Psalm 100 really kicked my butt this week. It’s a command but in the form of a poem, which makes it harder to swallow. I think that we subconsciously associate art, such as poems, with romance because that’s the context we see it used most often.
Obviously, art can be used in other ways. Look at how Banksy uses his art as a canvas for political commentary or how To Write Love On Her Arms uses music as a platform to share hope with people struggling with depression or addiction. Art has the power to impact our souls.
Notice how Psalm 100 begins, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.” It doesn’t say, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, when you feel like it.” Or “Shout joyfully to the Lord, when life is good.” It commands us, all of us, to “shout joyfully” because as verse 5 says, “the Lord is good.” That’s easy for me to do right now. Believe me, I have no issue shouting joyfully to the Lord (those who know me can affirm this) because my life is relatively okay. My life is not always fun or carefree, but it definitely could be worse and that’s what wrestled with this week. What about when ‘worse’ becomes my life? Can I still shout joyfully to the Lord and say He is good?
I’m not going to lie, I really want to deem Psalm 100 as “just art” in light of its nonnegotiable command. I want to say, “the psalmist was just being poetic and writing out of the joy that he was feeling in that movement.” That may be true, but that doesn’t change its significance. If we believe that the Bible is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and that our God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8, James 1:16-18), then we can’t just deem Psalm 100 as “just art.”
I believe that Psalm 100 is a directive from God on how we should approach Him. The psalm isn’t saying that we aren’t going to go through hard times or to fake joy; it’s telling us to have faith. The Bible teaches us that if God is for us, nothing and no one can be against us (Romans 8:31-35). Perhaps Psalm 100 is reminding us that because God is for us, regardless of how crazy life gets, we can shout for joy. Moreover because of what Jesus has done for us (John 3:16-21), we can shout for joy.
This weekend in Resonate, we’re going to be singing about the faithfulness and goodness of God. The United States is going through some dark times. I have no doubt that some of you reading this or attending on Sunday are personally experiencing some dark times as well. The challenge for all of us, is to acknowledge God’s goodness in the midst, or regardless, of what we’re going through.
My prayer is that we can obey God’s Word and shout joyfully to Him because we truly believe that He is good.