Do me a favor and please read Psalm 100.
Our psalm today is short, punchy, and simple. We are to shout for joy, worship with gladness, and give thanks to God. And why? Because God made us and we are his sheep. And as our Creator and Great Shepherd he loves us with a love that endures through eternity. It literally is THAT simple. We should need no other reason to worship God than those two reasons: Because he is the Creator and our Shepherd.
Psalm 100 comes right off the heels of 5 psalms that are under the banner of “enthronement psalms.” Psalm 95-99 were used and sung to coronate the new king and remind them of not only the place they have as king of Israel but that they must worship the King who is over them. So they would recite and sing those 5 psalms and then sing and celebrate this one. For me personally as I read this psalm there are just numerous songs that come to mind that I grew up singing in church. Songs that would help us open up worship, songs that would encourage us to simply shout for joy, and songs that reminded us of the joy we have now and the eternal joy to come. As sheep of the Great Shepherd we long to be in his presence. And as our Great Shepherd he has promised to bring us to lush meadows and the greenest pastures.
There isn’t a whole lot to this psalm. We only have 5 verses here and a total of 79 words. This isn’t the shortest psalm out there (that belongs to Psalm 117) but by my findings it looks like this psalm is #5 on the ranking of shortest psalms. Does this mean anything? Not really but I am challenged by its shortness and encouragement of praise.
I appreciate how this psalm closes up the enthronement psalms. What a beautiful reminder to those that have been put in a high position, such as king, to understand that while they have this power over the people there is still one who has even more power than they – and OVER them. And as such they, as king, must bow down to him. What this also does, as an enthronement psalm, is remind those in power that they must give thanks to the one they serve AND REMEMBER that they serve HIM and not themselves.
As I type those very words I’m wondering just how beautiful this world would be if all men and women in power acknowledged the Lord as their King and served as such. Think of the hope we would have. Think of the love we would feel. Think about the goodness that could be done if all the men and women in power all around the world acknowledged, served, loved, and lived out their positions of power with God on their hearts! I don’t think the world would be perfect (we need Christ to return first in order for that to happen) and obviously there would still be many things wrong due to sin and brokenness – but think of how the many hands and feet, hearts and minds that would come together to love, serve, encourage, and build up other people. Think of the wars that would be stopped, the nuclear arms that would be dismantled, and the starving people that could be fed.
But you and I know this will not happen. We can speak of “free-will” and we can reflect on “sin” but in the end the Lord created the way he created and we, humanity as a whole, fell from that loving desire. So there is sin, brokenness, and self-loving power all over the place that still would run amok. We know this not only because of what we see and read today and our current leaders that proclaim to be Christian but also leaders and kings of long ago that sang this very song and had this very hope! David sang this psalm and believed in God and probably heard this text and yet he was a broken king. And he isn’t alone. All the kings before him and all the kings after him: broken. They did good…they did bad. It’s the reality of the sinful world we live in.
But this isn’t just a psalm for kings – this is a psalm for all people. We all “lead” and interact with others just as we all are sheep of the Great Shepherd. So we need to swing wide this net of worship to not only include kings, not only include presidents, governors, senators, judges, and other people of power – but you and I too. Maybe that’s why this psalm is so short? Maybe we ALL need a simple and basic reminder and encouragement to sing of our hope and joy and thanks to God. Maybe we complicate things too easily and thus keeping it simple and to the point is where we need to begin. Maybe even though this is the capstone to the enthronement psalms meant for kings…but maybe praise, joyful songs, hope, and peace – and singing them needs to start with you and me.