Today is Psalm 100.
I have taken a few breaks, and had a few guest posts, but otherwise, I’ve been writing consistently. For more than two years, I have returned to the Psalms week after week to see how this ancient song book might speak to my faith and my life.
It has been a sometimes encouraging, sometimes frustrating, sometimes inspiring, and sometimes infuriating journey.
It has also been unexpectedly amazing. In the last two and a half years, I have moved to across states, changed jobs (twice), watched my oldest start school, said goodbye to old friends and waved hello to new ones, and through it all, the Psalms have been my constant companion. They are a warm and tattered blanket for my soul.
Today I read the words of Psalm 100, words I have read many other times in my life. But as I look at them now, I realize how differently I see the words in light of the 99 psalms leading up to their message.
Psalm 100 is a praise Psalm. It is filled with the kind of phrases that can be used as empty platitudes over a worshipping space, pressing people to forget the hard stuff of life and put on their smiling faces.
Unless you read the first 99.
The first 99 help us see how the worshipping community has fought their way into this place of praise.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs. –Psalm 100:1-2
That though they now shout for joy, they have just as often (if not more often) cried out in grief and despair.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. – Psalm 100:3
That though they now sound confident in the Lord, they have just as often (if not more often) wondered if He had abandoned them.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name. –Psalm 100:4
That though they now enter his courts with praise, they have just as often (if not more often) longed for the day when they would have that closeness with him again.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. –Psalm 100:5
The Psalms declare that the Lord is good, but they never say that life is easy.
The Psalms proclaim that God’s love endures, but they never claim that pain isn’t its constant companion.
The Psalms are the hymns of humanity, weaving through brokenness and beauty in parallel to the experience of our lives.
The Psalms give us permission to approach God as we are, and know that we are welcome. Whether we come with ugly prayers of vengeance or stunning desires of commitment, we are embraced in the never-ending love of our Father.
I, for one, am grateful for that.
In honor of this milestone, I thought I would highlight some of Psalms in the first 100 of this series.
5 of the Most Popular:
- Psalm 55: Psalm 55, aka Praying While Wishing Others Were Buried Alive (a guest post by Steve Wiens)
- Psalm 45: On Becoming Less Self-Centered
- Psalm 4: The Monster that Always Comes Back
- Psalm 56: This I Know, God is For Me
- Psalm 57: Breakthrough, A Reflection on Psalm 57 (a guest post by Brenna D’Ambrossio)
5 of My Favorites:
- Psalm 23: How Much Do I Lack?
- Psalm 35: Psalm 35 Is Not For Me
- Psalm 42: The Thirst for God’s Presence
- Psalm 54: The Pursuit that Matters Most
- Psalm 86: Bringing Our Whole Selves to Prayer
5 of the Most Frustrating (Since the Psalms aren’t all roses and flowers, I want this recap list to reflect the wrestling…)
- Psalm 41: Sometimes I Don’t Understand The Bible
- Psalm 5: Justice Makes Me Uncomfortable
- Psalm 58: The Brutal Language of Psalm 58
- Psalm 2: I Wish Psalm 2 Didn’t Come After Psalm 1
- Psalm 76: When The Bible Falls Flat
Also in honor of this milestone, I’d like to thank all those who’ve joined me along the way. First and foremost, for all of you who have read along as I have pushed my way forward on this crazy adventure. Second, to all who have joined me on any of the link ups, including Perfect Number, Kirsten, Brenna, Ben, Jennifer, Marvia, Brandy, Abby, and Janice. (I really hope I didn’t miss anyone). Thank you for being part of this with me.
100 down, 50 more to go…
I would love it if you would link up with your own reflection of Psalm 100 below. And stop back next week with thoughts on Psalm 101. Also, if you have participated as a reader or writer, I would love it if you would celebrate with me and comment with any of your reflections or favorites from the first 100.