A psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! 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. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
This is the word of God.
The superscription above verse one reads, in the ESV, "A psalm for giving thanks," and I want to use those words to label the message this morning: A Psalm for Giving Thanks.
Imagine that you are a Jew who lives in the Ancient Near East. The time for one of the Jewish annual feasts has come. You make the pilgrimage from where you live to the holy city of Jerusalem in obedience to the Torah. Your ultimate destination is the temple, your purpose is worship, and your motivation is thanksgiving for all that God has done for you and your people. You leave home focused, determined, and expectant, but something changes along the way. The journey is long and the sun is hot, the path is unyielding, the animal that you are bringing to sacrifice is burdensome, and the caravan that you are traveling with is noisy. You left home focused but now you are frustrated, and you keep asking yourself, "Why did I leave home again to go through this?" You can't answer that question because you have lost sight of the reason you are headed to Jerusalem in the first place. You would go home but you have traveled this far, you might as well press on.
So you press on until you begin to draw near to Jerusalem. ...
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