It is time to praise our Lord! Far too often, we find ourselves only giving thanks and praising the Lord during times of plenty. We give thanks and praise Him when we see obvious things for which to be thankful. It is during the times of difficulty that we need to exercise the discipline of giving thanks and praising the Lord more than ever. As Job said when he lost his family, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
So, let us take a quick look at Psalm 100. This Psalm is different from many of the other Psalms because not one time does it mention circumstances or even allude to them. It is straightforward and succinct. We are to praise the Lord and give Him thanks. The circumstances we are facing don’t change this truth. So, whether in times of blessing or times of need and trouble, let’s look at 5 principles that help us remember to praise the Lord in all circumstances.
- Sing praises to the Lord- Psalm 100 is only made up of 5 verses, yet it is packed with an amazing amount truth about praising the Lord! The psalmist starts off in verses 1 and 2 with this command. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” (Psalm 100:1-2) He gives the people this directive. Sing praise to the Lord. That is plain and easy to understand. It is easy to sing praises to God when things are going well, but are you able to sing to Him during difficult times? At this current time, we are unable to gather together physically on Sunday morning to sing to the Lord, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it on your own, in the quiet of your home, with the rest of your family, or if you are still out and about working. Oh, and if you say to yourself, I can’t sing, there is a provision for you as well. Just make a joyful noise! The Lord knows your heart and he isn’t worried if you can’t carry a tune. So sing, shout, or speak your praise to God in this storm.
- Gladly and willingly serve God-Tucked into the middle of the psalmist’s command to sing to the Lord is a phrase that is easy to miss. It is at the beginning of verse 2. “Serve the Lord with gladness!” (Psalm 100:2a) Do you see it? Whatever your circumstances, good or bad, we are called to praise and thank the Lord by serving Him gladly! This can and will look different for different people during our current situation. Maybe you can’t leave your home, but you can get on the phone, skype, zoom, any of those connecting devices and connect with others to encourage, uplift, or even challenge each other. Maybe it is writing a letter or an email telling someone you are praying for them. Perhaps you are healthy and you can go out and do some grocery shopping for someone who can’t at this time. However it looks in your life, find a way to praise God by serving Him gladly!
- Trust the Shepherd- This one gets a little tougher. The Bible talks about God being our shepherd. We see that imagery in Psalm 23 as well as in the teachings of Jesus when He calls Himself the “Good Shepherd.” Here the psalmist puts it this way, “Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3) What does this look like in our lives? We are given 3 things to remember. First, we need to know that He is God. This means trusting in God because He is holy, perfect, all powerful, all knowing, eternal, faithful, and unchanging. Praise Him because we do not serve and trust in a statue made of gold or wood. Praise Him because we do not serve and trust in an abstract concept. We serve the one true living God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! The great I AM! Second, we need to know that He is our creator. Who are we to blame the creator for how He made the creation? In both good times and bad, God created you for a purpose. That purpose is up to Him, not you, because He is the sovereign creator. Third, we need to know that we are His sheep. A shepherd does not lead sheep into danger. He protects them, he watches over them, sometimes he makes decisions that are uncomfortable for the sheep but ultimately for their benefit. If that is how a shepherd treats his sheep, how much more can we trust Jesus, the Good Shepherd in leading us as the sheep of His pasture! Praise God for He is our shepherd.
- Always give thanks-We are called to give thanks to the Lord as we enter into His presence. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4) You want to praise the Lord in any circumstance? Find a reason to be thankful. You are overwhelmed with obstacles, pause for a moment, sit down, and list the things that you have to be thankful for to the Lord. Things are going great, don’t ignore the blessings, count them instead. There is always something to thank the Lord for in your life. Find it. Each day tell the Lord how thankful you are for what He is doing in your life. If you don’t think you have anything to be thankful for, then simply thank Him for the cross!
- Praise God for simply being God-The final verse of Psalm 100 lays out a few of God’s attributes. It is a reminder of who God is. These are attributes that never change. Time doesn’t change them, circumstances don’t change them, we don’t change them. These attributes are true of God yesterday today and forever. “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5) The three attributes we see listed here are God’s goodness, God’s steadfast love, and God’s faithfulness. That is a great start in praising God for who He is. So today, take some time and praise the Lord for always being good in all circumstances, for loving you with a steadfast love that can never be shaken or removed from you according to Romans 8:38-39, and for his faithfulness that provides us daily strength and grace.
No matter what your circumstances, it is time to praise the Lord. The time is now, today. Don’t wait until later or tomorrow or next week or next month. Carve out time to spend praising the Lord and giving Him thanks today!