Thursday, November 7, 2013

"The 100th Psalm"

"The 100th Psalm"

The Atmosphere of Life

       The 100th Psalm holds a special place in my heart, for reasons I'll explain after a reading of the blessed passage.

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations" (Psalm 100:5).

    The elementary school I attended as a child broadcast this Psalm at the beginning of each school day.  Such a thing could not happen in public schools today, but 50 years ago, the students of Woodcock School heard the call of David and the Holy Spirit to the affirmation of joy, gladness, singing, praise, and thanksgiving, along with remembrance that we belong to the One who made us for the knowledge and experience of His goodness, mercy, and everlasting truth.

    I'm quite sure that I didn't always listen with rapt attention.  I have no doubt, however, that the reading indelibly imprinted on my heart the realities that would one day lead me to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Indeed, the 100th Psalm seems almost atmospheric in that sense that it communicates the frame of heart God intends to grace His children's experience and understanding of life in Christ.  Our Heavenly Father has no desire for a relationship with His trusting children wherein we merely offer Him servile obedience based upon the duty of a slave.  One of the Old Testament's most severe reproofs of Israel involved their faithless and heartless notion of serving God without "joyfulness and gladness of heart" (Deuteronomy 28:47).  Scripture rather calls us to amazed and grateful wonder that we are the sons and daughters of One aptly described by the Psalmist in another song of exhilaration: "
Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise Thee, O God my God" (Psalm 43:4). 

   Long ago, sleepy children just beginning the long school day were blessed to hear the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the man of God offer a way - the way - to experience life as God intends life to be.  I'm so glad to have been among that company.  I suspect that others also continue to benefit from the echoes of that Voice offering the atmosphere of goodness, mercy, and truth wherein we live as "His people, and the sheep of His pasture."  This is joy, "exceeding joy" known as we affirm with praise and thanksgiving that "He is God," and that "it is He which hath made us."

Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
(I Peter 1:8)

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