“Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” ~ Psalm 100:3
The placement of our text, verse three in the hundredth Psalm, is peculiar because its content appears to be the premise upon which the two preceding verses are established.
“1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the Lord He is God…” ~ Psalm 100:1-3a
In other words, one would assume that knowing “that the Lord He is God…” is the reason for making “a joyful noise” (Psalm 100:1), for serving “the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2a), and for coming before His presence with singing (Psalm 100:2b). In (yet) other words, it would appear to make more sense that vs. 3 came before verses 1 and 2.
However, the placement of v. 3 in the Psalm is part of its message. Specifically, there is a knowledge of God that is innate; Romans 1:19-20 explains it thus:
“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead;” ~ Romans 1:19-20a
This innate knowledge of God is sufficient for us to respond to Him: to acknowledge Him and seek Him. And, more specifically, to accept His offer of salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son Christ Jesus.
However, this innate knowledge of God is not what our text, Psalm 100:3, is talking about. Notice that the command to “know” God and His attributes comes AFTER the invitation in verse 2 to “come before His presence”. That is, the knowledge mentioned in verse 3 arises from intimate fellowship with God: it is not the innate/common/general knowledge of God, it is a PERSONAL and RELATIONAL knowledge of Him.
As an example, consider the difference between a citizen knowing the identity of the king of their country; and a friend knowing not just the identity of the king, but also his character and personality. Because that friend has a personal relationship with the king.
Therefore, the fourth step to thanksgiving is knowing God personally, BECAUSE we have communed with Him joyously (step three).
And what can we know about God from our personal relationship with Him?
Our text has one primary message: “Know” that God is Sovereign/Almighty/Omnipotent. And to make sure we get the point, it is repeated three times:
- The Lord He is God
- it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
- we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
God wants us to know that He alone is in total control.
But this begs the question: “Don’t we know that already?”
The answer is no, not really.
Indeed, God continually reaffirms this truth in our lives, because we tend to deny/forget it.
For an illustration, let us consider the life of Jacob. Jacob met God in a vision/dream when he was on his way to Haran (Genesis 28:10-22). In that dream God told Jacob of His plan to bless him and raise up a people through him, and through that people God would bless the whole world. Yet, Jacob never accepted God’s sovereignty over his life until he had a crisis at Peniel (Genesis 32:23-31). There, it took an all-night wrestling match with God before Jacob acknowledged that he could not survive without God’s blessing. He had to fight with God before he accepted that he was the sheep and God was the Shepherd.
Likewise, though many of us acknowledge Jehovah as God, we still find it hard to submit our lives completely to Him. We still try to steer our own ship; we still want to chart our own course. We daily make decisions without ever consulting the One we claim is our God: our actions often do not reflect our words. God wants to change that.
Indeed, God is determined to change that attitude in His children, just as he was with Jacob. And that change comes through communion with Him. As we “come before His presence” (Psalm 100:2b), as we interact with Him personally, His Lordship, His authority becomes real to us. We discover with an ever deepening realization that He is God; He is our Creator; He is our Shepherd.
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” ~ John 4:23-24
This step of knowing God, is imperative on our journey to thanksgiving. For we cannot truly worship a God we don’t know personally. The truth of God’s Sovereignty must resonate in our lives, for worship, for thanksgiving to be a reality.
“Thus saith the Lord,
Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
neither let the mighty man glory in his might,
let not the rich man glory in his riches:
But let him that glorieth glory in this,
that he understandeth and knoweth Me,
that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth:
for in these things I delight,
saith the Lord.”
~ Jeremiah 9:23-26a