New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

Psa 100:1

A Psalm of thanksgiving.
Shout for joy to Yahweh, all you lands!-
David knew his sinfulness, he knew his reliance upon the grace of God, more and more as he got older. One would have thought that after the Bathsheba incident, David would have kept his mouth shut so far as telling other people how to live was concerned. But instead, we find an increasing emphasis in the Psalms (chronologically) upon David's desire to teach others of God's ways- particularly the surrounding Gentile peoples, before whom David had been disgraced over Bathsheba, not to mention from his two faced allegiance to Achish (1 Sam. 27:8-12). There is real stress upon this evangelistic fervour of David (Ps. 4:3; 18:49; 22:25,31; 35:18; 40:9,10; 57:9; 62:8; 66:5,16; 95:1,8; 96:5-8,10; 100:1-4; 105:1,2; 119:27; 145:5,6,12). Indeed, Ps. 71:18 records the "old and greyheaded" David pleading with God not to die until he had taught "thy strength unto this generation". As with Paul years later, the only reason he wanted to stay alive was in order to witness the Gospel of grace to others. David therefore coped with his deep inner traumas by looking out of himself to those around him, eagerly desiring to share with them the pureness of God's grace. He didn't do this as some kind of self-help psychiatry; it came naturally from a realization of his own sinfulness and God's mercy, and the wonderful willingness of God to extend this to men.

This Psalm may also have been used by or for the exiles, envisaging the day when the Gentiles would be invited to repent and join the exiles in forming a multiethnic people of God worshipping at the restored Zion.

Psa 100:2

Serve Yahweh with gladness, come before His presence with singing-
Coming before Yahweh's presence would be an invitation to Gentiles (:1) to come and keep the feasts in the tabernacle. That Gentiles should be urged to come before His presence was a radical paradigm break with Israel's conception of themselves as God's unique people. And inviting them to "serve" Him there with singing would imply Gentiles were being asked to be priests, singing like the Levites.

Psa 100:3

Know that Yahweh, He is God-
This again is an invitation to the Gentiles, perhaps initially in David's time and then later at the restoration. Yahweh and not their idols was "God". The tragedy was that Israel were serving idols at the time of the restoration as Ezekiel makes clear.

It is He who has made us and not we ourselves, and we are His. We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture-
This is a fair argument against a belief in evolution ex nihilo. We did not make ourselves, we were specifically created; and it is belief in this which leads us to trust in Him, that we are therefore His, His sheep, just as a creator intimately owns that which their own hands have created. But the essential argument is that these are the words of a repentant Israel, urging the Gentiles to join them in covenant relationship with God as equal sheep, "His", in "His pasture", a restored Israel. And it was this which they found so hard to do- to invite the Gentiles to become the sheep of Yahweh's pasture along with them. And the Jews became elitist and xenophobic in exile and at their return to "His pasture". It was the Lord Jesus who arose as the one shepherd over the flocks of both Jews and Gentiles, seeing the exiles refused to realize the potentials at their time.

Psa 100:4

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, and bless His name-
This again is a hearty invitation to enter into the rebuilt courts of the temple with praise; and to praise a God in the God's temple meant you had accepted that God. The peoples of the time usually only changed gods because they had been militarily dominated by the people of those other gods. This is why Judah were so abhorrent for changing their gods from Yahweh to the idols of the nations around them; and they stood out amongst the nations for doing so (Jer. 2:11). But here we have a repentant Israel urging the Gentiles to change their gods and accept Yahweh; on the basis of His utter grace and salvation. And they are envisaged as succeeding. But the reality at the time of the restoration was far different; and the temple finally rebuilt had a court for the Gentiles and a sign erected threatening Gentiles with death if they passed into "His gates... into His courts".

Psa 100:5

For Yahweh is good, His grace endures forever, His faithfulness to all generations-
As noted on :4, to appeal to other nations to change their gods was unheard of, unless that other nation had been dominated by force. But this appeal to the Gentiles was not at all on the basis of forceful domination. Rather was the root of the appeal the experience of His grace, which was eternal- it had promise of life eternal. Such grace and such a gift were of course unheard of in any other belief system or god.