Serve The Lord With Gladness
Psalm 100 is frequently quoted and often memorized. While many of the psalms call us to praise God and contain beautiful expressions of thanksgiving, this is the only psalm that is specifically designated “A Psalm of Praise.”
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: Come before his presence with singing. (vv.1-2)
To make a joyful noise to the Lord literally rendered means to joyfully shout his praises. This would certainly indicate that those who are praising him are delighted that he is the Lord of glory and rules and reigns on high. C.H. Spurgeon wrote: “Our happy God should be worshiped by happy people; a cheerful spirit is in keeping with his nature, his acts, and the gratitude which we should cherish for his mercies.”
All Ye Lands
God’s greatness and goodness is seen in all lands, so all are called upon to praise him. “All ye lands” comes from the same Hebrew phrase which is translated “all the earth” in Psalm 98:4. As fallen, sinful creatures it is impossible for us to fully fathom the glory of God, but the scriptures continually remind us of his glory. Psalm 29:3 describes him as the God of glory. Psalm 138:5 tells us his glory is great. And Psalm 104:31 declares his glory endures forever. There is a vivid contrast between the true and living God and the idols men have made. Psalm 115:4 says, “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.” And then verse 3 gives the contrast, “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”
Our God is sovereign, he works his will, and none can thwart his purposes. Surely there is reason to shout his praises.
The call to praise the Lord recorded in Psalm 148 is remarkable. Not only has all the earth been called on to praise but the list of those things made by God which are to praise him is extensive. Look at it. It begins with angels, continues with the sun, moon, and stars and goes on to speak of the heavens of heavens and the waters above the heavens. As if that were not enough the list goes on: praise the Lord from the earth, dragons and all deeps, fire, hail, snow, vapor, stormy wind, mountains, all hills, fruitful trees, all cedars, beasts, all cattle, creeping things, and flying fowl. And the list concludes with people in all stations of life: kings, all people, princes, all judges, young men and maidens, old men and children. What is the call? “Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth” (13). And then the last verse of the last psalm says, “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord” (150:6). Someone might say, “Well, I don’t believe in God.” But that does not except them from accountability. God the sovereign creator declares that all his creation should praise him and the day will come when all will have to acknowledge him. Speaking of Jesus Christ by whom the world was created we read: “God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”(Philippians 2:9-11).
The fact is, God is good to all the inhabitants of the earth and so all should give him thanks.
Psalm 145:9 says, “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”There are those who never speak the name of God except as a form of profanity. There are multitudes who fail to give thanks for his daily mercies and some who even curse God to his face. But isn’t it amazing that God still allows these people to live on the earth that he made and sustains, and enables them to receive benefits from the sun he causes to rise and the rain he sends in its season? In his national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1789, President George Washington established a day for public thanksgiving and prayer for the newly formed United States of America, based on this evident truth:
“It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly I implore his protection and favor.”
Serve with Gladness
Psalm 100 puts an emphasis on joy. You are to make a joyful noise in praising God, you are to serve with gladness and to come before him with singing. Thomas Watson wrote: “It is a sign the oil of grace hath been poured into the heart ‘when the oil of gladness’ shines on the countenance. Cheerfulness credits religion.”
How is it with you? Are you serving the Lord with gladness? Do you have a thankful heart and praise him with joy?
When the burdens of life are heavy it is easy to slip into a complaining spirit. If your conversation constantly focuses on a declining economy, or corruption in government, or your personal problems, it would be difficult for anyone to believe you are rejoicing in the Lord. The apostle Paul admonishes us to rejoice: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice”(Philippians 4:4). Circumstances are constantly changing but the Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever.
You will have the same reason to rejoice tomorrow as you do today because the source of your joy is the Lord.
The apostle knew what it was to suffer. He was beaten for the testimony of the gospel, he was imprisoned; but still he rejoiced because he believed God was at work and accomplishing his purposes even when he could not understand the unfolding of providence. The psalmist tells us that one of the ways we express our joy is to come before the Lord with singing. Not only can singing be a form of worship, it can enrich the lives of those who sing. “Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”(Colossians 3:16). What a joy it can be when the church meets and we sing hymns of praise! The pressures of life may be great, it may be the burdens you carry are very heavy, but then you join in singing:
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love, Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, Hail Thee as the sun above. All Thy works with joy surround Thee, Earth and Heav’n reflect Thy rays, Stars and angels sing around Thee, Center of unbroken praise.
Your mind is taken off you troubles and yourself and focused on the God of glory. Singing is not an option; it is something we are commanded to do. Whether we are singing with the congregation at church or singing in our home, we are to be rendering joyful praises unto our God.