November 18, 2018—The Season of Praise, Worship, and Thanksgiving! Lesson Tittle: A Psalm of Praise, Worship, and Thanksgiving
Scripture: Psalm 100:4-5
A quick glance at the calendar reminds us that we are only a few days away from Thanksgiving Day. “Thanksgiving Day is currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941, has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863, and by state legisla- tion since the founding fathers of the United States” (Wikipedia).
The early pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in December 1620, following an extremely difficult winter that saw the deaths of 46 of the original 102 who sailed on the Mayflower. With the help of the Native Americans, the pilgrims were taught how to plant corn, hunt, and fish. The following autumn (1621), with a bountiful and blessed harvest, the surviving pilgrims and 91 Native Americans celebrated together. It was a time of celebra- tion and thanksgiving.
Today, we continue our study of Psalm 100. Last week we learned that this great Psalm is a testimony of thanksgiving, gratitude, and praise. As a Psalm (song), it was sung at the entry into the temple as a call to wor- ship Him with thanksgiving and praise. With a joyful shout and a gladness of heart, the worshippers of God were instructed to express their worship.
(v4) “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.”
These are words of instruction, but as Arthur Weiser explains, they are also the opening words of the second part of Psalm 100 and sung by the choir of priests, before the festival congregation passed through the gates of the Temple and entered its forecourts. As in the part of the Psalm, they begin with a call to enter the sanctuary with songs of praise in order to testify and praise His name.
Question: What do we do as we enter our place of worship?
I remember a few years ago, as we entered the sanctuary, on a Wednesday evening for mid-week Bible study, Robin was seated at the altar offering the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. As worshippers entered, many just made their way to the front to join in a spontaneous time of praise. It was indeed a special time of wor- ship. We had truly entered “into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.”
Explain what it means to be a participant in worship.
Explain what it means to be a spectator to worship.
Prayerfully answer this question: Are you a participant in worship or a spectator to worship?
In August of 2013, Dr. Kevin Hamm spoke on worship and praise. He emphasized two words, “shout” and “sing.” He spoke from the prophet Isaiah: “Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth…” (Isaiah 44:22b-23a). Dr. Hamm reminded us all of how wonderful it is to be redeemed (saved); and therefore, our worship should never be dead. It should be alive with energy and purpose. We were challenged that real, true followers of Jesus should be singing and shouting because of all peoples of all lands, we have something to sing and shout about.
(v4b) “Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”
“Be thankful” is meant to be an expression of a genuine heart, but it also is an expression of a genuine heart that finds expression in public praise. The result of a thankful heart is to “bless His name.”
“Bless His name” is the expression of that personal feeling towards God which only His own redeemed people can cherish” (Spence and Exell).
Question: Do you find blessing in “Bless His name,” as you verbally declare your praise to Him with thanks- giving and bless His name? Explain.
Question: What does it mean to you to bless His name?
Question: How do you personally bless His name?
(v5) “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”
“The knowledge of God’s grace and faithfulness is the true source from which the joy and the enthusiasm of the Psalm spring. The joy expressed in the Psalm is joy simultaneously derived from God and joy in God. It emanates (originates) from Him and returns to Him” (Weiser). We return it to Him through our worship.
(v5b) “And His truth endures to all generations.”
The Psalm closes with a focus on His everlasting truth. He, like no other, is completely, totally trustworthy. He, alone, is truth as truth can only be. He is faithful. His faithfulness is measured only by His truth. He is truth and forever shall be.
Question: What does Thanksgiving Day really mean to you?
Question: How do you express your “thanks” “giving” to Him?
Question: What is the difference between a believer’s Thanksgiving Day and a nonbeliever’s Thanksgiving Day?
Question: If unknown to you Jesus was part of your Thanksgiving Day activities, would He know that you are His follower by the way you express your thanks and enjoy the day?
Question: How is our giving a reflection of our thanks?