Which element of prayer is harder to practice? Confession or thanksgiving? This would seem to be an easy question to answer. The confession of sin is obviously more difficult than the offering of thanksgiving, right? Not necessarily. Pride makes our flesh resist both elements.
- A proud heart cannot admit in confession, “I did it.”
- A proud heart cannot acknowledge with thanksgiving, “I didn’t do it. God did!”
For that matter, pride makes adoration, supplication, intercession difficult to practice, as well. A godly heart is filled with perpetual thanksgiving. It is not merely a national holiday. For the humble spirit that knows where its help comes from, every day is a day of thanksgiving!
Psalm 100:1-4 records seven calls to worship: shout, serve, come, know, enter, give thanks, and bless. Psalm 100:5 explains why God is worthy of our grateful praise: “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
The three reasons for thanksgiving in this verse have nothing to do with the physical, material, or relational blessings we receive. Indeed, God is the source of these benefits and we should give thanks for them. But that is not the focus of this call to worship. The psalmist exhorts us to give thanks and praise to God for God’s sake, not ours. True worship is God-centered. It is rooted in the person, nature, and character of God.
Psalm 100:5 gives three reasons why every day is a day of thanksgiving:
God is good.
James 1:17 says: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Everything God gives is good. His plans are good. His providence is good. His provisions are good. His protection is good. His patience is God. His pardon is good. But Psalm 100:5 is not a statement about what God gives; it is about who God is.
Nahum 1:7 says, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” When bad things happen, God’s goodness is demonstrated in the fact that he is a stronghold in the day of trouble. The goodness of God is not always obvious by sight. But it is always evident by faith. Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
God is love.
Verse 5 says: “His steadfast love endures forever.” Steadfast love is loyal love. God’s love is based on his promise, not our performance. God does not love us because we are worthy of his love. God loves us because God promised to love us and God always keeps his word.
Malachi 3:6 says, “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” If God changed his mind about us, we would be consumed forever by his righteous wrath. But his steadfast love endures forever. People tend to love you until you give them a reason not to love you. But Romans 5:8 says: “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God is faithful.
Verse 5 ends: “and his faithfulness to all generations.” God is a God of truth. Everything God speaks is true. God only and always acts according to the truth. This is the faithfulness of God. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
God’s faithfulness is great because it endures to all generations. God was faithful to past generations. God will be faithful to future generations. Psalm 100 begins by broadening our perspective to all the earth. It concludes by lengthening our perspective to all generations. We acknowledge the faithfulness of God by thanking him for what he has already done. We also acknowledge the faithfulness of God by trusting him for what he is yet to do.
Psalm 100:5 is a summary of the character of God. God is good. God is love. God is faithful. But there is a better way to see the character of God than these statements of his attributes. God’s goodness lived in a human body. God’s love died on an old rugged cross. God’s faithfulness conquered the power of sin, death, and hell. The Lord Jesus Christ is the walking, talking, breathing incarnation of divine goodness, steadfast love, and faithfulness.
“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” – 2 Corinthians 9:15