The Way of Rejoicing
“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 100:1-5
This Psalm is a precious call to give a thank offering. There are eight acts expressing praise. He says in the fourth verse, “Be thankful unto Him.” We are to be full of thanks, and as we receive of His abundant supply of blessings we are full to overflowing. The keynote to this Psalm is “BE thankful” We cannot do what God requires until we “be thankful.” It is the inner source of all that we are admonished and encouraged to do. An attitude of thankfulness calls into action deeds of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving hymns come out of thankful hearts.
We are admonished to “make a joyful noise.” “Serve the Lord with gladness.” “Come before His Presence with singing.” “Know ye that the Lord He is God” “Enter into His gates.” “Enter … into His courts.” “Bless His Name.” What a privilege we have to bless His Name, which is above every name! This gladness and singing express the thrill of liberated hearts. Praise God, we have been set free. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” – John 8:36. Thanksgiving causes our blessings to increase, and an unthankful attitude makes them diminish. Thank the Lord that we can fall down before Him.
In the center of our doing this, He says, “Know ye that the Lord He is God.” This little verse is freighted with precious truth concerning us. He is God. We know Him as Creator. “It is He that hath made us.” We read in Revelation four of some who fall down before the throne of God and cast their crowns before His feet saying. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” It is a privilege for us to recognize His creatorship; but, not only that, He has an ownership. “We are His people.” We belong to Him, and how well off we are if we recognize this. The possessive pronoun “His” is used eight times in this short Psalm: “His Presence,” “His people,” “His pasture,” “His gates,” “His courts,” “His Name,” “His mercy,” and “His truth.” Everything and everyone belongs to Him. We can also acknowledge and express appreciation for His caretakership. We are “the sheep of His pasture.”
The foundation of true, solid, spiritual praise is a knowing and understanding heart. This word “know” expresses “to recognize, perceive, understand;” and, if we do, we will gladly acknowledge that “the Lord is good.” When we express that God is good, it seems that this adjective is too mild. But, our God is a good God, and it is good for us to know Him. We wonder how long our God’s goodness to men will last. The Word declares that “His mercy is everlasting.” We realize to some degree how great His mercy is; but we cannot begin to fathom the fullness of God. It must be revealed to our hearts. He is great enough to fulfill all He has promised to all generations. His message is dependable. If God said it, you can count on it coming to pass. I appreciated my heavenly Father more when I realized that His mercy is not upon me because I am good, but because He is good. His mercy is not upon me because I can keep His commandments, but because He can keep His everlasting covenant through the beloved Lamb of God. God can look upon us with favor, because He looks upon His Son. God can see our shortcomings and our needs; yet He can be merciful because He can see the Sacrifice, the Lamb slain.
In Psalm 46:10 we read, “Be still, and know that I am God.” We have just read to “make a joyful noise,” and now we are instructed to “be still.” We are to be still before that God of all the earth. “I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” God is the King of all the earth; sing ye praises with understanding” – Psalm 47:7. How can we learn to do the? The answer – “Be still, and know.” It takes a quietness and listening to Him, and then we will learn how to praise Him with understanding and comprehension. We will know Him who leads His sheep “beside the still waters.”
Sometimes, He allows the waters to be troubled, so that we will really appreciate the waters of quietness. Oh, praise God! We can know when He leads us, and we can know Him who leads us. We will know Him who makes us “to lie down in green pastures.” Sometimes, He must make us lie down, before we really appreciate the green pastures. He may lay us aside for awhile so that we will feed in those green pastures. But, be assured that they are green, they are life-giving. He also makes His sheep to sit down at His banquet table; and as we sit there at His table, He anoints our heads with oil. No wander our little cups run over!
There is a time to rejoice in the Lord with thanksgiving, and there is a time to keep silent and meditate on His Word. We love to listen to the young children singing joyfully of Jesus’ love. We also enjoy singing along with the young people’s enthusiastic hand-clapping singing unto the Lord. But, we also enjoy the deep-settled songs of those who sing from experience and with understanding. A joyful noise is based upon a sound knowledge of Him, a rejoicing no matter what the circumstances. A joyful noise is an acknowledged recognition, and an expression of appreciation of what we know in fact to be true of Him. A jubilant and joyful sound comes from a jubilant and understanding heart. What is your noise?
The Lord had to illustrate this message to me. On a trip to the Ozarks, I left my Bible at home and I began to grumble. The Lord had begun speaking this Psalm to me – “Make a joyful noise.” Many sounds are being made today – grumbling, murmuring, disputing, complaining, criticizing, squawking, squeaking, and even sometimes screaming. What is you noise? We make all kinds of noises when we have been struck, or stuck, or stepped on, or stung. I cannot spell in so many letters the noise I made while driving the bus back from the Ozarks, and a bee came through the window and hit me in the neck. I thought perhaps all I had was a bee sting. Well, it fell down into my jump suit. I do not mind telling you, I jumped. I think everybody else was occupied fellowshipping, so I do not know whether anyone heard me; but I let that bee know that he had a hold of me. The Lord was speaking, “Make a joyful noise.”
Making a joyful noise is not just one sound out of our experience, but the general tone or tenor of our whole lives. When we have been stung, that is the time to make a joyful noise. When the roof caved in, and killed all his children Job said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord” – Job 1:21. We think of Joseph, how his brethren came to him to ask forgiveness, He said, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good” – Genesis 50:20. We are able to make a joyful noise unto the Lord when we are in an uncomfortable position, if we realize that it has come from God’s hand. He sent it for a purpose. Glory to God! The early Christians were found rejoicing after being beaten and threatened. They thanked the Lord “That they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name” – Acts 5:41.
The joyful sound comes from an anchored heart, knowing that every good and perfect gift comes from God. He is making all things work together for our good. So He says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” – I Thess. 5:18. A joyful noise is to accompany our service and approach to God. We are to “come before His Presence with singing,” with gladness, “and into His courts with praise.” Praise God that we have access. Before Jesus came, we had no right to come. We can come through His gates into His courts, right up to His throne singing, singing, singing praises unto Him. When we approach Him to serve Him, it is special priestly service, if it is with and attitude of worship. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” Praise the Lord!