Updated: Apr 20
Free & Fit - Psalm 100 - A Song of Thanksgiving - A Reflection by Tim Cheux
Psalm 100 Amplified Version
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness and delight; Come before His presence with joyful singing. Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, [a]not we ourselves [and we are His]. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy and lovingkindness are everlasting, His faithfulness [endures] to all generations.
Psalm 100 is a “Song of Thanksgiving”. This brief Form Criticism Exegesis will go through a short analysis of the text and will be based upon a thesis of this Psalm being a “Song of Thanksgiving”. This paper will follow a three-part process suggested to be used by Herman Gunkel. The translation referenced in this text is the New Revised Standard version. Through Gunkel’s method this exegesis will explore how this Psalm creates a passageway, a gateway if you like, of thanksgiving to the Lord and how we, as Christians, should declare his name with Songs, Worship and Thanksgiving.
This Psalm is a Song of Thanksgiving. This is made evident through the Psalmist’s instruction to Worship and Praise the “Lord who is God” (Psalm 100, v3). In verse two it states that we should “Worship the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100, v2) and in verse four “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with Praise. (Psalm 100, v4).” The theme of Thanksgiving remains constant throughout with several references to thanking God for what he has done. This is evident in verse four where the Psalmist states that God’s people should “Give thanks to him, bless his name (Psalm 100, v4).” Through the consistent references to thanksgiving in Worship, Singing, Belonging and Thankfulness the Psalmist provides abundant evidence to establish a clear thesis of Thanksgiving.
The Psalmist provides a clear identity to the two groups in Psalm One Hundred. The Psalmist references the first group as the God to whom the song is to be sung and the second group as the people who should be Singing, Praising and Worshipping God. In verse three it states, firstly, that the “Lord is God”, not that he is just God, but our God. Verse three continues and states that God is he "who made us”, that “we are his (that we belong to him)”, that “we are his people” and that “we are the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100, v3).” The Psalm is upbeat and focused on giving thanks to God, with reference to singing songs of Praise which helps to remind his people of his majesty and awesomeness through the vastness of his creation. The Psalmist defines whom the God of Psalm One Hundred created, the relationship between his people and their God and that God is Worthy to be Praised. Psalm 100 could be written in the setting of a Temple, Synagogue or Religious building. With such emphasis on “Thanksgiving” and “Praise” the song seems to be provided for a House of Worship. Perhaps for the Hebrew Jewish people originally, today the song could be sung in Christian, Jewish or Muslim religious worship houses due to the nature of the Psalms existing across different faith traditions. The nature of the Song appears to be, according to Gunkel, a Song of Thanksgiving or perhaps an individual Song of Thanksgiving. However, due to the context on the Psalm relating to “we” so many times, four in just one verse, it is hard to believe that this would be based on one individual worshipping. The Psalm continuously references joy with references of “Gladness’ and “Singing” in verse two, “Thanksgiving” and “Praise” in verse four describe emotions of joyful worship.
Throughout Psalm One Hundred the Psalmist invites the Worshipping community to Praise God from beginning to end. Verse one “Make a joyful noise to the Lord (Psalm 100, v1)”, this continues throughout the Psalm in verse two “Worship the Lord with gladness come into his presence with singing (Psalm 100, v2),” in verse four the Psalmist states “Give thanks to him, bless his name (Psalm 100, v4)” and verse five which states “for the Lord is good (Psalm 100, v5). This theme of being invited into Praise identifies and suggests perhaps that the Psalmist is a Worship Director writing a hymnal theology of Praise which leads the Worshipping community to “Enter his (God’s) gates with thanksgiving and his courts with Praise (Psalm 100, v4).
On reflection of the Psalm it is evident that the thesis of a “Song of Thanksgiving” has been proven to be continuously consistent throughout the Psalm and it would not be impossible to imagine a heavenly style setting of Harps, Hymns, Songs of Praise and Angels and Archangels gathering to worship God. Almost like a picture of heaven. Simply Beautiful. This would perhaps be how some of us picture heaven, in the clouds, with people singing with a choir, instruments being played and angels flying, worshippers dancing and singing Psalms and Praising the Lord.
It reminds the author of the HTB Leadership Conference at the Royal Albert Hall in London that he attended in 2013 where over one hundred members of the Church choir joined with a worship band to sing and proclaim the Word of God. The words “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah” were being sung, thousands of people were gathering into one place and the name of Jesus was being proclaimed above every other name. The Worship leader was declaring “There is no other name than Jesus name which stands in heaven or on earth and today we sing “You will wear the Victors Crown, you will overcome this virus, every stronghold shall be broken, every virus shall be cured in Jesus name. Amen.”
In conclusion, through the form criticism style of this exegesis and the three part process introduced to the author by Herman Gunkle it has been evident that today Psalm one hundred is a song to be Sung to the Heavens, to give Thanks and Praise to God and to devote ourselves in Worship to him. The Psalm could be considered a teaser or a trailer for heaven and a spotlight of what is yet to come. Throughout the Psalm it is evident the verses are words invited to be sung in Praise and Worship to the Lord and in a religious context. This could be perceived to be, historically, in a Temple or Synagogue and more familiar to us today in a Church or Christian House of Worship. The Psalm is an insightful and promising introduction to Worshipping in the future and provides a window, a gateway or a passageway to heaven above.
Love & Blessings Tim & F&F Team
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