“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
The Hebrew meaning of the word psalm is hymn or praise.
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” Psalm 95:1-2.
You will notice that some of the psalms will have a notation under the psalm number such as, a psalm of David, or a psalm of Asaph, there may be instructions to the chief musician; whatever the notation, they are not part of the actual psalm but they were put there by inspiration so do not ignore them.
This psalm is what is called an orphan because there is no notation or author given. Remember all the psalms were not written by King David.
This is a worship psalm as all of them are in one way or another. The psalms were written for the Israelites which is obvious; but many of them are messianic and concern Jesus; His incarnation, His death and resurrection, or His return to judge and rule the entire earth.
So there are words of encouragement, teaching, or cautions in all of them for the Christian. Because of these things it is important to be careful to discern what words are for Israel, and which words are for both Christians and Israel.
Both the Christian and the Israelite should know that all of Scripture, whether prophecy, biblical types, examples, or plain words, as in the four gospels are all about Jesus, all about Jesus.
After His resurrection from the dead Jesus met two men on the road to Emmaus, but they did not recognize Him, and in response to their confusion about the crucifixion He told them the following things.
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:25-27.
“For in Him [Jesus] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily…” Colossians 2:9.
“Oh come let us sing to the Lord [Yahweh]! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.” Psalm 95:1.
The Rock mentioned here is Christ and is a reference to the rock which Moses struck to bring forth water for the children of Israel when they complained. He then named the rock Massah and Meribah as recorded in Exodus 17:1-7. This Rock is referred to again in this Psalm 95:8-10.
That the Rock was Christ is made clear by the Apostle Paul:
“…and all [the children of Israel] drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4.
“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” Psalm 95:2.
One expositor wrote that the word for thanksgiving is actually confession. This should be a precursor to worship, which is described in these verses. One should confess to the Lord (in their hearts) the things that He brings to their minds such as offenses against others or specific sins.
For the most part such things should be taken care of before going to church, but if someone has done all this and then thinks of something while in church, it can be done in their hearts right there, and anything more can be taken care of later.
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:7-10.
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24.
Notice that it says if your brother has something against you, not if you have something against your brother. If you have something against your brother, you can forgive them right there; but if they have something against you, it is you who must be reconciled with them.
Now the Christian’s offering is not a burnt offering it is himself.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1.
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15.
You can see the error of coming into church with sin on your hands and expecting God to be pleased with your sacrifice.
“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord [takes communion] in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.” 1 Corinthians 11:27-31.
Having cleansed our hearts of known sin let us now come before the Lord with thanksgiving.
So many churches today are just dead services because folks have forgotten thanksgiving. They come to church because that is where they are supposed to be, and worship God because that is what they are supposed to do.
Thanksgiving is remembering the goodness God has shown to us, and is in short supply today because no one examines the many things which are miraculous really that come into our lives.
If we really believed that in all things we are to give thanks we would begin to see just how many wonderful things come our way.
Folks think that things, a new house, new car or winning the lottery are what we are to be thankful for, but God is not a genie in a bottle and we are not always blessed with stuff.
“…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:16-21.
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.
“That their [your] hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3.
“Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Ephesians 5:20.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:15-17.
God’s greatest gift to us is Himself, and we shall never begin to understand this until we learn to count our blessings and give thanks continually as we see them.
“…the word of the Lord came unto Abram [Abraham] in a vision, saying, ‘Fear not, Abram. I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.’” Genesis 15:1.
God is a shield and exceeding great reward to everyone who puts their trust in Him.
But no one will realize this until they count their blessings and see how many times they have dodged a bullet, or received a blessing small or great, such as making an appointment when no else could, or finding a sale unexpectedly, or attending an uncertain meeting with their boss, and having it work out quietly in their favor.
Count your blessings and you will realize that it is the goodness of God that leads you to repentance and a right relationship with God, Romans 2:4b.
“…The riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4b.
When we enter into worship with a thankful heart it is then it can be said: “Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms [in song].”
Psalm 95:1-2 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 2-2-15, updated on 1-3-23.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.