Have you ever seen two drivers coming at a junction from a different direction and each refusing to yield to the other? Perhaps you have been one of those drivers. I’m sure I have! Not a pretty sight. And no one gets anywhere.
Yielding does not have a good image in contemporary society. It is associated with helplessly surrendering one’s liberty, possessions and even one’s life. But is there a more positive way to view yielding, especially when it pertains to our relationship with God?
The concept of yielding in a healthy way is on my mind because I am studying Psalm 100. The purpose of this study is preparation for a special worship service I am planning for May 6. More on that as we approach the date.
Here is the Psalm in its entirety:
“A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
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.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
(Psalms 100:0–5 NIV11)
It is not a long psalm, but it is powerful. It has been called the “Jubilate”, and is often quoted in church services. The famous old hymn, “All people that on earth do dwell” is based on this Psalm. Well worth praying through. The lyrics are below.
There is much to say about this Psalm. Future blog articles will expand on its themes. For today, we will focus on the overall tone of the Psalm. I am guided in this by some comments in the book, “The Psalms and the life of faith” by Walter Breuggemann. He makes the observation that both yielding and covenant are strong themes. Let’s have a look at those.
1. Nothing but yielding
The feel of the Psalm is one of surrender. As Brueggemann says, “In Psalm 100, the summons to praise are utterly yielding to God…There is nothing here but yielding.” p51
The whole earth is to make a joyful noise. We are to serve (worship), come to him, enter his gates, thank him, praise him, bless him.
The scope of the yielding is global. The extent of the yielding is total. The focus of the worship in this Psalm is God, not the worshipper.
Yet it is not a cringing, miserable yielding.
2. Covenant confidence
There is more to say about this Psalm than solely yielding. It is that, within the yielding, there is a relationship. A healthy relationship. The covenant relationship is in view. As is the character of God.
Brueggemann notes: “These invitations [to yield], however, are grounded in a sense of our position vis-à-vis God:…even in this supreme act of yielding, the language of hesed [steadfast love] and emet [faithfulness] is present because Israel knows no other way to sing or to pray.” p52
What is God like? He made us, calls us his own, and gives us what we need (V3). He is good (v5) and will love us for ever (v5). His faithfulness to us will never end (V5).
In this Psalm we see surrender and joy coexisting. A tremendous example from the old Testament are what we see in the relationship between Jesus and the father. We are able to yield to God and enjoy God. This Psalm shows us how.
Why not spend some time meditating on praising and worshipping God in a yielded way and the motivation for doing so.
What helps you to yield to God? What helps you to enjoy that yielding? Which characteristics of God help you to yield?
Please leave a comment here so that we can all learn from one another. We learn best, when we learn in community.
I hope you have a wonderful week of fulfilling quiet times.
God bless, Malcolm
“All people that on earth do dwell”
By: William Kethe, c. 1594; Thomas Ken, 1637–1711 Tune: Old 100th
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.
The Lord, ye know, is God indeed,
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His folk, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.
O enter then His gates with praise,
Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His name always;
For it is seemly so to do.
For why? the Lord our God is good,
His mercy is forever sure:
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Slow Speed, Deep Dive
1. Lyrical Richness
2. Lyrical Repetitiveness
1. Ask questions
3. Stay engaged
1. People Prayer
2. Submissive Prayer
3. Confident Prayer
1. Peace Plant
2. Wholehearted Heart
1. Darkness is temporary
2. Darkness is directional
Drifting and Driving
Warning from Hebrews
- “When I try to control everything”
- “When I get frustrated.”
- “When I stop reading my Bible.”
- “When I avoid people.”
Are any of those familiar? Some of my own signs are:
- Not answering the phone when it rings
- Getting inappropriately angry over trivial things
- Reading the Bible but not feeling it’s message in my heart
- Listen to God – Hebrews 3.7, 15. Read the Bible, but don’t stop there. Pause before leaving. Ask yourself the question, “What was relevant to me from this passage today?” The better question might be to ask God directly, “What are you teaching me today, Father?”
- Listen to Friends – Hebrews 3.12-13 (Prov. 27.6; Gal 4.16; Eph 4.15). We need friends who care. They have insight we do not. They see us from a different angle. Listen to your friends, and pray for the strength to accept the truth they offer.
- Listen to You – James 3.14; 4.8. We are responsible for what is in our hearts. A lot of it is good, but not everything. It’s true that just because we have a clear conscience does not mean we are pure of heart (1 Cor 4.4), which is why we need 1 and 2 above. But you have a conscience for a reason. Listen to it. What is it saying? Guard your own heart by being honest with God and other people.
Structure for Spontaneity
Penny and the Park
Consistency and Intimacy
Jesus and Daniel
- Aspiration. Clarify your aspiration. This is not the ‘goal’. Goals change, but aspirations remain. We’ll never achieve full Christ-likeness in this life, thus we aim to grow, not arrive. Examples of aspirations would be to have the compassion of Christ, the courage of Christ, the faith of Christ. Which particular aspiration is right for you, right now, at this point in your life?
- One. Find the one tool that will move you in the right direction. That tool becomes the focus of your goal. It could be the Bible, prayer, friends, books etc. Choose only one. Life has enough complexity already.
- Action. Now we have an aspiration and a tool we need an action. Make it simple. Include a verb, and make it daily if possible. The action is not the point, but it will move you in the right direction.
- Goal. Your goal is to execute your action connected with your tool in pursuit of your aspiration. What is your goal?
Here is my focus for growth this year:
- My Aspiration: To be like Christ in that he found spiritual food, fuel, and faith from God’s Word. Last year saw significant growth in my prayer life. My Bible focus was OK, but only OK. Not where I think it could be, nor where I want it to be.
- My One Tool: The Bible!
- My Action: To spend the first 30 minutes of my day in Bible study before anything else (other than ablutions, a cup of tea and a five-minute gratitude journal).
- My Goal: To do this every day for 90 days from January first (four days ticked off so far as of 4 Jan 2018).
- To feel close to God and provide me with prayer fuel
- To feel spiritually fed and focussed at the start of the day
- To have integrity as I teach other people
- A daily reminder in OmniFocus
- A tick-list in my Full Focus Planner
- A reminder in the Coach.me app.