Biblical Thanksgiving (Psalm 100)

Bible 5One final post about thanksgiving and gratitude this week … This one centered on Psalm 100 (aka, “Old 100th”). Of the 150 psalms in the book of Psalms, only this one bears the designation, “A psalm for giving thanks.” William Kethe and Isaac Watts both wrote hymns based on Psalm 100. Charles Spurgeon reportedly said, “Nothing can be more sublime this side of heaven than the singing of this noble psalm by a vast congregation.” I have to admit, I’ve never heard this song sung by a vast congregation. However, I do remember a Wednesday night prayer meeting where I heard a man sing “Old 100th.” The tune did not stick with me, but the message of Psalm 100 did.

  • True gratitude involves expressive and emotive worship. The psalmist commands us to make a noise (literally, shout). The psalmist commands us to serve (literally, worship). But the psalmist also commands us to do these things with joy and gladness. Genuine gratitude is expressed in worship and flows from a heart filled with right emotions.
  • True gratitude is often expressed through song. Music is not the only way God’s people respond to God in worship … But music is certainly important. The fact that all cultures express their beliefs, hopes, fears, and desires through music reflects something important about the way God made humans. Thus, the psalmist tells us to sing.
  • True gratitude requires good theology. The Bible is filled with people who worshiped in ignorance, and the same can be seen around the world today. Many cry out to little-g-gods that cannot hear. Thus, the psalmist calls God’s people to know that the LORD is God. In other words, not only should we give thanks, but we should give it to the right person.
  • True gratitude should be expressed corporately. Of course you should be thankful in your time along with God. But the Bible puts a consistently heavy emphasis on corporate worship, and corporate worship must include corporate thanksgiving. This is what the psalmist is driving at when he invites his reader to enter the “gates” and “courts.”
  • True gratitude is based first on who God is, not what he does. This is an important reminder for me. I have a tendency, like most people, to rush in and thank God for all the good things he does for me. The psalmist isn’t quite so hasty, and instead pauses to thank God for being good. We must always be focused on God before and above his gifts.

Originally published October 7, 2015 on