The song He Has Made Me Glad was made popular some years ago by the Maranatha Singers. Based on Psalm 100, its lyrics speak of entering the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving and coming into his courts with praise. This simple song of praise continues to be used in worship today.
The Will of God for All the Earth
Psalm 100:1-3 says, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God.” The first two verses invite God’s people to worship and serve him and to come into his presence singing. They serve as a call to worship. We are to worship God and him alone with gladness and joy. We are to be thankful for all God has done for us. We can’t make a joyful noise without joy and we can’t serve with gladness unless we are glad. It would be like a mother or grandmother calling, “Come, its dinner time!” Of course this is a command we willingly obey because we’re looking forward to the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry salad, and oh yes, the pumpkin pie. Most of us wouldn’t have to be called a second time. True worship is so beautiful because of what our God has done for us. For the whole earth to worship God, something must happen to create the joy and gladness that then leads to true worship.
The Ingredient of True Worship
Psalm 100:4, 5 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations.” The main ingredient of worship is thanksgiving and our thanks is to be given to our awesome God. Thanksgiving empowers worship. It is the heart’s response to what God has done. Verses 4 and 5 depict the power that creates our worship and the beauty in it. The great musician whose songbook is in the middle of our Bibles ordained that there be musicians and singers amid the gatekeepers of the holy temple of God built by Solomon. King David declared, “Four thousand are to be gatekeepers and four thousand are to praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have provided for that purpose (1 Chronicles 23:5). Part of the duties of the Levites were to stand every morning and evening to thank and praise the Lord (v. 30). They were to come into his gates and his courts with thanksgiving and praise. When Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem after it had been destroyed, he repeated the pattern (Nehemiah 10:28). A choir director was under the king’s orders to offer thanks and praise daily (11:17, 23). We can lift up thanks and worship in private or in public; we are always in his presence. I love sitting around the table not only at Thanksgiving but at every meal, holding hands and lifting up praise and thankfulness to God.
American history provides a powerful testimony of our nation’s gratitude to God. I recall how our grade school teachers taught us the history of our pilgrim forefathers and how they called for days of thanksgiving to worship God. In times of draught the pilgrims lifted up prayers to God for rain. When the rain came they called for a Day of Thanksgiving worship. They were a common people of continual thanks. It is right and natural that we come into God’s house with a spirit of Thanksgiving.
Thankful in All Things
We have so much to be thankful for. Lord, help us to be thankful in a world that is full of sorrow and evil. Lord, help us to be thankful for our health when there is sickness and death all around us. Lord, help us to be thankful for a roof over our heads when others are homeless. Lord, help us to be thankful that we have food when others are hungry and thirsty. Lord, help us to be thankful that we have clothes to wear when others wear rags and go barefoot. Lord, help us to be thankful that we have the freedom to serve you when others are being persecuted daily for serving you. Lord, help us to be thankful that we have a Bible to read freely when others have only a page of Scripture that must be kept hidden. Lord, help us to be thankful that we can go to church and pray when others face arrest, prison, and even death for what we take for granted. Lord, help us to be thankful when we tend to complain about the small things when others are hurting and lost. Lord, please help us to be thankful each day that we are loved by a God who is indeed awesome.
Thanksgiving and Service
When I think of service to others it brings back a time when Rob and I worked with Light House Ministry when our kids were in junior high school. There were evenings when we ministered to 80 kids who were hopelessly running the streets. We and other workers invited these kids to a safe place where we shared God’s Word and his love for them. We watched Christian movies, sang worship songs, prayed with them, fed them, played pool and other games with them, and most of all loved and listened to them. Some of their stories were heartbreaking but God placed us there and I’m so glad he did. It’s been at least 15 years since these kids came into our lives and I am still in contact with at least 65 of them. I run into them in our community and connect with them on social media. I love seeing how they’ve grown. Many of them are in church, some are serving our country, some have gone on to college and graduated, some have good jobs and families. My heart is so thankful that God placed us there, but the other night I found out he is not done yet. One of our kids came to the house. We hadn’t seen her in years. She has had a hard life since she graduated. She remembered and missed the Light House, a place where she felt safe, accepted, and loved. I held and hugged her and most of all loved her with the love of my Lord. Thanksgiving to God is expressed upward and outward. Joy and gladness abound when we serve others from a heart of love.
As you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, remember to lift up thanks to God for the blessings he provides daily. Sing songs of praise and joy to him because God and God alone instills joy in our hearts—and joy we’re called to share with others. May we always be thankful in the little and the big things.
Cindy Hill Tuttle is a minister’s wife who serves alongside her husband, Rob, at Lowell Christian Church in Lowell, Ohio. She loves writing her morning devotions and sharing them with others. She is mother to Kelsie and Ryan and the blessed Mamaw of Emma Grace.