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Appreciating God

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God’s Character Commands our Joy, Trust and Submission

Let’s go ahead and turn to Psalm 100 this morning and as we look at the what God’s Character demands of us.
Psalm 100 NASB95
A Psalm for Thanksgiving. 1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. 3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.
As we look at this psalm we find the psalm is a cause and effect or should I say an effect and a cause. The first four verse provide the effects, this is what we should do or these are the demands that are put on us. The last verse provides God’s character for us, it is His character which causes the effects of the first four verses. So as we look at the first four verse we see how we are to appreciate God, how we are to thank Him and it is all because we are in actuality commanded to do so. That is was I say God’s character commands first and foremost “joy.”

God’s Character Commands Joy

We find at least six commands in this psalm. The first of these commands is the command to, “Shout,” followed closely by “Serve” and “Come” all with an emphasis on Joy. The psalmist is talking to all the earth telling all people to shout with Joy to the Lord. This is an act of homage to God. He also wants the earth to serve the Lord. Another way to look at this word is to “worship,” they are synonomous in this verse. This psalm is focused on temple worship. It is the idea of coming to the temple of God and performing the acts of service that are dedicated to God and God alone. When the psalmist mentions here to come before Him, he is talking about entering God’s presence.
All three of these verbs, all three of these imperative commands are for the purpose of directing all the earth to focus on the One True God. This is all about worship. Worship with our voice, worship with our bodies, and worship with our minds, and hearts. It is a call to a complete giving of ourselves over to the Only One who is worth honor and adoration, He is God.
This is a call to all people to do and this is before the coming of Jesus Christ. This is not a cal to the Christians or to the church but we who know Christ are more obligated to answer this call to worship. Paul writes this to the Roman church.
Romans 12:1–2 NASB95
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
This is how we are to present ourselves to God we are to present all of ourselves before Him as living sacrifices. That is what it means here to serve or to worship.
Notice the command here is to do it joyfully, with gladness and with joyful singing. This is a bit of an oxymoron because God calls for us to come to Him with hearts of Joy not begrudgingly. This is a command to do so. How can we come to God with joy if it is a command? By realizing who it is you are coming too. He is not a God like all the other gods, He is a living and active God. One who by His very nature and character should bring joy and gladness to our hearts.
God is the source of all joy. He is the One who imparts joy in us. Without Him we have no true joy and all we do is chase after the wind. Jesus came so that His Joy may be made full. He says this through out John’s gospel and in John 15:11 Jesus says this;
John 15:11 NASB95
11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
Jesus is our source of Joy, it is only through Him that we can have Joy and it is because of Who God is and what God has done through Jesus that we can joyfully appreciate who He is and what He has done.
The palmist continues by pointing us to God and we begin to see a little more of how we are to have joy and gladness when we come into His presence.
It is realized when we trust in God.

God’s Character Commands Trust

The fourth command is found in verse 3 were the psalmist writes, “Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” If you want to know how your are to have joy and gladness in your worship to God, well here it is, by “knowing.” What are you to know? Well you are to know, or even more deeply then this you are to understand, who God is and what God has done. See here is the beauty of the God of Israel, He is real and He is approachable. All the other gods of all the other religions of the day and even the gods of today are not approachable. People are always trying to appease them. They do all kinds of works to make them happy with us so we can come into their presence. It’s not the same with the true and living God of Israel. He wants us to know Him. That’s why He has preserved His word for us. So we can know Him. Not only does He want us to know Him, He wants to dwell with us and that is why He placed His temple in Jerusalem. That is why He built His tabernacle in the desert so He could be in the middle of all His people.
John writes this in his first letter to the church;
1 John 5:20 NASB95
20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
In verse 3 we also find that we are not only to “know” God, or understand who He is but also the reason for our “knowing” God or understanding Him. “It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” We are commanded to know God because God has “made us” and God has “called” us. This verse is speaking directly to Israel. God has made us a people. He has done this through His calling Abraham while he was still in Ur of the Chaldeans. He calls Abraham and tells him he will be a great nation and all the nations will be blessed through him. This great nation is the nation God calls out of Egypt, it is the nation of Israel. God made them, God sustained them and God brought them to the land were they are here in this psalm and God established His temple on the Jerusalem Mount. This was God’s work not man’s. God did all of this and because God did all of this He can be trusted.
Not only did God make them a great nation, which in all honesty they had nothing to do with it. God also called them His people, they are His sheep. The beauty of this illustration is the fact that Sheep need to be led. Sheep absolutely need a shepherd and with out a shepherd they wander around lost and even could follow one another straight off a cliff. The psalmist is calling for us to know God and understand that we can trust Him as His prize possession. The nation of Israel belongs to God and we being called also belong to God.
John 10:14–16 NASB95
14 “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
Then He says this a few verses later;
John 10:26–28 NASB95
26 “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
We are to trust in God and if we have trusted in God then we are also to submit to God.

God’s Character Commands Submission

The fifth and sixth commands are in verse 4. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” The psalm is pointing to the temple courts and to the temple gates. The psalmist wants the nation to enter God’s temple and His court where God sits enthroned with an offer of thanksgiving. Here is the picture of submission before the almighty. The idea of coming before a King and giving Him the honor He is due. And no one deserve more honor and deserves our humble submission more then God Himself. When we enter His gates and we come into His courts it is by His grace and our attitude must be one of gratitude. True gratitude and true appreciation is pointed to the one who deserves it. The greatest act of appreciation we can show God is in our submission to His will and His rule over our lives. The psalmist says “bless His name,” it gives the idea here of making God’s name holy, honoring His very name. That is what we are to do, when we show true deep appreciation through our submission to Him we exalt His name, we don’t defame His name.
God’s name is great and greatly to be praised. His name is to be honored. His name alone has power. He is the Great I Am and the One who is and His name deserves to be honored. Not only is His name to be blessed but the name of Jesus Christ is to be honored as well.
Philippians 2:9–13 NASB95
9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Matthew 7:21 NASB95
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
See when it came to the nation of Israel and even when it comes to us there is still one call upon our lives. If God is our God, if He is our Lord and if He is our King we must submit to His will. Trust in Him and trust in His name always leads to one outcome, obedience.
Paul in the opening to his letter to the Roman church writes this;
Romans 1:1–7 NASB95
1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; 7 to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
All of this is to guide the people to one goal and it is all an effect. All of this is the effect or should be the effect God’s people have when they realize what causes this kind of behavior, this kind of attitude this kind of appreciation. It all stems from God’s own character.

God’s Character

Verse 5 says, “For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.” This is a three part cause to the effects of our joy, trust and submission. All three are due to the character of God and all three parts of His character demand that we approach Him with joy trust and submission. We can approach God with joy, trust and submission because God is good.
This is His nature a nature which we can’t have apart from Him. When God created the earth and all that is in it in Genesis 1 the Scripture says over and over how God saw that it was good. It was good because God created it. The one thing that wasn’t good was man being alone. So God created Eve. All of God’s creation is just as God is, Good. Except of course this was tarnished when sin entered the world and now we are no longer as we were created to be, good. We no longer have this characteristic. Though through God’s own nature we can find that we have the power within to do good works.
Colossians 1:9–12 NASB95
9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
When we lost our standing before God we lost the source of our joy. Our joy, true unadulterated joy is bound in God through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Sin has tarnished that and all of our lives are man trying to find this joy. The problem is they are looking for it in the wrong place. Our joy isn’t found in anything this world has to offer it is only found in the pure goodness of God and in His Son Jesus Christ and only through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul tells the Philippians church this;
Philippians 4:8 NASB95
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
God’s goodness is who He is.
God, however, has never lost it and we can sing joyfully and trust in Him and submit to Him because He has never lost this character as we have. In fact, it is only through God that we can even know what is good.
The second characteristic of God that demands our joy, trust and submission is, His lovingkindness, or in the Hebrew it is called ‘hesed.’ This is His loyal love, the thing is this love He has is contingent on one truth and one truth only, Himself. God has made a promise with Himself that He would bless all nations through Abraham and this promise can never be broken by Him because God can’t lie. He is a covenant keeping God, when He makes a promise He will not break it. This is His character not ours but because of this character of His, He asks that we would respond with the same character He has. His love is loyal to Himself and He asks for us to be loyal to Him and when we are loyal to Him we in turn are loyal to one another. This loyalty is our submission to Him and to His rule over us. He rules with a mighty hand but it is a merciful hand.
Isaiah 54:10 NASB95
10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the Lord who has compassion on you.
God’s lovingkindness is what He has done.
The third characteristic of God that is important and demands our joy, trust and submission is His faithfulness. Look God is faithful to the nation of Israel but not just the nation of Israel but to all generations. His faithfulness never ends and it goes from one generation to the next. He doesn’t stop being faithful when David died but continued to be faithful even to this day. He is trustworthy, we can trust Him and this is important when it comes to trusting God. We can trust God because God is trustworthy.
Romans 4:18–21 NASB95
18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.
2 Timothy 2:10–13 NASB95
10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. 11 It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
God’s faithfulness is what He is doing.
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