Be Thankful

Bible Book: Psalms  100 : 1-5
Subject: Gratitude; Thankful
Series: Psalms - Kirksey

“Be thankful to Him. . .” (Psalm 100:4b).

Dr. John Summerfield Wimbish (1915-1982), immediate predecessor of Dr. Stephen F. Olford (1918-2004) at Calvary Baptist Church in New York City, reminds us “Thanksgiving is the keynote of the 100th Psalm.”[1]

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists were thankful to God and celebrated His blessings with the Wampanoag Indians. Other colonies did the same. Historical revisionists might tell us otherwise.

President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) proclaimed a yearly national observance of Thanksgiving each November. His proclamation reads in part, “I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens . . . to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our Beneficent Father.”[2] Remember this was before the ACLU.

While God is the Father of all men by creation, He is only the Father of believing men in salvation. According to His word only those who repent of sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be His children for all eternity in heaven.

From Psalm 100 we read, “Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; / Come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; / It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; / We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, / And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; / His mercy is everlasting, / And His truth endures to all generations.”

Allow me to share three reasons to be thankful from our passage.


I. Be thankful for the Lord’s attention (Psalm 100:1-3).

We read in Psalm 100:1-3, “Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; / Come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; / It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; / We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

Dr. Joseph E. Faulkner shares, “A very obese man was talking arrogantly to a young child about his accomplishments. ‘I am a self-made man,’ he proudly declared. The youngster looked at him a moment and then asked in childish innocence, ‘Why did you make yourself that way then?’

Dr. Faulkner comments, “We are not self-made individuals.”[3]

Please note three verities about our Lord in these three verses, namely, His presence, His people, and His pasture.

Believers enjoy the Lord’s presence. The psalmist includes himself as the Lord’s people, who like sheep, feed in His pasture. Dorothy A. Thrupp (1779-1847), the hymn writer, expresses this thought in the following, “Savior like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care.”[4]

Three psalms focus on our Lord. For example, Psalm 22 speaks of the Good Shepherd; Psalm 23 the Great Shepherd; and Psalm 24 the Glorious Shepherd. These psalms find New Testament parallels in John 10:1-18, Hebrews 13:20-21, and 1 Peter 5:4, respectively.

Corresponding with Psalm 22, we read in John 10:1-18, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. ‘Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

Corresponding to Psalm 23, we read in Hebrews 13:20-21, “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Corresponding to Psalm 24, we read in 1 Peter 5:4, “When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”


II. Be thankful for the Lord’s attainment (Psalm 100:4a).

We read in Psalm 100:4a, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, / And into His courts with praise.” Only God is worthy of our worship.


A. His Worshiper’s Gates

Gates speak of access. In the words of the hymn writer, “He has opened heaven’s door and man is blessed forevermore. Christ was born for this, / Christ was born for this.” Scholars tell us this hymn titled “Good Christian Men, Rejoice” translated by John Mason Neale featured in his Carols for Christmastide published in London, England in 1853. Some attribute it to Heinrich Suso (died 1366), Peter of Dresden (died circa 1440) and Valentin Triller (circa 1573).

Are you thankful for the attainment of His atonement? We read in 1 John 2:1-2, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” The word “propitiation” means “atoning sacrifice.” From Hebrews 9:16-28 we read, “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.’ Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”


B. His Worship-filled Courts

Rev. Martin Rinkard (1586-1649) penned these words in 1636 that were later translated into English as follows, "Now thank we all our God / With heart and hands and voices; / Who wondrous things hath done..."[5]

We read about the dedication of the temple by Solomon in 2 Chronicles 6-7. In the Old Testament God had a temple for His people; in the New Testament He has a people for His temple. Currently, Israel does not have a temple and many who read these words are not Israelites. However, there is an application for corporate worship. From Hebrews 10:25 we read, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”


C. His Worshipping Subjects

From time to time we see a sign above the entrance of a sanctuary that reads, “Enter to worship” and above the exit, another sign reads, “Depart to serve.”


1. Worship with thanksgiving.

Paul the Apostle writes in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Every aspect of worship is to be with thanksgiving.


2. Worship with praise.

Rev. Charles Wesley (1707-1788), penned these words in 1739, "O for a thousand tongues to sing, My great / Redeemer's praise; The glories of my God and King, The triumphs of His grace!"[6]


III. Be thankful for the Lord’s attributes (Psalm 100:4b-5).

From Psalm 100:4b-5 we read, “Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; / His mercy is everlasting, / And His truth endures to all generations.”


A. His Exalted Name

God’s name reveals His nature. For example, the name Jehovah-Jireh speaks of God’s provision. Be careful about creating your own names for God. We read in Exodus 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” Beware of mixing the name of Jehovah with pagan deities like Baal. We read in 1 Kings 18:21a, “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’”

Rev. Matthew Henry (1662-1714) declares, “Let us know then these... things concerning the Lord Jehovah, with whom we have to do in all the acts of religious worship: That the Lord He is God, the only living and true God - that He is a Being infinitely perfect, self-existent, and self-sufficient, and the fountain of all being; He is God, and not a man as we are. He is an eternal Spirit, incomprehensible and independent, the first cause and last end. The heathen worshipped the creature of their own fancy; the workmen made it, therefore it is not God. We worship him that made us, and all the world; He is God, and all other pretended deities are vanity and a lie, and such as He has triumphed over.”[7]


B. His Everlasting Mercy

We read in Lamentations 3:21-23, “This I recall to my mind, / Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, / Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; / Great is Your faithfulness.”

From Hebrews 4:15-16 we read, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Dr. Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910) confessed, “Our song will be always of His mercy and our whole lives a thank-offering.”[8]

In the words of Sir Robert Grant (1778-1838), “Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, / In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail; / Thy mercies how tender! How firm to the end! Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.”[9]


C. His Enduring Truth

Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

From Psalm 85:10 we read, “Mercy and truth have met together; / Righteousness and peace have kissed.”



Signs of the times stack one upon another to the point we are not looking for a sign as much as we are listening for a shout of the voice of an archangel and for the sound of the trump of God. Make certain you are ready.

Dr. R. Rees tells, “Not long ago a man stepped into a little shop in New York City to make a purchase. To the little shopkeeper he made a quiet reference to prayer and its power. Instantly the man appeared interested; so much so that when he had finished wrapping the package and ringing up the transaction on his cash register, he came from behind the counter, took hold of the two lapels of the man’s coat and, looking him earnestly in the face, said hungrily, ‘Can you get to God?’

‘Yes, indeed,’ replied the gentleman. ‘Many years ago He saved my soul, and since then I have had the joy of knowing Him and walking with Him in happy fellowship. Would you like to find Him?’

There were tears in that merchant’s eyes as he gave his answer: ‘Mister, I have tried to find God for many years. I have gone around Manhattan and Brooklyn and the Bronx, night after night, attending services, but failed always to find God. Can you tell me how to get to Him?’

‘Perhaps,’ suggested the gentleman, ‘you have tried to get to God, without going to Him through the Lord Jesus Christ.’ He opened his Bible and read to the man John 14:6—‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me,’ He also read 1 Peter 3:18—‘Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.’ After commenting on these and two or three other passages of Scripture, the suggestion was made that the two men bow their heads and engage in a quiet prayer. The merchant agreed at once, lowering his head and began to pray: ‘Lord Jesus, I see that You came to die for me and to bring me to God. I believe in You and I come to You now with my sins for You to save me, and I believe that You do. I trust You with my soul.’

Then, something happened. That moment of spiritual surrender became the moment of spiritual splendor. Deep within the consciousness of that God-hungry man was born the assurance that he had gotten through to the very heart of the Eternal Father. A similar confidence will come to you, O man without God, if you will open your soul in humble confession of your sins and in deep, earnest, personal reception of Jesus

Christ as your Saviour. Then—and not until then—can you know the meaning of Thanksgiving at its highest and best.”[10]

Paul also writes about the end of an empire in the first chapter of the book of Romans, where in verse 21, we find the phrase, “nor were thankful” prominently mentioned. We find a divinely inspired descriptive indicator of the end of the world in the third chapter of 2 Timothy, where we read in verse two that people will be “unthankful”. It is interesting to note the importance of being thankful to God. The psalmist states, “Know that the LORD, He is God” (Psalm 100:3a) and he exhorts us in verse 4b, to “be thankful to Him”.

When the Pilgrims came to the new land they were thankful even though they suffered many privations and dug many graves to bury those who did not survive the harsh conditions. They were thankful because they were free to worship God without the interference of the state.

Be thankful for the Lord’s attention, attainment, and attributes. For these things and so many more, may we always remember to be thankful!

[1]John Summerfield Wimbish, “Thanksgiving. . . 100th Psalm” (Psalm 100)


[2]President Abraham Lincoln’s national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, Issued October 3, 1863, Available from: Accessed: 11/ 21/10


[3]Joseph E. Faulkner, “Thinking About Thanksgiving” (Psalm 100)

[4]Dorothy A. Thrupp, “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us” (1836)


[5]Martin Rinkard, “Now thank we all our God” (1636)


[6]Charles Wesley, “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” (1739)


[7]Matthew Henry, An Exposition of All the Books of the Old and New Testaments in Five Volumes, Volume 2, (London: W. Lochhead, 1804), p. 880


[8]Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: Second Corinthians, Galatians, and Philippians, (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1906), p.240


[9]Sir Robert Grant, “O Worship the King” (1833)


[10]R. Rees, “A Thanksgiving Classic” (Psalm 100)


By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on and / / (251) 626-6210

© November 20, 2011 All Rights Reserved