Psalm 100, Charles Spurgeon Commentary
May the Spirit of God, by whose inspiration David penned these Psalms, bless them to us as we read them! This is entitled “a Psalm of Praise.” Note here that this is the only Psalm which bears that title; there are others which have titles very much like it, but this one is singled out from all the rest to be, in a very special sense, “a Psalm of Praise.” Martin Luther was very fond of it, and it has even been said that he composed the tune which are have just sung, and which is commonly called “the Old Hundredth”; though others attribute it to a German named Franc.
Do you notice the missionary spirit here? The Jews looked upon God as the God of Israel, and they had but very faint desires for the conversion of other nations; but the Holy Ghost speaks more by David than David himself may have known: Make a joyful noise unto Jehovah, all ye lands.” We ought to express the praise of God, not merely to feel it, and to express it by what is here called “a joyful noise”; and all our songs to God should have in them a measure of joyfulness. The gods of the heathen were worshipped with dolorous noises, with sorrowful sounds, and cries of misery, but the God of heaven is to be worshipped with a joyful noise: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.” Oh, that the day were come when China, and India, and all Asia, Africa, America, and Europe, would take up the gladsome note of praise to Jehovah!
What a text that is!” Serve the Lord, “obey him, yield to him your homage; but serve him “with gladness.” He wants not slaves to grace his throne, he loves willing worship, happy worship, for he is “the happy God.” “Serve the Lord with gladness.”
Singing is delightful, but singing in God’s presence is heavenly. Do not the spirits that are made pure and holy come before his presence, and come before it with singing? I wish that whenever we sing, we would sing as in the presence of God. I am afraid that we sometimes go through the tune mechanically, and the words languish on our lips: “Come before his presence with singing.”
One says, “Man, know thyself,” and another says, “The proper study of mankind is man.” Not so; man, know thy God; the proper study of mankind is God. He who knows God knows himself; that is, he knows himself to be nothing. “Know ye that Jehovah, he is God.” There is but one God, it is the same God in the Old Testament as in the New, Jehovah, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Note the negative, as if to deny that we had any hand in our own making, and this is also worthy of notice spiritually. It is the Lord who hath made us Christians, and not we ourselves; he has created us in Christ Jesus. There are some who lay such stress upon the human will, and I know not what besides in man, that it is necessary to put in the negative as well as the positive: “It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.”
Praise him, then. Praise him because he is your Maker; praise him more sweetly because he is your Shepherd. If we are his people, here is his electing love, here is his effectual calling, here is the grace of his Spirit that made us so. “We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” He leads us, he feeds us, he protects us, he has bought us with his precious blood. Truly, this is good reason why we should make a joyful noise unto God, and serve him with gladness: “We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” Are you his people? O my dear hearer, ask thyself, art thou one of the sheep of his pasture?
Gratitude is that oil which makes the wheels of life revolve easily; and if anybody ought to be grateful, surely we are the men and women, for whom the Lord has done so much: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise.”
Should we not praise so good a God?
“His truth”, — that is to say, his truthfulness, his faithfulness to his people. This is a blessed Psalm, and it seems to me to reach the highest point of praise when it tells us that “The Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”