While visiting Union Theological Seminary recently, I had the pleasure of sitting in on Dr. Carson Brisson’s Hebrew class. It was fascinating to learn a little Hebrew, and his stories really added a lot to the text. We spent most of the class in Genesis.
At the end, the class read Psalm 100 in Hebrew and English. Dr. Brisson pointed to the progression of the Psalm. See if you notice anything when you read it.
A psalm. For giving thanks.
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his ;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Dr. Brisson said that the worshipper starts out with praise. This then leads to joy and an awareness of who God is. The declaration for why people praise God is at the end of the Psalm not the beginning. I have always thought that praise works best when we focus on God’s character and majesty and then praise Him based on that revelation. But in this Psalm, it works the other way too.
Sometimes we just need to come praise God no matter how we feel. As a spiritual act of obedience and worship, we take leaps of faith before our heart or mind is there. This act then engages the entire soul to respond to God and recognize His glory and majesty.
Psalm 100 shows that worship should be our first response to God even when we don’t feel like doing it. Worship should become such a second nature response that we don’t have to see or think about God’s character or greatness to shout loudly praises to God.
Just something to thing about as you start your week…