Scripture: Psalm 100:1-5
Music has been referred to as the universal language. Its universal quality is one that speaks to people of all tongues, of every generation, and to every human situation. Songs are poetry put to music. They are lyrics put to melodies. Songs speak to our ups and our downs. They speak to our joys and our pain. They speak to our sunshine and our rain. They speak to our love and our happiness. Our songs speak to every human situation.
In the text, the psalmist admonishes these ancient believers to sing a song of thanksgiving. His admonishment to these believers is not just one to sing, but to a behavior of thanksgiving and the rationale or reason for such behavior.
If they were truly thankful, the psalmist says, they should make a joyful noise to the Lord (v.1). They should lend their voices to their thanksgiving.
If these believers were truly thankful the psalmist says that they should serve the Lord with gladness (v.2a). Their service to one another should not to be a chore and it should not feel like an obligation. Their service to one another should be with gladness.
Then if these ancient believers were truly thankful, the psalmist says that they should come before the Lord’s presence with singing (v.2b). A behavior of thanksgiving, according to the psalmist, is one that “comes” to the house of the Lord. And when they get there, the psalmist tells them not to act like they were doing the Lord a favor to be there, but come like they were glad to be there.
That’s why David says in Psalms 122:1 that he was glad when they said to him let us go to the house of the Lord. Come before His presence with singing, and enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise (v.4). The psalmist admonished these believers to adopt a behavior of thanksgiving.
Then the psalmist gives these ancient believers the rationale or reason for their thanksgiving. Be thankful and bless the name of the Lord (v.4a). Bless the name of the Lord because the Lord was God (v.3a). The Lord was their Creator for the Lord had made them (v.3b). They were the sheep of His pasture (v.3b).
It was God’s responsibility to care for them. It was God’s responsibility to provide for them. It was God’s responsibility to preserve them and the Lord was not slack of His responsibilities. Be thankful and bless the name of the Lord for the Lord was their God and He would be their God forever and ever and ever.
And then the psalmist admonished these believers to be thankful and bless the name of the Lord because the Lord is good (v.5a). His mercy is everlasting. His goodness and His love towards them was everlasting. His pity and compassion towards them was everlasting. His gentleness and forbearance toward them was everlasting (Baker’s, Dictionary of Theology, p.348).
Be thankful and bless the name of the Lord because His truth endures to all generations (V.5a). The African theologian, Augustine, in his four senses of truth says that, “Truth is truth when it merits the name that it claims.” (Baker’s, p.532).
During the 2015 season of the National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles Clippers loss in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs after leading the Houston Rockets three games to one in a seven game series. They were unable to win the fourth game because, many felt, they did not have a closer. They did not have anybody on the team who could take control of the game in the final minutes and close out the game. As good as Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Deandre Jordan were, neither of them was a closer.
During the off-season that year, the Clippers signed one of Doc Rivers’ former players who helped him win a world championship while coaching the Boston Celtics. They signed Paul Pierce, an Inglewood High School graduate and University of Kansas alumni.
They signed him, Doc Rivers said, because he was a closer. He wants the ball in his hands at the end of the game. He wants to take the last shot, or make the last pass, or execute the last play at the end of the game. His reputation of being a closer around the National Basketball Association earned him the nickname of “The Truth” because he merited the name he claims.
That’s what the psalmist is saying to these ancient believers in the text, the Lord merits the name that He claims. Be thankful and bless his holy name because He is God. Be thankful and bless His holy name because His mercy is everlasting. Be thankful and bless His holy name because His truth endures to all generations. Be thankful and bless His holy name because He is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen!
The Rev. Dr. Kelvin T. Calloway, Sr., is the pastor of Bethel AME Church, 7900 S. Western Ave., in Los Angeles.