Devotions for Psalm 100: 1-5–Come Worship the Lord
June 5-11, 2017
Monday, June 5, 2017–Come Worship the Lord.
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth” (Psalm 100:1).
At the end of the service, the younger members of the congregation rush to the front. Grabbing maracas, triangles, bells and tambourines, they begin to pound out the beat to the closing song. A majority of the children are not on beat and the rattles and rings of their instruments are certainly not in unison. What they lack in musical ability they more than make up for in enthusiasm. Together with the worship team and members of the congregation, though, they are following the Psalmist’s admonition to “make a joyful noise.” Their joyful noise is a pleasant sound to God’s ears.
The children join with all of creation in making a joyful noise. There’s the haunting call of the loons along with the irritating kaw, kaw of the crows. Joining them is the soothing whisper of pines and the roar of the storm. The laughter of people enjoying life accompanies the cacophony of sound generated by the stars, nebulas and galaxies. Everything in all of creation joins together to make a joyful noise to the Lord in celebration of God’s love and grace.
Every day, we get to join the choir of creation and make our own joyful noise. What song are we going to sing or instrument are we going to play today?
May the noise of our lives and hearts be pleasing to your ears, Lord! Amen.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017–Come Worship the Lord
“Worship the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2).
The Psalmist does not exhort God’s people to worship God when they are glad. His call is to worship God with gladness when we worship. Sometimes that is easier said than done, though. Raul and Ramona’s marriage had hit some hard times. Though they were seeing a counselor, they were not certain that they would be able to save their relationship. They found it difficult to worship God with gladness in the middle of their uncertainty, pain and suffering. Craig sat in the lounge chair at the treatment center. He was cold and lethargic as a cocktail of chemotherapy flowed into his body from the plastic bags above him. Craig had no desire to worship the Lord let alone to do it gladly.
The Psalmist’s call is not conditional. There is always a reason to worship the Lord with gladness. Prayers of thanks might be whispered for counselors or chemotherapy. God’s sustaining presence during trials and tribulations may bring us gladness. The knowledge of God’s steadfast love and the assurance that we will never be separated from that love can spark gladness in the dreariest of times.
Part of worship is turning our attention away from our particular “thorns in the flesh” and focusing on the Lord. When we do that and behold God in all God’s glory, gladness can fill our worship.
Lord, when we behold your glory, our hearts our filled with gladness. Enable us to keep our attention on you. Amen.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017–Come Worship the Lord
“Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us” (Psalm 100:3a).
The glassblower was a master craftsman. Through his gentle, constant breath, he blew life into a glowing glob of glass at the end of a long metal tube. Twisting it and turning it, the glassblower gave the expanding orb form. Patiently he worked with the raw materials until it was a work of art and a thing of beauty. Once his work had cooled, the craftsman displayed his work proudly to the group of spectators that surrounded him. The glass took its place among other unique works by the glassblower.
We are not mass produced imports made by workers who are paid far below a suitable wage. No, indeed! We are works of art, made by a master craftsman. Though we may be similar, we are each unique and possess a beauty of our own. Like all craftsmen, the Lord is proud of God’s handiwork and feels a special connection to us.
As living works of art, it is important for us to remember that we have been lovingly crafted and that we are not our own. Such an understanding not only gives us an inner assurance of our worth, but also an outward purpose of exhibiting the love and skill of the craftsman who made us.
May our lives, lord, reflect your greatness and honor you. Amen.
Thursday, June 8, 2017–Come Worship the Lord
“We are his people and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3b).
In many of our baptism liturgies, the pastor makes the sign of the cross on the brow of the person being baptized and says, “Child of God you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.” We remind ourselves that God has made us members of God’s family, by making the sign of the cross when we enter the church to worship and when we leave to serve.
It is important to note the collective nature of the Psalmist’s declaration. It is plural and not singular. WE are God’s PEOPLE—not I am God’s Person. It is WE are God’s SHEEP (plural) or flock—not I am God’s sheep. We cannot be a family of one. Thankfully, we not only have God as our parent, but we have a multitude of brothers and sisters in Christ. They are a special family who encourage us in our faith, pray for us when needed, celebrate our victories and shed tears with us in our pain. The fact that we are God’s people and the flock of God’s pasture is another reason why we can give God thanks and praise.
Lord, thank you for the family of people who identify themselves as your people. Sometimes it is difficult to live with them, but our lives would be so much less without them. Amen.
Friday, June 9, 2017–Come Worship the Lord
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving” (Psalm 100:4).
When we were kids, many of us had tree houses or other hideouts. There was only a select group of friends who were able to gain access to these places and we all needed to repeat a secret password. If we didn’t have the correct password, then we didn’t get in.
God’s presence isn’t exclusive and we don’t need a secret password to get in. In fac, the word that comes closest to being a password is announced frequently throughout the Scripture. Even though it is frequently mentioned, we have a tendency as followers of Jesus to forget to use it. All too often we enter through God’s gates with words of complaint. God isn’t providing us with enough and we want more. Our dreams are more elusive than we want them to be, and God’s vision for us takes more effort than we imagined it would. We even include in our complaints that it is too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, and we’re too busy or too bored. We’re never quite satisfied.
God invites us into God’s presence. When we accept God’s invitation, the password we are encouraged to speak is, “Thank you.” Forget the complaints! When we are in God’s presence, it is time to say, “Thank you,” “Alleluia!” “Praise God!” and other such words of acclimation.
We stand in awe of your love and grace. Thank you, Lord. Amen.
Saturday, June 10, 2017–Come Worship the Lord
“For the Lord is good” (Psalm 100:5a).
Martin Luther wrote that a god is anything in which we place our trust and hope. With this in mind, we can survey the multitude of false gods in the world today and realize that they are bad and not good. We place our hope in IRA’s and 403b’s only to have stock market fluctuations and economic upheavals rob us of our comfort and security. We put blood, sweat and tears into our careers only to be laid off because of corporate mergers, or realize at the height of our careers that we have sacrificed family and friends. False gods lie, cheat and steal. They rob us of joy, hope, thankfulness and forgiveness.
There is only one good God. The God of all creation promises that nothing can separate us from God’s love and that God will be with us through thick and thin. The God “I am” is a God of steadfast love, unconditional forgiveness, and overwhelming grace—the Lord of lords and King of kings who is always for us and never against us. The goodness of God is reason to celebrate and to enter into God’s presence with praise and thanksgiving.
Good Lord, turn our hearts from the worship of false gods and empower us to serve only you. Amen.
Sunday, June 11, 2017–Come Worship the Lord
“His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 100:5b)
Gramma Tillie’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren gathered around her. She was the ripe, old age of ninety-eight, and her doctor’s had told her that her days were numbered. Tillie still had a sound mind, though, and a quick wit. With everyone crowded into her bedroom, Tillie opened her well-worn Bible and read Psalm 100 to her family. When she had finished reading, she looked around the room at her thirty-five descendants and said, “I want to tell you that the Lord’s love is steadfast.”
Steadfast Throughout Life
Tillie continued. “The Lord has stayed with me all of my ninety-eight years. God was with me the day I marched off to kindergarten and when I marched across the stage and received my nursing degree. God was with me when several of my classmates decided to harass me and call me names because I was a different color than they were.
The good Lord was with Grampa Ray and me when we were married and God didn’t leave when our first child was still born. God with looking on when each of you was born and has been with you ever since. The love of the Lord was the only thing that got me through the days after Ray had that heart attack and died. Now, as I prepare to journey to a new life I know that my Lord is with me. I know that the words of this Psalm are true, because I have experienced God’s steadfast love. It is forever.
As followers of Jesus, when we look back on our lives, the truth of Psalm 100 is apparent to us, also. God’s steadfast love endures forever. Praise the Lord!
Thank you, Lord, that you have decided to love us and that nothing in all of creation can separate your love from us. Amen.