Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Study on Psalm 100

Psalm 100 (ESV)
His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

A Psalm for giving thanks.
1Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth A
2Serve the LORD with gladness! B
Come into his presence with singing! A

3Know that the LORD, he is God! A
It is he who made us, B
and we are his; {and not we ourselves} B
we are his people, B
and the sheep of his pasture. B

4Enter his gates with thanksgiving, A
and his courts with praise! A
Give thanks to him; B
bless his name! B

5For the LORD is good; A
his steadfast love endures forever, B
and his faithfulness to all generations. B

Pattern Analysis

Hebrew poetry rhymes ideas rather than words. Sometimes scholars describe the patterns with letter. For instance, the ABB pattern means that there is the first line with an idea. The second line relates a new idea, but the third line is a repeat of the second idea, perhaps with a new perspective. Pattern analysis helps to understand the structure so that the reader can lift the meaning of the poetry out.

Big Idea
“Praise God for he is our creator.” While this idea is easy to get from the Psalm, it is not found in a normal American or Western Civilization format. Instead of leading with the main ideas, the main emphasis is in the middle of the poem where the writer tells the reader why to give thanks, that is God is the creator and he owns us.
Modern Ideas About Who Made Whom
The modernistic idea is that man needed ways in times past to explain the unexplainable. If a storm came they needed to explain why it came. So they would say that a god did it as a judgment on their sins. When a moral issue needed to be backed, ancient man could tell his fellow man that the gods required honesty and fairness. This anthropological explanation of the origins of religion reduces God to merely an Bogeyman used to control those who are controllable. Of course this view takes ancient man to be a simpleton and does not reflect the realities of evil. People sense when someone is manipulating them, but at varying degrees are people able to discern it and it depends on the skill of the person who is doing the manipulation. But to reduce everyone prior to the modern age to a simpleton may be a bit simplistic. Remember that the Old Testament prophets were accused of prophesying as merely a political means of control. Jeremiah 26 tells us that people did not merely bend to the will of the one proclaiming a message but evaluated it, sometimes misjudging it.
There is debate about how the phrase “and we are his” or if it is better understood as “and not we ourselves”. Part of the logic that we supports “and we are his” is that it is a repeat of the idea that God made us. The idea that if you make something, then you own it. This idea is true from the text no matter how you translate the second phrase. But part of the logic behind translating the second phrase as “we are his” is that it does not make sense to say “and not we ourselves”. However, we find from modern, anthropological ideas, that many people believe that we made God and that a man in a certain sense choose who he is, he can change his persona to be as he/she desires. When we use the phrase, 'he is a self-made man' we mean that we determine who we are. It apparently is not that far fetched to say that many people would think of themselves as creating themselves.

Transcendent Among All Peoples
Christianity is unique among religions because it is translated into other cultures. Christianity is no less Christianity in Ethiopia as it is in Glen Burnie, Maryland. By the way the church in Ethiopia claims its origin with the Ethiopian official who came to faith in Acts 8, so it may be a tad bit older than the churches in Glen Burnie. The worship of the one true God is transcendent above national boundaries or language barriers. This is why the psalmist says “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.” This ties into the Great Commission where Jesus tells his disciples to make disciples in all of all people groups.

Matthew 28:19: (ESV)
19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Acts 1:8: (ESV)
8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Mark 16:15-17 (ESV)
15And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

Luke 24:44-48 (ESV)
44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.

Transcendent Among All Generations
Not only is God transcendent among on nations, he transcends time and generations. He is not only the God of the people in Jesus' day, he is also my generation and your generation.

Public Worship
The response to God being our creator and being good is public worship. Often in our postmodern society we see religion as private, but there is a definite public nature to the praise and worship offered here in this passage.

God is good, he is our creator. He is worthy of our praise, let all the nations worship him. Let all generations worship him. Let us praise him in public.
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