Serving with Gladness

Serving with Gladness

Psalm 100

Somewhere back in my youth I committed this five verse Psalm to memory.  Let’s say it together this morning:

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come into His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Isn’t that a great Psalm?  Notice the many actions of worship:  Shout! Serve!  Come! Know! Enter! Give Thanks!

This Psalm has a binary form:  Verses 1-3 and Verses 4-5.  Each begins with exuberant expressions of worship and conclude with why we do this.

The first set of expressions are joy, gladness and singing; the second expressions are thanksgiving, praise and blessing.

The conclusion of the first is because God is our maker and we are His people!  The conclusion of the second is because God is good, eternally merciful, and forever true.

All attention of worship is upward to God: serving God, praising God, thanking God, Knowing God, Coming before God.

This is a beautiful worship Psalm, calling on all the earth to join in the song.  The Spirit of this Psalm is found over and over again especially toward the end of the book, but earlier too.  Look with me at Psalm 34:1-3.  This Psalm begins with the psalmist sharing his own praise but then inviting everyone else to join in.  It’s contagious.  Listen to it and let the voice of God’s word enter your mind and heart.

I will bless the Lord at all times!  His name shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.  Oh, magnify the Lord with me!  Let us exalt His name together!

It’s good to worship God.  It is good to worship God when you are alone.  But worship is supposed to spread.  Our worship is also to impact others to join us in praise to God.  Biblical worship invites others in!  It spreads out and gathers up and awakens the souls of those that hear us.  Don’t you know that Satan would love to silence the praises of God’s people?  Don’t you see how this is happening in our dark world?  God’s worship is to be shouted out!  Joyfully proclaimed!  Declared in our singing and thanksgivings!  Not just in our church buildings, but always on our lips.  Why?  Because God made us to do so!  And God is good!  He is merciful!  His love and truth are eternal! 

But what if others don’t want to hear it?  What if it offends some?  What if it looks like we are just wanting attention for ourselves?  O give me a break!  These are not the thoughts of God, but of men!  Get behind me Satan! 

God is angered by us when we let the fear of ANYTHING take the place of the fear and reverence due to Him.  God’s wrath comes upon those who do not love His eternal truth.  God will punish all those who know not God and obey not the gospel. 

Praise Him you His people!  Declare that His name is holy!  Do not listen to those voices that resist His worship and mock His word. 

(Read Psalm 33:1-18) 

And what is that nation whose God is the Lord?  Is it not His church!  His chosen people, His royal priesthood, His holy nation, the people belonging to God?  And what is our purpose?  What are we called to do?  “That you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light!” 

Ok.  Here’s the practical point of this message.  Who do you know who needs to be praising God?  Who do you know who needs to serve the Lord with gladness?  Do you want a practical sermon to help you where your hurting?  Do you want a message to bless your marriage, or strengthen your family?  Do you need a lesson that will instruct you in handling debt?  I say this is the starting place!  There’s nothing more foundational a word from God to let the afflicted hear and rejoice.  There’s no word of God more needful for strengthening our homes than this one.  When we get things right with God, it’s amazing what else gets fixed.  And hear me out… if you look for fixes and put hope in those things that do not start with God, you’ll be worse off.

Our mission begins here.  Upward.  Looking to the one with ALL THE ANSWERS.  Seeking the kingdom of God and finding our hope in Him. Fixing our eyes on the prize.  Learning to rejoice in the Lord always.  Not just rejoicing when all is going good, rejoicing always.  Giving thanks in all circumstances.  Not just when I like what’s happening.  But in EVERYTHING GIVING THANKS.  Will God jump in and fix everything?  Will He bless your mess and clean up your disasters? I say He will do better than that!  He will make all things work for the good of those who are called according to His purposes!  He will be with you through the flames and through the torrential floods.  If you praise God in the midst of your struggles, and hold His hand in your pain, you’ll find more strength than this world can ever offer.  It may not be what you want, but it will be what He knows you need.  And, whether you like it or not, He knows what you need more than you do.