by Wayne Rodgers
“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” (Psalm 100:4,5 NKJV).
While the Bible is full of commands to be thankful, the Psalmist gives reasons why we should praise God and be thankful.
First, “the Lord is good.” To say that the Lord is good might seem like an understatement. This statement is obviously in direct opposition by those who say that God is evil. Others claim that God is manipulative and cite Job as their test subject, but forget or fail to read the fact that God asked Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (Job 1:1, 8). These statements imply that this “servant” of God shunned evil and served God.
There are some who claim that because God took away Adam and Eve’s “eternal life,” He committed the first “evil.” This is just not true, because sin is evil and unrighteousness (1 John 3:4; 5:17). As the Psalmist claims, “the Lord is good.” James reminds us that “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13, KJV). He then tells us that sin (a.k.a., evil; unrighteousness) is born in the lusts (desires) of men, not God.
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15).
Second, “His mercy is everlasting.” Mercy is defined as (1) leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice; (2) a disposition to be kind and forgiving; (3) the feeling that motivates compassion; something for which to be thankful; (4) Alleviation of distress; (5) showing great kindness toward the distressed [WordWeb]. Because we (mankind) have offended the goodness and righteousness of God through our sins, we stand as condemned. However, because of the compassion, kindness and love of God, those who follow His plan can find leniency in the justice of God. Paul explains in the letter to the Ephesians:
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7, emphasis, WR).
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:9-11, emphasis, WR).
All of this is accomplished through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Notice the phrases, “…his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7) and “…which he purposed [planned] in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:11). The Psalmist reminds us this great “mercy is everlasting,” and may we ever praise God for it!
Third, “His truth endures to all generations.” God has always given direction to His creation. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Throughout creation’s history, God has given His truth as that direction. The Hebrews’ writer recorded: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-2a).
Jesus in His prayer to the Father explained, “thy word is truth” (John 17:17). It is through our obedience to that “truth” that will “direct” us in His “mercy.” Luke records the apostles preaching on the Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus:
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:37-40, emphasis, WR).
The apostle Peter spoke of the endurance of God’s Word [a.k.a. “truth”]:
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:18-25, emphasis, WR).
May we ever thank and praise the God of Heaven who loved us so much and has made a way that we might be saved from our sins. The implication from the Psalmist is that because of the goodness of God, His mercy and His truth, we should be motivated to worship Him. Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).