“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” Psalm 100:5
Beginning with the end in mind. It is a staple business principle and a not all together bad principle for us to remember all the time. So, with that in mind, I decided to start with the last verse of Psalm 100 because right now I am not a fan of the first verse.
Psalm 100 is a favorite of many and at times it was right up there with my favorite too. But, as I prepare to write about this I feel the confusion creeping into my heart and into my mind. I find that what I am commanded to do sharply conflicts with my reality at the moment. Is He good? Is that really true?
I think that might depend on our definition of “good” and therein may lie our problem.
This Psalm begins with a call to worship. As we think about the conventional definition of “worship” there are times when all of us which these verses simply did not exist in the Bible. But they do.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness, come before Him with joyful songs” Psalm 100:2-3
It is a simple command, and it is a command given to all of us. It is one that most of us ignore, when we do go before Him. Mostly, we offer quick, trite “worship” to Him that we have repeated over and over to the point of vain repetition. Instead of coming before Him in our true state, whether our season is happy or sad, in plenty or in need—we find the need to throw words that we don’t even mean. In our pain we attempt to hide from God and that is the absolute opposite of worshipping Him.
What if coming before Him in worship meant coming to Him in our most honest state with our most honest, maybe even desperate questions? Would true gladness come? Would shouts of joy come? Would we leave our time with Him in a different state than we began it?
When life is beating us up, and we are at the end of our ability to understand Him, we have two choices. We can walk away from Him and experience the absolute opposite of gladness and joy or we can believe what He has said in the next verse:
“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” Psalm 100:3
All of us seek those things that we can know with great certainty. And while sometimes the sovereignty of God is of question in our minds, there is no doubt that the sovereignty of God is EVER in question. A great price was paid for Him to claim us as His own. That price lifted the veil that separates us from Him. That price gives us direct access to worship Him in whatever way we can, as long as that is an open and honest relationship with Him. Because we are human beings with flawed understandings of what is best for us. We are going to doubt Him, we are oftentimes not going to FEEL like shouting with joy, but the main thing that He asks of us is that we worship Him with our needs. After all, He is the only One that can touch those parts of our hearts and minds that are tortured by our circumstances.
The promise that I can come to Him in worship in a fashion that may not look like the church version absolutely puts us in the frame of mind to:
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name” Psalm 100:4
Sometimes when we enter into His courts our worship is in the form of broken questions. When we take the time to just “enter” into His presence period, joy will come, so much that He hears it as shouts, even if it takes all the breath we have. We will find our hearts glad after time with Him even if that time is mostly tears and silent communication. Spending time in His presence takes our minds off our circumstances and suddenly we find ourselves thanking Him and praising Him. Because spending time with Him helps us end where we started, and that is the absolute knowledge that despite our circumstances:
He Is GOOD
His love endures forever
His faithfulness will continue to those that come behind me.
So it is with comfort that I enter into His presence understanding that I may not feel like shouting with joy or singing with gladness. And that is ok, because worship in its purest form is admitting that I need Him.
The joy will come. The gladness will come.
He is already there.
And He will be.