Sacred Winds Ministries

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The Call to the Father’s Faithfulness | Psalm 100:4

By Scott Gilbert

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!  Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Psalm 100:4

Psalm 100 is a call for the people of God to enter into His presence in joyful praise, particularly in giving thanks for His covenantal faithfulness to His people.  Although there are other psalms that emphasize thanksgiving in light of God’s enduring faithfulness, this is the only psalm in which the title explicitly identifies it as a psalm for giving thanks.

The call to enter into the Father’s gates and courts with praise and thanksgiving, which is the subject of verse 4 of this psalm, would have been identified by the psalm writer and the Israelites as a call to enter into the temple complex.  It was there that sacrifices were offered for the sins of the people and that the people went to worship the Lord.  It was there that the people went to be before the presence of the Lord, for the temple is often portrayed as representing the physical presence of God.

God’s presence was particularly manifested in relationship to the Ark of the Covenant, which was located in the Holy of Holies in the temple.  In Exodus 25:22 God proclaims that on the mercy seat of the ark “I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you….”  Over and over again throughout the Old Testament we see God identifying the Ark, and concomitantly the temple, as a place which served as a visual reminder of God’s presence with His people.  A vivid reminder of this reality occurred at Solomon’s dedication of the temple.

As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.  And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house.  When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”  (2 Chron 7:1-3)

Thus the call to enter into His gates and courts was a call to enter His presence; in entering into His presence, the psalmist calls us to worship God for His unfailing faithfulness.

On this side of the cross, we can now experience the reality of God’s presence toward which the temple was pointing—we can know Him in a personal and intimate way that has been opened to us through the new covenant.  Now, rather than entering through physical gates in a temple, we enter through Christ.  In the Gospel of John, one of the “I am” statements is Jesus’ proclamation, “I am the gate” (John 10:9).  He is the gate through which we may enter into fellowship with the Father, and all those who know Him can experience the reality of the presence of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Just as were the Israelites, we New-Covenant Believers are called to enter into His presence in worship and give thanks because of God’s enduring faithfulness.  In considering God’s faithfulness, Wayne Grudem writes that it means “that God will always do what he has said and fulfill what he has promised.  He can be relied upon, and he will never prove unfaithful to those who trust what he has said.  Indeed, true faith is taking God at his word and relying on him to do as he has promised” (Systematic Theology, 195).

In order to enter into God’s presence, we must believe that He is faithful, that what He says is true and that what He has promised will come to pass.  This is part of faith, for the person who believes in God must at the same time believe that what God says is true and that what God promises He will do.  Thus a basic aspect of faith, which is necessary for entering into His gates and courts, is to believe that God is faithful.

But, in the life of the believer, the faithfulness of God is not merely an aspect of faith, a doctrine to be believed—it is a reality to be experienced.  When God said that He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb13:5), that is not just a truth for us to believe, but a promise of God that we can experience.  When He said that our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west, we don’t just accept this statement by faith, but we also experience its reality as God grants us peace with Himself and forgiveness of our sin.  When He promised that nothing can separate us from His love (Rom 8:37-39), we not only cling to that precious truth in faith, but we also can live in light of the depth of God’s covenantal faithfulness toward us.

The call to enter God’s gates and courts with thanksgiving is a call to see and recognize the faithfulness of God; as we remember His truthfulness, promises, and how He has been ever faithful in our lives, we are driven to worship Him in spirit and truth.  May we do just that.  “Give thanks to him; bless his name!”

Scott Gilbert is Pastor of Discipleship and Children’s Ministries at Grace Baptist Church in Somerset, KY.


Celebrating God’s Faithfulness – June 9 at 2:30 PM at The First Federal Center


“I am impressed that the group is not satisfied with merely playing the standard repertoire.”

Thomas W. Bolton, Ph.D.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

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