Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalm 100:4 ESV
A smile lurks at the corners of my eyes when I ponder our opening scripture.
As a child I memorized Psalm 100 in song, an upbeat chorus proclaiming the truths of the verses and then breaking into a refrain. “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, thank you, Jesus…Praise God… Thank you, Jesus…”
I still can’t read the words without inserting them into the tune. I guess there’s something to be said about the power of a melody. After almost 40 years, I can still remember the whole Psalm.
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
Granted, Psalm 100 only has five verses. But when I learned them, I was only six.
Still, just knowing the words won’t do anything for me if I don’t understand them and live by them. So what does Psalm 100 really teach us?
Let’s take a few moments to read it together, pondering its truths. After all, it bears the subtitle A Psalm for Giving Thanks and tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It may help us shift our gratitude in the right direction.
Make a joyful noise 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 made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Oh, how I love the Word of God! My soul yearns for truth and my heart swells when I hear it. Celebrate with me a few of the truths listed here.
- We can know without doubt that the Lord is God
- He made us, and we are His… we belong to Him
- He is good… we needn’t fear or mistrust His intentions for us
- His steadfast love endures… forever
- He is faithful… not just to some, but to all generations
Those are some things worth praising! But now I want to settle in on the truth revealed in verse 4.
- We enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise.
Listen carefully, dear one. You and I need the presence of the Living God. More than anything else we want in life, we want God’s presence—whether we realize it yet or not.
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Psalm 84:2
Beloved, the blessings of God flow through the presence of God. And here’s what Psalm 100:4 proclaims: We enter the presence of God with thanksgiving and praise.
Don’t miss this, dear one. A heart of gratitude and praise toward God ushers us through His gates and into His presence.
Ingratitude, on the other hand, separates us from Him.
You may be thinking, I don’t have much to be thankful for. Perhaps your circumstances seem pretty hopeless and all your hardened heart will allow you to see right now is your lack.
What if choosing gratitude anyway could draw you into His presence and become the catalyst to change your circumstances? What if praising God for the truths we discovered today in Psalm 100 and asking Him to empower you to believe them could even alter your day?
Consider Paul’s command about prayer from Philippians 4:6.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Did you notice that every request we take to God in prayer must be made with thanksgiving? Perhaps it’s because thanksgiving ushers us through His gates and into His courts. But look at the promise given when we approach God that way.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Peace is what you really seek, dear one. A heart at rest. Thanksgiving sets you on that path.
May this Thanksgiving be more than a holiday. May you pass through the gate and encounter the presence of God.