Learning to be Grateful
“A Psalm For Giving Thanks” (Psalm 100)
The Psalms are a special collection of poetry, songs and prayers that were likely used as part of regular worship that the ancient Jews practiced at the Temple, in the synagogue and at home. The Psalms today continue to be an important “hymnbook” for our Jewish friends and Christians worldwide. Psalm 100 has this simple heading: “A Psalm For Giving Thanks”. Right now with so much of the world in turmoil from a health pandemic, economic pandemic and cultural pandemic, Psalm 100 draws us consider a biblical response to the very real spiritual pandemic before us. The question is: Will we trust God and find ways to give thanks in the middle of our very real tumultuous lives? I would encourage you to continue to rely on the Psalms as you journey through this season.
The Gospels use the Psalms to describe Jesus’ role in this world as King, Messiah, Son of God and Lord. Jesus and the disciples sang the Psalms at the Last Supper (Matt. 26:20). Paul depended on the Psalms to understand Jesus as God’s Messiah (Rom. 15:9). The early Christians sang the psalms as a regular part of their worship (Eph. 5:18; 1 Cor. 14:26).
And so the psalms teach us not to ignore the pain of our lives but at the same time, Biblical faith is forward-looking—looking to the promise of God's future Messianic Kingdom. The Psalms embrace both Torah and Messiah, lament and praise, faith and hope. The Psalms will root us in the reality of hope right in the midst of our circumstances. That’s why memorizing Psalm 1 is such a great way to lean into the entire Psalter: “Blessed is the man…[whose] delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.”
As we journey through the Psalms we will see time and time again the Psalms drawing us back to God. This God who created us in love and for love and who has wired us to flourish as we deepen our relationship with Him. We owe Him everything so let’s give attention to the very songs that Jesus sung and the same prayers that Jesus prayed. Just as Jesus was able to joyfully move toward the cross (Hebrews 12:2) may we learn to gladly face the trials of our present with anticipation for a renewed world because of His Spirit that lives within me, flows through the Church and touches lives in our community.
Living Out the Word of God
I invited you to memorize Psalm 1 as we began our journey in the Psalms. Take some time now to review that Scripture and try reciting it from memory this week. Use Psalm 1 as your opening prayer to God as you lay in bed, prepare breakfast, go for a walk and even before your write an email! Perhaps use Psalm 100 as well to remind you to being your day with gladness, singing and praise!
Thank You that you know my circumstances and have not abandoned me. I will praise You in faith that one day I will see clearly Your faithfulness to me now. Holy Spirit help me to choose gratitude even though I cannot see You working at times. Help me to meditate deeply on the reality that because I belong to You, I have nothing and no one to fear. In life and in death, I belong to You. Lead me to sing Your praises today because of this truth. Use me to be a blessing to others. Amen.