November 20, 2022
We live in difficult days (has there ever been a time in the world when we couldn’t say that?). People are trying to define the exact nature of our troubles; one theologian has observed that social observers and politicians and others have called our time, “the age of anxiety, the age of identity politics, the age of polarization. All touch on some obvious aspect of our current struggles. But perhaps a better title might be the age of ingratitude.” We live in the age of ingratitude. I think he might be onto something.
Many post offices receive letters addressed to God. Some of those letters then get sent to the post office in Jerusalem where they end up in the “undeliverable” department. In one letter a few years ago, an Israeli man asked God for 5,000 shekels (about $1000 at the time) to ease his poverty. The postal workers were moved by his plight, so they gathered up and sent him about 4300 shekels. A month later he wrote another letter to God: “Thank you, God, for the contribution. But next time please don’t send it through these postmen. They’re thieves; they stole 700 shekels.” Yup, that fits the tenor of the age doesn’t it?
We might also take it a step further — when we are thankful, we are typically thankful for the wrong things. And then when we lose those wrong things that we desire, we are tempted to slide back into ingratitude — and so it repeatedly goes until we are thoroughly disillusioned and discontent.
We know there is help for us in God’s Word. We might turn to many passages, but this morning I want to take you to Psalm 100. It is a short psalm and one that might have been sung as the worshippers were preparing for worship on a Sabbath morning, or even as they arrived at the Temple. Here is the message…
Give thanks to God because God is God.
This psalm contains similar themes as Pss. 90-99 (especially Ps. 95); it might be the climax of those psalms. All these might be a response by the psalmists to the problem laid out in Psalm 89 — “the seeming lack of faithfulness on the part of Yahweh in the demise of the Davidic monarchy…” [Tate, 536] The sense was that God had failed to complete His promises to His people (cf. 89:38-45) and He even seems absent (89:46ff). Do you ever feel like what the psalmist says in 89:49? The following psalms and this psalm in particular are a corrective for that skewed thinking.
In this psalm we gain two insights for cultivating gratitude…
- The Mandate to the World to Give Thanks to the Lord (vv. 1-3)
- Gratitude is a Mandate for All People (v. 1)
- Gratitude is a Mandate (vv. 1-3)
- Gratitude is a Mandate Because of God (v. 3)
- The Mandate to the Redeemed to Give Thanks to the Lord (vv. 4-5)
- Gathered Gratitude is a Mandate for God’s People (v. 4)
- Gathered Gratitude is a Mandate Because of God (v. 5)
Download the rest of this sermon on Psalm 100.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.