Give Thanks for the Commands of Thanksgiving

Verses 1-2

Verse 1, “A Psalm for Thanksgiving. Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.”

A. The Command to Shouting Joyfully Verse 1a

"Shout joyfully to the Lord, . . . "

Strong points out that ruwa` (roo-ah'), is a primitive root; to mar (especially by breaking); figuratively, to split the ears (with sound),

OT -7321 ruwa` -- Brown Driver and Briggs

1) to shout, to raise a sound, to cry out, to give a blast

2) to sound a signal for war or a march

5) to shout (with religious impulse)

(from The Online Bible Thayer's Greek Lexicon and Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, Copyright (c)1993, Woodside Bible

How many of you have ever shouted unto the Lord? I want you to hold your hand up. Has there ever been a time in your life when you have shouted out a praise unto the Lord? I see several hands but I do not see everybody's hand. I want you to note that this word in verse 1 'shout joyfully unto the Lord' is a command. So right now I want you to think if you have shouted or were going to shout unto the Lord some praise or word of praise, what would it be? Would it be 'Glory to God!' Praise God! Thank you Lord. Dear Jesus I love You. What would be the words of praise that you would cry out? Now, I'm going to count to three and on the count of three, I want everybody to shout unto the Lord at the same time. Are you ready with your praise? One, two, three. I want you now to be careful to tell everybody this week that their was a lot of shouting at the Baptist Church. Specifically tell your Pentecostal friends.

B. The Command to Service Verse 2a

"Serve the LORD with gladness; . . . "

Strongs O T – 5647 - `abad (aw-bad'); a primitive root; to work (in any sense); by implication, to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.:

Brown Driver Briggs OT:5647 bad --

1) to labor, to work, to do work

2) to work for another, to serve another by labor

3) to serve as subjects 4) to serve (God)

Have you ever thought about your service unto the Lord being a way of saying Thank You? Whatever your place of service, whatever it is that you might be able to do and however God has gifted you, I want you to think about that place of service as a way of saying Thank You unto the Lord. This morning, in the early service, those who normally take care of the sound system were not here. We need another person to say, I could be a substitute. I could be involved in knowing how to operate the sound system as a place of service. And if you have that ability, it would simply be a way of you saying Thank You unto the Lord. However you serve, wherever you have an ability, when you serve you are giving thanks unto the Lord.

A sacrifice of praise will always cost you something. It will be a difficult thing to do. It requires trading in our pride, our anger, and most valued of all, our human logic. We will be compelled to voice our words of praise firmly and precisely, even as our logic screams that God has no idea what he's doing. Most of the verses written about praise in God's Word were penned by men and women who faced crushing heartaches, injustice, treachery, slander, and scores of other intolerable situations. Joni Eareckson Tada

C. The Command to Sing Joyfully Verse 2b

“. . . Come before Him with joyful singing."

Strongs OT -7445 - renanah (ren-aw-naw'); from OT:7442; a shout (for joy): Brown Driver and Briggs OT -7442 - ranan

1) to overcome; (Hithpolel) to be overcome

a) to cry out, to shout for joy, to give a ringing cry

b) to cry aloud (in summons, exhortation of wisdom)

c) (Pual) ringing cry, singing out (passive)

d) (Hiphil) to cause to ring or to sing out (for joy)

"Sing Joyfully." This verse says come before Him with joyful singing. Now I have asked Brother Phil if he knows of anywhere in the Bible where it says for us to sing beautifully or to sing with an excellent voice and he has said that he does not know of any place like that. I do not recall a place where the Bible says you are to sing beautifully unto the Lord. The word is always something like this: Come before Him with joyful singing. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Sing loudly. This kind of thing. And so the quality of our voice is not what is important. What is important is that we sing unto the Lord as a means of us giving thanks unto our God.

“Make of our hearts a field to raise your praise.” Luci Shaw (1928- ) “The fetus of praise grows deep in my spirit.” Eugene Peterson

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.

II. We Can Give Thanks for the Comprehension of Thanksgiving

Verse 3, “Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

My grandson, Steven, likes cars. His dad, as a boy, had a collection of cars. That collection of cars was passed down to his son, Brandon, and now it has been passed down to Steven. But in addition to that, every time Steven goes shopping or if you ask him what kind of a gift he wants, he wants a car. The other day he must have had most of his cars out on the floor in his room when his dad came in. He said, "Steven, I see a mess." Steven looked at his dad kind of quizzical and said, "I see cars." You see, there is a tremendous difference in how we comprehend certain events. I want you to notice that we are to comprehend our world and in so doing, give thanks unto the Lord.

A. The Comprehension of His Control Verse 3a

"Know that the LORD Himself is God; . . . "

Strongs OT -3045 yada` (yaw-dah'); a primitive root; to know (properly, to ascertain by seeing);

Brown Driver and Briggs OT - 3045 yada` -- to know

a) to know, to learn to know

b) to perceive , e) to know by experience

There is a comprehension of His control. Notice that the verse says, "Know that the Lord, Himself, is God." This talks about a knowledge that you and I would have. A comprehending type of knowledge. Something that we have seen, we perceive, we understand, we fully comprehend. Presidential candidate Allen Keys has said, on a number of occasions, he said, "There's two things that I want to make very clear. One is that there is a God and number two, you are not it. Well, this is an emphasis on knowledge and what we can know and what we can comprehend about God but to comprehend God's control. That God is in His Holy Temple that He is One who has everything in control and you and I may not understand it. We may not fully comprehend it, but in our comprehension we need to come to the place that we know that God is in control.

It is remarkable how much you have to know before you realize how little you know. James S. Hewett, Illustrations p. 316.

A college education never hurt anybody who was willing to learn after he got it.

B. The Comprehension of His Creation Verse 3b

“. . . It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; . . . "

Strongs OT - 6213

`asah (aw-saw'); a primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application (as follows)

Brown Driver and Briggs OT - 6213

`asah -- 1) to do, to fashion, to accomplish, to make to do, to work, to make, to produce

The scripture says, "It is He who has made us and not we ourselves." Isn't it a relief to know that God is behind creation. You know, we can look around our world and we think what if we were in control. What if God gave control to certain people and you can readily see how that would make things in a big mess. Aren't there times in your life when you just say Thank You Lord that You are in control? And as we do this, we recognize that it is He who made us and not we ourselves it is a very peaceful feeling that comes over us. To know that He is the Creator, give thanks as you comprehend His creation.

C. The Comprehension of His Custody Verse 3c

". . .We are His people and the sheep of His pasture."

Strongs OT - 4830

mir` iyth (meer-eeth'); from OT:7462 in the sense of feeding; pasturage; concretely, a flock: KJV-flock, pasture.

Brown Driver and Briggs OT - 7462 ra`ah -

1) to pasture, to tend, to graze, to feed

a) to shepherd

b) used of a ruler, used of a teacher (figurative) c) used of people as a flock (figurative)

Scripture says, "we are His people and the sheep of His pasture." Have you ever thought about the world in which you circulate in as being the pasture of the Lord? We are His sheep and that we are allowed to circulate in that particular pasture. It would be very helpful for us to understand that we are under God's control. He has created us and we are under His custody.

This week Bob Elam and I took the opportunity to go to McDonald's and try to talk to people with a religious survey. And one couple that we talked with they were persons who lived in Jefferson City. They had gone down to Poplar Bluff to check out some job opportunities. They stopped on their way back to Jefferson City in Mountain View's McDonalds to get something to eat. Now just think about the significance of this, Bob and I sense a leading of the Lord to go to McDonald's and just talk to people as we can; these people just happened to be there and you see what I'm getting at, the custody of the Lord.

The Lord was watching over us in talking to these people. The husband was a Christian and the wife was not, and we gave a tract to her and gave her a further witness. And hopefully, in the days to come, she will trust the Lord as her Savior. But we recognize, we comprehended, that we are under His custody.

Fulton Oursler tells of his old nurse, who was born a slave on the eastern shore of Maryland and who attended the birth of his mother and his own birth. She taught him the greatest lesson in giving thanks and finding contentment. "I remember her as she sat at the kitchen table in our house; the hard, old, brown hands folded across her starched apron, the glistening eyes, and the husky old whispering voice, saying, “Much obliged, Lord, for my vittles.”

“Anna,” I asked, “what's a vittle?”

“It's what I've got to eat and drink, that's vittles.”

I said, “But you'd get your vittles whether you thanked the Lord or not.”

“Sure,” she said, “but it makes everything taste better to be thankful.'" James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited p. 265.

III. We Can Give Thanks for the Correlation of Thanksgiving

Verse 4, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.”

A. The Correlation of Public Praise Verse 4a

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, . . . "

Strongs OT - 8179 - sha` ar (shah'-ar); from OT:8176 in its original sense; an opening, i.e. door or gate: KJV-city, door, gate, port (X -er).

Brown Driver and Briggs OT - 8179 sha`ar -

b) a gate (used of the space inside agate, that is, the marketplace, a public meeting place); a city, a town

The phrase of scripture says, "Enter His gates with thanksgiving." This means as you come into the place of worship, the public place of worship, you come with the idea of giving thanks. And give thanks for everything that takes place in the worship service as long as it is to the glory of God. As long as a person lifts up their voice or lifts up their hand, or does anything in the realm of giving public praise to God, you and I should be thankful for it and give our thanks that very way, in public praise.

B. The Correlation of Personal Praise Verse 4b

". . . And His courts with praise. "

Strongs OT - 2691

chatser (khaw-tsare') (masculine and feminine); from OT:2690 in its original sense; a yard (as enclosed by a fence);

Brown Driver and Briggs OT - 2691 chatser (masculine and feminine)

1) a court, an enclosure

The second phrase of verse four is, "and His courts with praise." This is personal praise. This is talking about after you are in the house of God, there is a section where you are there by yourself and to consider yourself to be in the midst of public worship but nevertheless, alone in your personal praise unto the Lord.

When I went to seminary, I had already pastored for ten years. When I went to seminary, I did not pastor immediately and I would go to church and found myself deciding that many times after walking out of church that my worship experience was too much affected by what other people did.

In the context of Baptist worship, it is very true that we center our worship on the singing and the preaching but suppose the preaching is not very good and that the singing is not very good. Does that mean that you and I walk away and we say, well, the worship service wasn't very good today?. No, it is to say that those things can add to our worship experience but whether the preaching is good or the singing is good, we ought to walk away saying it was good to be in God's House because I entered with thanksgiving and I continued in my personal praise and my personal praise to the Lord was that which blessed my soul.

C. The Correlation of The Privilege of Praise Verse 4c

". . . Give thanks to Him; bless His name. "

The last part of verse four says, "Give thanks to Him, bless His Name." You see, we have the opportunity of simply giving thanks, a privilege. And as we correlate public and private worship to think about it being the privilege of praise. The privilege of giving thanks unto the Lord.

Five or six years ago I visited a church in Connecticut. In the middle of the eucharistic liturgy, when the whole congregation was kneeling and singing the "Alleluia," I saw a woman near me with her hands lifted in praise. The thing was, those hands were terribly twisted and gnarled, and she had a pair of crutches near her. Dear Christ, I thought, what makes Christians sing "Alleluia"? Clearly there was something besides self-interest welling up from that woman in the act of praise. James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 17.

IV. We Can Give Thanks for the Characteristics Of Thanksgiving

Verse 5, “For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations.”

A. The Characteristic of The Lord's Goodness Verse 5a

"For the Lord is good; . . . "

The characteristics of the Lord's goodness. In the first part of verse five it says, "for the Lord is good." We can give thanks for this characteristic of our God, He is good. It does not matter what happens to me, what kind of circumstances come my way. It does not alter this unalterable fact, this eternal fact, that God is good.

When I had bypass surgery as a young man of forty-six years of age, I called my daughters to my bedside and I said, "I want you to know the possibility of death through this surgery is a reality but I want you to know that your daddy has said this very clearly to you that regardless of what happens it does not alter this fact that God is good. He has given us good times and good years together and if He chooses to ends those times, you remember, God is good." We can give thanks for the goodness of God.

B. The Characteristic of The Lord's Mercy Verse 5b

". . . His lovingkindness is everlasting, . . . "

The scripture says, "His loving kindness is ever lasting." Not only is His goodness everlasting, but His kindness is ever lasting. Sometimes we will look at a situation and say that doesn't seem good or kind but we are looking at it without the proper comprehension. We're looking at the characteristic of God's kindness and we need to look at it with an eternal view and an eternal prospective. And as we look at these things that have happened to us that are rather unpleasant, we know that in eternity they will look entirely different and we will see this ever lasting quality of the Lord's kindness.

C. The Characteristic of The Lord's Truthfulness Verse 5c

". . . And His faithfulness to all generations."

The Lord's faithfulness is declared. The last part of verse five says, "He's faithful to all generations." Recently I got an email from a man who was telling everyone that he was a third generation Southern Baptist. It was almost like he was saying you ought to really pay attention to me because I've been a Southern Baptist through three generations. You know something, I had never thought about this before but I'm at least a fourth generation Southern Baptist.

If you go to the Overland Baptist Church in St. Louis, MO, you will find a prayer garden dedicated to my great-grandfather, Bill Christopher. If you go to the St. Ann Baptist Church a St. Louis, suburb you will see a picture of my grandfather, James Christopher, as he was one of the pastors. If you go to Tower Grove Baptist Church in St. Louis, you'll find out my mother was a Bible teacher there for over forty years. And so I am a Southern Baptist of four generations. I want you to know that through this time, I can say that God has proven Himself to be faithful to all generations. To all generations He is faithful. We can give thanks when we consider the characteristics of our God.


"A poor but pious woman called upon two elegant young ladies who, regardless of her poverty, invited her to sit down with them in the drawing room and entered into conversation with her on religious subjects. While thus occupied, their brother, a dashing youth, by chance entered and appeared astonished to see his sisters so comfortable with the woman. One of them instantly exclaimed, 'Brother, don't be surprised! This is a king's daughter, though she has not yet put on her fine clothes.'" - Pioneer - Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)