The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Psalm 100

Psa 100:1


SETTING: Here again is Hezekiah's splendid call to the northern kingdom, lately overrun and desolated by the Assyrians, to renew allegiance to the Lord and His temple at Jerusalem, and to keep once again the Feast of Passover. The parallels with 2Ch 30 are considerable and significant.

THE MESSIAH: Such a psalm as this is, of course, appropriate to the Lord's people in all ages ("to all generations": v 5). But what riches of fulfillment there will be in Christ's kingdom! Consider Rev 5:9,12.

V 1: As in Psa 98:4, the Heb has a plural verb with a singular noun -- ie all the earth (eretz). To emphasize individual participation of everyone? So also in Psa 66:1, where v 6 has pointed links with the Passover and with Psa 95:5. Of course, a Messianic fulfillment requires the plural "lands", now all united in one.

Psa 100:2

WORSHIP THE LORD: It must never be forgotten that a service is that which is offered in humble submission. It is not just a "going through the motions". So even today, when one comes in "from the field", it is time to "gird oneself [ie, find those hidden reserves of strength one no longer believes to exist] and serve Him" (Luk 17:7,8). In Exo 12:25,26; 13:5 the sw is used about the Passover.

WITH GLADNESS: "Delight in divine service is a token of acceptance. Those who serve God with a sad countenance, because they do what is unpleasant to them, are not serving Him at all; they bring the form of homage, but the life is absent. Our God requires no slaves to grace His throne; He is the Lord of the empire of love, and would have His servants dressed in the livery of joy. The angels of God serve Him with songs, not with groans; a murmur or a sigh would be a mutiny in their ranks. That obedience which is not voluntary is disobedience, for the Lord looketh at the heart, and if He seeth that we serve Him from force, and not because we love Him, He will reject our offering. Service coupled with cheerfulness is heart-service, and therefore true. Take away joyful willingness from the Christian, and you have removed the test of his sincerity. Cheerfulness is the support of our strength; in the joy of the Lord are we strong. It acts as the remover of difficulties. It is to our service what oil is to the wheels of a railway carriage. Without oil the axle soon grows hot, and accidents occur; and if there be not a holy cheerfulness to oil our wheels, our spirits will be clogged with weariness. The man who is cheerful in his service of God, proves that obedience is his element" (CHS).

"Have one simple aim in life: serve God. This is the key to joy, here and hereafter. This alone has permanence. Natural life is composed of changing conditions and ended dreams -- until at last all collapses in death, and the utter emptiness of it all is made pitifully manifest. It looks so interesting and attractive at first: lovely babies, carefree laughing children, active intensely-living young people, successful adults. But what is the point in it all? All ends at last in sickness, senility, death. What a mockery is anything that does not have permanence! Only one thing has permanence. Only one thing will be left when all the glitter of natural life is gone. Only one thing gets better and stronger and more valuable as life ebbs and the inevitable end comes to all. Serve God! Make that the spring of every action. Gradually, logically, methodically eliminate everything else from the spectrum of your supposed 'interest' and 'enjoyment', for this alone is real and lasting. Everything else in the world will fail you -- yea, cruelly mock you -- at the end" (GVG).

COME BEFORE HIM WITH JOYFUL SONGS: "Come before his presence (panim = faces) with singing." The presence, or "faces", of God suggests, as in Psa 99:1, the Cherubim and the mercy-seat of the Most Holy place.

Psa 100:3

KNOW: Sw Psa 46:10, another Hezekiah psalm: "Be still, and know that I am God."

IT IS HE WHO MADE US: It was at the first Passover that God "made" Israel into His people.

AND WE ARE HIS: Not, "and not we ourselves", as AV. A confusion between two Heb words which sound the same: lo', "not", and lo, "his" or "to him". Therefore this sb read, as AV mg (and most modern versions): "And we are His." (The same confusion has arisen in about 14 other passages, including Exo 21:8; Isa 63:9; Ezr 4:2; and 1Sa 2:3. In some of these, AV makes the correction without even a note in the mg.) If "we are HIS", then v 2: "Serve HIM." Cp Christ's "Render unto God the things that are God's" (Mat 22:21). And Paul's "We are his workmanship, created... unto good works" (Eph 2:10). And in the NT, cp also Mat 4:10; Jam 1:18; and 1Co 6:19.

HIS: In the OT, cp Isa 43:1,21; 44:5. Israel is God's "special possession" among all peoples (Exo 19:5; Mal 3:17).

MADE: Psa 119:73; 145:10; and Jer 32:17,18 all have the idea of two "creations" -- natural and spiritual.


Psa 100:4

ENTER HIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING: Gates which are closed to the unclean (Rev 21:27).

AND HIS COURTS WITH PRAISE: And they are His courts, not ours! This is to be remembered. Note the brusque reminder in Isa 1:12.

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