Thankfulness shouts (100:1-2).
The psalmist calls us to shout for joy and serve with gladness. Worship is an action where one cannot remain silent or idle. The believer has every reason to shout and sing to God, being thankful for the many blessings He has given.
Shouting commands attention. For some strange reason youth enjoy shouting at random times for random reasons. Sometimes it is sincere due to elation at a sports event or positive circumstances. Or it can be due to pain or being upset. Other times it is completely arbitrary to let off steam or simply to get noticed. For most, shouting is a response of emotion. God should be the focus of our shout. I understand that may sound strange but let me explain.
Shouting is usually reserved for sporting events or outdoor celebrations. Just as a person can be emotionally excited over a sports team or a music band (hence a fan – fanatical) we should sense God calling us to be excited over His greatness. Above all things in the earth we should be a fan (fanatical) over God. He alone is worthy of the title ‘greatness’; after all He is LORD – Yahweh, Almighty, God of all gods. Therefore, our shouts should be directed to God, being thankful for who He is and what He does in our life.
Thankfulness knows (100:3).
The psalmist directs us to come before him with joyful songs, knowing God is our Creator and provider. The language is such that we may come before the face of God, looking into his eyes to speak to him. It is a personal, intimate knowledge of God.
Teens crave community. Just look at facebook, myspace, email, cell phones, texting and the like to understand the importance of social networks among students. God invites us to personally know Him. To know that God is our Creator. There is a common bond when we understand we are His people and He is our Shepherd. Knowing these simple truths about God causes our heart and lives to overflow with thankfulness.
Thankfulness enters (100:4-5).
The psalmist invites us to enter into God’s presence. In the Old Testament not every person could enter into God’s presence. There was limited access. Barriers were present between sinful man and a holy God. The temple was divided into 3 successive rooms: The outer room where Gentiles could roam; the next was an inner court with an altar had to be passed after sacrifices given. There were also laver filled with water for ceremonial cleansing. The purpose for these were preparations to enter more closely to God. Sacrifices and cleansing had to be made for the forgiveness of sin in approaching a holy God. Lastly, a veil that was approximately 60’ high and 4” thick stood between the next room, the holy of holies. The holy of holies was where God’s presence dwelt. Only the high priest could enter into God’s presence once a year (Ex 30:10, Heb 9:7). It is said that horses tied to each side of the veil could not tear it apart. However, on the day Jesus died this veil was ripped into two. The symbolism of this event shows God accepting Jesus’ once and for all sacrifice on the cross and inviting all to enter into His presence (Heb 10:19-20).
Again, teens must find unconditional acceptance and community in the family of God. Christian parents, adults and youth workers must cultivate caring, loving gospel environments where teens want to enter. However, this does not come easily. It starts by being real. Just as a person could not waltz through the rooms of the temple as they needed to be vulnerable and transparent confessing their sins to God, so it is today in relational ministry. Adults and teens must be honest, develop trust and two-way communication which can result in lives being transformed to worship God in all things. In this way, we can find that “the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
TAKING IT HOME
·Have a contest for students to create YouTube videos on the topic of “thankfulness”. The guidelines are
1) Be on topic
2) Be creative & original
3) Be respectful.
·Memorize Psalm 100
·Tell 3 people you are thankful for a specific way they have been influential in your life.
·Spend time as a family discussing things for which you are thankful God has done in your family this past year.