Dr. Frank W.R. Benoit
Psalm 100 – “Thanking God for who He is and what He does”
Introduction – Thanksgiving is a biblical act. In both the OT and NT, believers are called upon to thank God for who He is and what He has done. The holiday is especially American, although it is also celebrated in Canada (about one month earlier) and several other countries in the world. Yet in no other country has it acquired the deep-rooted impact on society like here in the U.S.A. That is due to the strong biblical foundation of our country and the long tradition of celebrating that began with the first Pilgrims in the 17th cent., decreed by Pres. Washington in 1787 and Pres. Lincoln in 1863, by Congress shortly after the Civil War, and finally declared the 4th Thursday of Nov. by Pres. Roosevelt in 1941.
Psalm 100 – A Psalm for Thanksgiving
- A call to worshipful Service (vss. 1-3):
- The call is imperative/required/obligatory. There are four imperatives in these verses: “Shout”, “Serve”, “Come” and “Know”. Imperatives are commands; they aren’t optional but obligatory for those who are under the authority of the one giving the command. “Joyful” is mentioned twice.
- There are three reasons given and all revolve around who the LORD is in His sovereignty: He is God, He is our Maker/Creator and He is Caretaker over us/cares for us as His people/sheep.
Application: Really recognizing who God is means joyfully serving Him, just as Jesus Christ came to serve and not be served.
- A call to praiseful thanksgiving (vss. 4-5):
- The call is imperative again, with three commands, although the first is an double command, thus the total would be four: “Enter His gates with…and [enter] His courts with”, “Give thanks” and “Bless”. “Thanksgiving” is mentioned twice and Jesus thanked God continuously.
- Again, there are three reasons given for thanking/praising God and they revolve around what the LORD does: He is good, His loyal love and His faithfulness are permanent.
Application: Really recognizing what God does means thanking Him for it, just as Jesus Christ thanked Him for everything so many times.
Conclusion – The Bible teaches that thanksgiving – being grateful to God and expressing to Him that gratitude for who He is and what He does – is an expected response from those who have really trusted in God for everything in this life and into eternity. The festive celebration of Thanksgiving should not overshadow the real reason for the holiday for every follower of Jesus Christ and they should imitate Jesus’ acts of thanksgiving by serving God and their neighbor.