Monday, August 2, 2010

Psalm 100 – An Invitation into God’s Faithful Presence

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.”

~Psalm 100:1-2 (NIV).

Spectacularly basic is this psalm in proclaiming the Lord is God—the only God. And it only needs five quite simply constructed verses to say it.

Sometimes when we’re in the crassest of joys we do the same thing; so thrilled we are, so ecstatic, we leap for joy and don’t realise, and aren’t underwhelmed by, our simplicity. In other words, we don’t look for more... we don’t look the gift horse in the mouth as is our custom.

An Introductory Hymn

The simplicity of the hymnal praise in this psalm has our hearts alighting into the practice of worship—we’re quickly into stride. This is its purpose.

As we slide into the frame of worship we notice particularly that no other god and no idolatry is in sight—there is a real purity of essence in the Subject of worship, not object.

A Psalm Lauding Radical Monotheism

James L. Mays says,

“The two great mottoes of radical monotheism are: ‘I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other gods before me’ and ‘Whatever is, is good.’ The second can be said because the source of all things and the power by which they exist is good... Psalm 100 is a hymnic expression of these two great mottoes as praise. It creates a worship that knows who God is and why he is praised.”[1]

We worship a jealous God. This simply means that God knows only too well what is good for us and what is bad; any diluting of our praise and worship is a vast sin for this is the very agency of the devil—to distract us from our worship of God. Satan doesn’t care what else we worship so long as it’s not God. And we should know that God-worship is monotheistic; the Lord is the one and only God. We worship no one or nothing else.

This is why psalms like this one are so critically important in their simplicity. We’re loath to pass over them for something more theologically appealing or ‘interesting’.

God alone is good, as are the creatures God makes (“the sheep of his pasture” [v. 3c]) and, “his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (verse 5).

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

[1] James L. Mays, Psalms – Interpretation Series (Louisville, Kentucky: John Knox Press, 1994), p. 320.

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