We continue our exploration of Psalm 100. I am planning a very special worship service based on the Psalm on 6 May for the Thames Valley churches of Christ. To make sure that it’s focused in the right way, I’m devoting a good deal of time and energy to studying, praying through and meditating on Psalm 100. I’m writing these blogs to help me with this, but also to get your feedback and thoughts.
Last time we took a birds-eye view of the Psalm looking at its major themes. Today we will begin breaking the Psalm down verse by verse.
Psalm 100:1 “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.”
The best known hymn based on this Psalm is, “All people that on earth do dwell”. But there is another by that famous hymn writer Isaac Watts. The first two verses connect with the global call to praise:
Sing to the Lord with joyful voice,
Let every land his name adore;
The British isles shall send the noise
Across the ocean to the shore.
Nations, attend before his throne
With solemn fear, with sacred joy;
Know that the Lord is God alone;
He can create and he destroy.
Let’s break this down into the three primary phrases of Psalm 100 v1.
1. Shout for joy
The Hebrew word translated “shout for joy” is ‘rua’. It means to raise a battle cry, sound a trumpet blast, or shout in triumph. We are not offering a moderate expression of joy. We are expressing an almost uncontained and definitely unconstrained exclamation.
Because there is joy, there is a shout.
Is energy missing in our prayers because life is tough? Or is it because we have misplaced the source of our joy?
Is there less volume in our corporate worship because we don’t like the songs? Or have we lost connection with the one about whom the songs are written?
When our joy goes missing, it’s time to reconnect with the Lord.
2. To the Lord
Is the Lord our primary source of joy? Is he the one on whom our hopes rest?
My broadband gives me faster download speeds than upload speeds. This causes me frustration when I upload large files. But it makes sense because I am even more frustrated when trying to watch something online and the dreaded buffering fills my screen.
I do well to be more concerned about what I’m ‘downloading’ from God, rather than what I am ‘uploading’ to him. If I’m downloading the right stuff then I will have what I need to upload.
The shout of joy is offered to the Lord. There is a big difference between praying to hear my own words as opposed to praying to the Lord.
3. All the earth
What does, “all the earth” mean? Is the Psalmist hoping that all people will shout to the Lord? Or is it an even bigger vision than this? Is it that all of creation will praise Yahweh? The Psalm immediately before this one gives us some ideas.
In Psalm 99 the nations “tremble” (v1) because the Lord reigns. The Lord is “exalted above all the nations” (v2).
The vision of Psalm 100 is that the nations who tremble will recognise the exalted nature of the Lord. And they will come to worship him with gladness.
Do we have the same vision in our prayers? Do our times of corporate worship contain a strong sense of vision that the good news is not only for us? Is it not also for all around us and all who inhabit this globe?
Let us pray for our family, friends, neighbours and nations who are far from God.
Today, and this week, why not explore shouting to the Lord because of the joy he has given you. Pray not only that you can enjoy this joy, but that the whole earth will share in your ability to rejoice. Focus your prayers on the Lord more than on yourself.
We will continue to explore the Psalm between now and 6 May. Pray over it, meditate on it. Let it sink into the mind and the heart.
What gets in the way of shouting for joy to the Lord? What helps you to be exuberant in your praise of God?
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