(This devotion is day three of a 30-Day Thanksgiving Challenge. Each day includes a daily reading that will be accompanied by a post on this blog.)
Read Psalm 100
What is the proper reaction of creation to its Creator? If God is God, and we live and breathe in His world, provided for and blessed in countless ways, what is a fitting response? And even more significant, if we were God’s enemies under His righteous judgment because of our sin against Him, and yet He out of love and grace redeemed us at the cost of His Son, what should be our posture before God our Father?
Humility. Awe. Gratitude. Surrender. Worship. To name a few things that come to mind.
God’s glory, goodness, and grace should stir our hearts. And yet, I’m guilty of approaching God with apathy, while yawning in boredom or distracted. When I do this, it’s because I’m not considering the majesty, might, and mercy of God. Ritual drives me, or maybe fear or unbelief loom in my mind, but there’s a disconnect between who God is and how I relate to Him when entering His presence does nothing to me or for me.
Psalm 100 celebrates the Kingship of God. God’s rule, domain, protection, benevolence, and care for all under His rule cause the people to rejoice in Him.
I’ve been watching a lot of Disney movies with my daughter, and many of them use imagery of kings, queens, kingdoms, and (most important) princesses. A common scene in these films includes a good king, or some member of the royal family, entering a town and the people feel overwhelmed with the honor and privilege of the visit. They line their streets in celebration and fill the air with cheers. Colorful banners wave and trumpets blow. They rejoice in their king, but also in being citizens of his kingdoms. There’s a shared honor experienced through a connection to such regal royalty.
The Great King
Through these images, we can feel the hoopla and joyful celebration described in Psalm 100. Listen to how the Psalmist talks about approaching God.
Verses 1–2 suggest the royal celebration of cheering and singing. Make a joyful noise to the Lord. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come into His presence with singing.
Verse three hits the pause button to offer us perspective. The Lord is God (and we are not). He made you, and you are His. We are the sheep of His pasture. Recalling creation incites awe of Him and assures us of His care for us. He is the almighty Maker of Heaven and Earth. He flexes His muscles by speaking a word and the wonders of the universe come into being. Let the beauty of His glory and power stun you. Praise Him for it.
But He’s not just above and beyond us as God; He’s also near to us and with us as our God. We belong to Him. We are His. You are His. Like a good shepherd (see Isaiah 40:10–11; Psalm 23 or John 10:1–18), He watches over you, protects you, and provides for you. Like sheep, look to Him. Let His nearness and care humble you. Thank Him.
When we see ourselves as God’s creation, His people, and His sheep, it shouldn’t cause us to fear approaching God. It does not lead to cowering before Him. Verse four tells us it should produce thanksgiving and praise. We enter the prestigious, royal gates of the King’s palace humbly, but not bashfully. With confidence, based on the King’s mercy and grace rather than our worth or esteem, we boldly come into His courts. As we do so, we give thanks and bless His name (100:4).
It astounds me that peasants can approach the King of Kings, and that we can do so like welcomed and wanted children. He even invites us to draw near. The proper posture from grateful citizens—even sons and daughters—is joy and thankfulness.
In our final verse (5), the Psalmist summarizes who God is. What kind of King is He? Why are humility, adoration, trust, and thankfulness fitting responses before Him?
The Lord is good (100:5). This Psalm condenses God’s many admirable attributes down to one description of our King: goodness. It reminds me of the famous line from C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe when Mr. Beaver describes Aslan—the great Lion—by saying, “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” As many churches say in a call-and-response: God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.
The Psalm adds two descriptions of God’s goodness: steadfast love and faithfulness.
His steadfast love endures forever. His unchanging, unceasing love demonstrates His goodness. He’s also faithful. He can be trusted and is true. You can rely on God, knowing He always keeps His Word and promises. He’s never going to leave you or stop being our God and King. He will be faithful forever. It’s part of His goodness.
For all these things, the Psalmist rejoices in God and gives thanks to Him.
When we remember our guilt before God, and yet His grace in forgiving, reconciling, and adopting us, guilt gives way to gratitude. If we think about how God should have treated us as sinners who rebelled against His authority and kingdom, and yet how He does treat us with steadfast love, perfect faithfulness, and overwhelming goodness, our hearts should fill with gratefulness. Our experience of gratitude finds expression when we give thanks.
Read through this Psalm again. Pray it back to God in thanksgiving for who God is and what He’s done for you. Reflect on who God is as God, and what it means to be His people and sheep, and give thanks. Where have you tasted His goodness, love, and faithfulness? Record specific examples to crank the gears of gratitude. There is joy and refreshment here for us in Psalm 100 as we take joy in our King by giving thanks.
 C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1950), 80.