When we are in Jerusalem, I love to visit the Southern Steps. My mind wanders and I think about the crowds of Jewish people traveling up to Jerusalem for worship at the Temple. During the trip, their conversations were filled with excitement to arrive in Jerusalem once again (or the expectation for their first visit). Some would have told stories of previous feasts and all would have sung songs of praise to God (Psalms of Ascent – Ps. 120-134) as they walked along the dusty, rocky trails.
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! ~ Psalm 100: 1, 2
Consider these action phrases:
- Make a joyful noise (shout with joy)
- Serve with gladness (obey Him gladly)
- Come into His presence with singing (Sing to the Lord)
How am I practicing these acts of worship in my own personal life? As I have pondered over this for several days, I feel convicted – shouts of joy, glad service, 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” ~Psalm 100:3
The Lord is our Creator and we are His people. The original readers would have resonated with the picture of sheep in the pasture. He is our good shepherd and we can trust Him. He will care for us and He will never leave us.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!” ~Psalm 100:4
This fourth verse brings our focus to the Southern Steps at the Temple. When you climb these steps, they are different widths – some deep, some shallow. The worshipers could not approach the gates of the Temple with reckless abandon but rather they would climb the steps with a thoughtful attitude. The verse calls us to offer thanks and praise to the Lord as we come before Him.
A thankful spirit takes focus and practice. We begin teaching children to say, “thank you” at a very young age. Our grandson, Levi, was celebrating his fifth birthday and I had sent his gifts to their home in South Carolina. We usually include clothes as well as some toys and he was very excited to open his presents. However, this particular year, the family had started their first garden – digging, preparing the plot, and adding new plants. So, I got the idea to send him garden tools for his birthday gifts instead of toys. I thought it would be special for him to have his own tools when they worked together in the garden. But, Levi was very disappointed that he did not receive any toys in his birthday box! Our wonderful daughter-in-law corrected him and explained that he needed to be thankful for each of his gifts. Note: This grandmother felt terrible! I had obviously bombed with that “creative gift” idea.
This story causes me to pause and ask myself, “How many times has God offered me one of His good gifts and I wasn’t thankful because it wasn’t a “toy” (the gift I thought would be the best for me at the time)? Then, I pout and I complain, rather than taking time to offer thanksgiving and praise to God because He is the giver of good gifts.
“For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.” ~Psalm 100:5
The Lord is always good! He is always loving and kind. His faithfulness goes on and on to all generations.
I would like to encourage you to read Psalm 100 several times. Then, ask God to show you where you might make adjustments in your personal time of worship, thanksgiving, and praise.
Just to be real with each of you, here are some of my heart’s confessions to the Lord:
- Forgive me for being haphazard
- Forgive me for not being mindful of who You are
- Forgive me for being lackadaisical in my worship of You
- Forgive me for living in a willful, independent, and prideful manner – forgetting that You are my Creator
- Forgive me for my lack of joy in daily living
- Forgive me for serving with a poor attitude and a grudge
- Forgive me when I forget to sing
- Forgive me for complaining about the gifts You have given
Below is the link to a song – Psalm 100 by Chris Tomlin