Theme: “We Are His People”
In this week’s lessons we are reminded of the many reasons for which to thank God.
Scripture: Psalm 100:1-5
A point we need to notice about verse 3 is the implication of the words “he…made us.” If it is really God who has made us, not ourselves, and if we are his because he made us, then we are his to do with as seems best to him.
Has he given us days of unusual prosperity? If so, it has pleased him to do it; we must be thankful to him for being the good and generous God he is. Has he given us days of troublesome trials or sorrow? If this is the case, we must thank him for that, knowing that he is wise and gracious even in allowing such hard times. The Apostle Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:11-13). Paul was in prison when he wrote that, but the letter in which it occurs, the letter to the Philippians, is literally overflowing with thanksgiving.
There is one more important point in this verse, in the phrase “we are his.” It is that regardless of what may happen to us, we are still his. Troubles may come; sooner or later they will inevitably come. But it is no matter. We are his. Sickness may come. We are his. We may lose our job. We are his. Suppose death should come into our immediate family? We are still his, and we will always be his. God the Father said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you…” (Heb. 13:5). Likewise, Jesus said, “Surely I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20). The Apostle Paul said he was convinced that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38, 39).
The third part of the psalm is an invitation to thank God, and once again there are three strong imperatives: “enter,” “give thanks” and “praise.” Earlier I emphasized that our thanks to God should be expressed by what we do for others. But when we get to verse 4 the emphasis is clearly upon the gathering of God’s people to the temple to thank and praise God together. It teaches that there is a special aspect of thanksgiving that involves the whole people of God together and not just the private prayers of individuals.
This is what we should expect, of course. For when God called us to Christ he did not call us in isolation, but to be his elect people together, participating in a common heritage. This means that those among whom, for whom and with whom we should give thanks are other believers. Moreover, we should exercise responsibility toward these others by encouraging a thankful response in them toward God. I can imagine that this psalm was often used as an invitation from one Jewish worshiper to another to come to the holy city or to the temple to thank God for his benefits.
How do we thank God? One way is by inviting others to join us in the thanksgiving. We can ask others to go to church with us. I notice that the psalm begins this way: “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth” (v. 1). It is an invitation to all the people of all the world to praise God.
Why is it significant to know that Paul was in prison when he wrote Philippians?
What is the logical conclusion to the truth that God made us? How does this change how you live?
How does the emphasis of how we express thanks shift in verse 4?
Reflection: Is your daily response to God like Paul’s? What can you thank God for during hardships?
Key Point: There is a special aspect of thanksgiving that involves the whole people of God together and not just the private prayers of individuals.