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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
Psalms 100

 

 

Verses 1-5

INTRODUCTION

This Psalm completes the series of Royal Psalms, and "may be regarded as the Doxology which closes the strain. We find lingering in it notes of the same great harmony. It breathes the same gladness; it is filled with the same hope, that all nations shall bow down before Jehovah, and confess that He is God."—Perowne.

Of all the Psalms in the collection this rises to the highest pitch of gladness; it breathes the broadest spirit of charity, and expresses the highest mood of devout joy. On the ground of our common humanity as the children of the one Creator-Father, all men are summoned to the exultant worship of the Lord.

The superscription to the Psalm is מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה, "A Psalm of praise." Luther: ‘A Psalm of thanksgiving." Perowne: "A Psalm for the thank-offering." … "To denote that the Psalm was to be sung during the offering of thank-offerings."

A PSALM OF UNIVERSAL PRAISE

We have here—

I. The reasone of praise to the Lord. These are of two classes—

1. Because of what He is in Himself. "The Lord He is God," is the grand reason. The gods of the nations were idols, vanities, nonentities. Jehovah is God, supremely great, supremely good; the self-existent, the fountain of being and well-being, the infinitely perfect and ever-blessed God. Therefore He should be praised. It is right and seemly that mental and moral greatness should be reverenced, that goodness should be loved, &c. But the Poet states some particulars of His character.

(1.) He is good. "The Lord is good." "He is benevolent."—Barnes. "Gracious, kind."—Perowne. "The word never means kind; and this sense is expressly excluded here by the circumstance that it is not only the mercy of the Lord; but also His faithfulness towards those who have received His promises, that appears here as the expression of His goodness. For the last two propositions are merely the development of the first."—Hengstenberg. Fuerst gives the primary meaning of טוֹב, as καλός, pulcher, beautiful. It seems to us that the Poet intends to include in this word "good" all the meanings given above. The Lord is gracious and righteous, just and merciful, faithful and almighty. Infinite perfection and beauty are His. "To say that God is in Himself a compacted universe of sweetnesses, beauties, and splendours, is to speak very unworthily, for endless universes lie hidden in the bosom of the Infinite nature. The heavens must improve, and the creatures must mature, in wisdom and holiness, yet for ages of ages, before they will be capable of reflecting the higher, not to say the highest, beauties of ‘the Father of lights.' Beauty is the robe of holiness: the more holiness the more beauty. To all eternity we can imagine the first and loveliest of all God's creatures praying: ‘Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.'" A being of such spiritual excellence should receive the heartiest, holiest praise of all creatures.

(2.) He is merciful. "His mercy is everlasting." This is included in His goodness. God's goodness in forgiving offenders and relieving sufferers we denominate His mercy. God's mercy is His goodness in relation to sinners. This mercy is everlasting. The glorious results of it will be enjoyed for ever. Being sinners we should praise Him for His mercy.

(3.) He is faithful. "His truth endureth to all generations." He is true in Himself. "A God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is He." He is true in His dealings with others. He fulfils all His promises. And He will be true for ever. No changes, however great, can produce any change in Him. Here then we have another reason for praise.

2. Because of what He is in relation to others. "He hath made us, and not we ourselves," &c.

(1) He made us His people. He is our Creator. He called us into being. But the Psalmist means more than that, as will be seen if we read the verse without the words interpolated by the translators: "He hath made us, and not we ourselves, His people." Not merely has He created us, but He has made us what we are, viz., His people. "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works."

(2) He shepherds us as His people. "The sheep of His pasture." "The Lord is my shepherd." As a shepherd He rules, guides, protects, and provides for His people. It is theirs to trust, follow, and obey Him. (See outlines on Psa ; Psa 80:1.) Here we have most sufficient reasons for praise. He has made us what we are; and He will not forget the work of His own hands, or forsake His people. He knows us intimately, and cares for us, and provides for us, as the shepherd for his sheep. And He is supremely good, and merciful, and true; and He is so through all ages and through all changes. Surely then it becomes us to praise Him with glad and grateful hearts.

II. The extent of praise to the Lord. "All ye lands." Literally, as in the margin: "All the earth." Not simply the Jew, but all people. The Lord is the Creator and Sustainer of all men; the bountiful Benefactor of all men; therefore all should praise Him. He is the Redeemer of all men. "He died for all;" therefore by all should His praise be celebrated. The glorious day draws near when.

"Earth, with her ten thousand tongues,

Shall fill His courts with sounding praise."

III. The character of praise to the Lord. It should be—

1. Joyous. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord." Hengstenberg: "Shout for joy to the Lord." Perowne: "‘Shout aloud unto Jehovah:' used of the welcome given to a king who enters his capital, or takes possession of the throne, as in Psa ; Psa 66:1." "Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His presence with singing." Our worship of the Lord should be cheerful and songful, the utterance of rejoicing hearts. He is honoured by our joyous praise. "Cheerfulness credits religion."

2. Grateful. "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name." The previous verse contains abundant reasons for grateful praise. And in this verse all nations are invited to share in those glorious privileges. "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all His benefits."

3. Practical. "Serve the Lord with gladness." "By serving Him here we are not to understand merely the worship of God." We serve Him by loyally obeying His commands, &c. Such service we should render spontaneously, heartily, joyously. "Thy statutes have been my song," &c.

CONCLUSION.—"The great lesson of the Psalm is this," says Mr. S. Cox, "Be unselfish and catholic towards man, trustful and reverent towards God, and pure, deep, religious joy will be yours."

THE SIN AND FOLLY OF BEING UNHAPPY

(Psa )

"Serve the Lord with gladness."

Let us consider the sin and folly of being unhappy, especially of rendering unhappy service to God. His yoke is easy, and His burden light.

I. God is happy. He is the blessed God, in whom are the fountains of all gladness. Hence that expression, "the joy of God," is one denoting the joy that is in God, even more than the joy He gives. Christ was a man of sorrows during His earthly life, because He was bearing our sins. But He sorrowed that we might not sorrow, but rejoice. He served the Father in sorrow, that we might serve Him with gladness.

II. The angels are happy. They are the blessed angels. They only know what sorrow is by seeing it in us when they come to minister to us. They drink always of the rivers of pleasures, which are at the right hand of God. Sometimes their joy rises higher, as when they shouted for joy over the new-made world, or as when they are called on to join in the joy of God over one sinner that repenteth. They serve the Lord with gladness.

III. Forgiven men are happy. This is David's testimony: "Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven." These are a twofold class—

(1) those who have departed and are with Christ;

(2) those who are still here. Of that latter section of redeemed men we say they are happy, though imperfect, because they are forgiven. They are in an evil world, and have much evil within them—many trials, sore warfare, great feebleness,—yet they are happy. Why? Because forgiven. The favour of God rests on them. They know it, and find that in His favour is life. Being forgiven, and knowing this, they serve the Lord with gladness.

It would appear, then, not only that there is happiness in heaven with God and the holy angels, but that there is happiness here on earth, and that we may be partakers of it. The basis and the beginning of that happiness must be the forgiveness of sins and the favour of God. These are attainable; they are presented, to us as free gifts; we are besought to accept them; we cannot reject them without sinning. Let me notice then—

I. We can only be unhappy by refusing pardon. The pardon is provided, and it is preached to the sons of men—

(1) It is a free pardon;

(2) a righteous pardon;

(3) a present pardon;

(4) a comprehensive pardon, covering all sin;

(5) it is to be had in what God has told us about the propitiation of His Son.… Then must not the absence of this pardon be the fruit of our own rejection of it; and not God's sovereignty or unwillingness? We are unhappy, not simply because we are sinful and foolish, but because we are resolutely indulging in the sin and folly of rejecting God's gift, and so of refusing to be happy.

II. We can only be unhappy by refusing Christ. It is not Christ refusing us (He never did so), but it is our refusing Christ, that Keeps us unhappy. He is God's free gift to us; a gift which we are not merely at liberty to accept, but which we refuse at our peril. Persistence in the rejection of Christ is the true cause of all the unhappiness of earth.

III. We can only be unhappy by determining not to turn. God says, "Turn ye, turn ye; why will ye die?" turn and live. It is vain for us to throw the blame off ourselves, and say, "I want to turn, but I cannot, and God will not help me." This is not true. "I am most willing to be converted, but God will not convert me," is just as if the drunkard were to say, "I am most willing to give up drinking, but God will not help me to be sober;" or the swearer, "I am most anxious to cease swearing, but I cannot, and God will not give me the power." Whatever, then, the solemn truth of God's sovereignty may be (and He would not be God were He not Sovereign), it is not that sovereignty that is hindering you from turning, but your own determination not to do so. Your not turning is the cause of your unhappiness; you cannot be happy till you turn.

In like manner it is with all of us. We might be always happy, were we always receiving the gifts which Christ presents to us; crediting the Divine testimony as to the sufficiency of the great sacrifice, and the freeness of the great love.

Unhappiness thus is wilful. "Ye will not come to Me." It profiteth nothing. It does not liberate, or strengthen, or sanctify, or comfort. To be unhappy is our folly and our sin. When happy, no toil is irksome, no trouble or annoyance is felt. Be happy then in God, &c.—H. Bonar, D.D.—Abridged from "Light and Truth."

THE ETERNAL TRUTH OF GOD

(Psa , last clause)

I. God is true.

He is true in His very nature. There is no deceit, falsehood, nor error in the essential nature of God. Whatever makes men untruthful, nothing of the kind can operate with God.

He is true to His nature. We are not always true to ourselves. I have known a generous man who, in a pet, has acted very ungenerously. But the Lord is always true to Himself.

He is true in action. He has been true to the making of the eternal covenant.

He has been true to all His purposes. Whatever God resolved to do He has done. "Hath He said it, and shall He not do it?"

He is true to His promises. There is not a promise which God has made, but what either He has kept it, or else, being dated for the future, He will keep it when the time appointed comes.

He is true to all His published Word, which He has made known to us in Holy Scripture.

He is true in every relation that He sustains. As a King, a Judge, a Father, a Friend, et al.

He is true to every man, to every woman, in the world.

II. God is true in all generations.

He has been true in the past. The whole of history, sacred and profane, goes to prove that.

He is true still—true to-night.

He will be true.

Since God is true, ye children of God, why do ye mistrust Him? Ye sinners, why do you belie Him by your unbelief?—C. H. Spurgeon.—Abridged.

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Psalms 100:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/psalms-100.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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