Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. —Psalm 100:4-5
When we travel, we pack for the trip. We make sure that we don’t forget essential things for the journey. When we come into God’s presence, we are expected to bring with us some essential things also. Let’s take a look.
Coming Into Yahweh's Presence
This ending to Psalm 100 calls believers to come into God’s presence by traveling through his gates, into his courts. Into the very presence of God.
To fully understand the implications of being in God’s presence, we have to remember verse 3: “Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.”
Behind our English word for “LORD” here (all capital letters) is the sacred Hebrew name “Yahweh”—God’s personal name given by God to Moses that was so holy it was not even spoken by God’s people. The name Yahweh means “I am.” So the Psalmist reminds us whose presence we are coming into in verse 4 with the fact that Yahweh is God; he lives and absolutely is. God’s people would understand that this name means that God is self-existent and unchanging. He defines reality. He was in the beginning and will be in the end. He exists with no help from anything or anyone. He is completely unconstrained. He is the source of all goodness and beauty and truth. He need not consult any manual or almanac for these because he defines them all. All this is wrapped up in the meaning of “Yahweh.”
So verse 3 essentially sets the stage for our journey into God’s presence.
Appreciation and Admiration
And given what we know of Yahweh, it is no wonder that we are called to enter his presence by bringing two things: our thanksgiving and our praise (v. 4). Thanksgiving is our expression of gratitude to God for all that he has done. Praise is our expression of approval or admiration for God himself. So we are to come into God’s presence with appreciation and admiration for how God acts in our lives and in the world. It is an overflow of the love and honor and respect that we feel for God.
Closely tied to our thanksgiving is a call to “bless” God. We are urged to “Give thanks to him; bless his name” (Psalm 100:4)!
But how can mere mortals bless God? This word “bless” is a kind of adoration. When we bless God, it is an overflow of our affection and a reflection of God’s amazing worth. At its root, this word “bless” (baraku in Hebrew) means to speak words of adoration with bended knees. It paints a picture of a grateful and humble servant bowing before a king. It is both a posture of our hearts and a crying aloud about the state of our soul.
We can gain insight into this idea of blessing God in Psalm 34 and Psalm 66:
“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:1-3)!
“Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip…16 Come and hear, all your who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth and high praise was on my tongue” (Psalm 66:8, 16).
So Many Reasons
And verse 5 gives us the reason for this adoration: “For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
Yes, the Lord is good. He is beautiful and awesome. We should even ‘taste and see’ this goodness: “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8)!
Yes, God’s love and faithfulness are unshakable and eternal. How clearly we see this love in Jesus Christ. God has fulfilled his great plan to restore his creation by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to bear the punishment for our sins so that, through faith in Jesus, we can have forgiveness and new life. And how clearly we see God’s faithfulness to future generations! For now we who believe are called children and heirs of God’s glory (Romans 8:16–17), and in the future, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11).
So let’s not stop coming into God’s presence to appreciate, admire, and adore him for all that he is now and in the glorious future.
In the busyness of your life, are you taking the time to “enter His gates” by coming into God’s presence? Are you getting alone with God to talk with him and to read his Word?
Recall God’s love and faithfulness to you in your past. Is it causing you to thank and praise him in your present?
Are you thanking and blessing God for the eternal future that he has promised? Meditate on the incomparable worth of God for his glory and for your joy.