We continue our exploration of Psalm 100 by moving on to verse 2. As mentioned in previous blogs, I am planning a very special service based on the Psalm. To make sure that it’s focused in the right way, I’m devoting 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.
“Worship the Lord with gladness;
Come before him with joyful songs.”
(Psalm 100:2 NIV11)
The New Bible Commentary (IVP) sees this verse as intimately connected with verse 1. We have three invitations in these two verses: to shout, worship and come.
We dealt with “shout” last time. Today we will consider the invitations to “worship” and “come”.
1. Worship the Lord with gladness
To worship is to serve. Some translations have the word “serve” here. As Warren Wiersbe said, “Joyful noise leads to joyful service”.* Why are we glad in God’s service? Because, just as the Israelites were liberated from their slavery in Egypt, we…
“…have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” (Romans 6:18 NIV11)
Hence, we delight to offer ourselves in worshipful service,
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1 NIV11)
Are you grumpy about serving God? Perhaps you have forgotten God’s mercy. Are you moody when joining your brothers and sisters in corporate worship? Perhaps a prayer for renewed gladness would be appropriate before entering the building. Resist the temptation to be like the older brother who found little about which to be glad and refused to join in the gladness of his younger brother and his father (Luke 15:32).
Refresh yourself with the correct vision of the future. We have much to be glad about:
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7 NIV11)
2. Come before him with joyful songs
We are invited into the very presence of God. The word translated “before him” is the Hebrew word ‘paneh’. It means ‘before’ and ‘face’. In other words, we are coming face to face with God.
That’s a wonderful invitation for us. All the more so for an Israelite, who knew he could not see God’s face and live (Ex 33.20). Although no one may literally see God’s face in this life, God is signalling his desire that we would know him personally. And he is signalling his vision that one day this will be the case.
What could be more appropriate, when coming face-to-face with God, than to sing joyful songs? One of the ways we serve God is by coming together to worship him in song.
The implication of the “joyful songs” is that we sing with confidence. Not confidence in our musical ability, but singing without hesitation. We do not hesitate in singing to God because we are confident in his mercy to us and, as we shall see in verse three, confidence in our acceptance as God’s people.
Today, and this week, why not explore serving God with gladness? Take some time to reflect on how lucky we are to be able to come face-to-face with him. Make it your intention to sing joyfully the next time you participate in corporate worship.
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 serving the Lord with gladness? What helps you to be joyful in your singing?
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
* “Prayer, Praise and Promises”, Baker Books, p250