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Gates of Thanksgiving, Courts of Praise

by Cindy Wallace on July 27, 2020

Here we are…ready for our journey through the Tabernacle to see what we can learn about life in Christ.  This is not meant to be a passive journey, but an interactive one of your own personal reflection and worship as we go along.  The Psalmist showed us our starting point when he said, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!   Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:3)  Thanksgiving is the foundation of our life of worship.  It’s obvious enough, but you can’t get into a courtyard (properly anyway) without going through the gate.  When we enter the Lord’s gates with thanksgiving, praise follows.  Gratitude is a response to who God is and what He has done.  It is an attitude for life in general as well as specific responses to specific deeds.  That’s why the Apostle Paul left us this reminder, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thess. 5:18) 

Remember, the tabernacle is about living in and enjoying the presence of God.  Of course, as believers, God is always present with us because His Holy Spirit lives within us.  But even though He is always with us, we are not always with Him.  By that I mean we are not always aware of His presence, or sensitive to His working within us.  Living with that awareness and sensitivity begins in a thankful heart that offers praise to God for Who He is and what He has done. 

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 107:1)  “Good” is a word we use so often that it’s likely we miss the significance of what the goodness of God means.  It’s more than just an expression of a pleasant experience or outcome.  When we say, “God is good,” we’re talking not only about His character, but His beneficent nature as manifested by His steadfast love—a love so enduring that it lasts forever

Not only does the word “good” describe His character and nature, but also His conduct.  Psalm 107 describes various situations where God intervened on man’s behalf to bring them through bad situations, and in every case the conclusion was the same, “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!”  (vv.8,15,21,31) His steadfast love is shown in acts of compassion, grace, patience, faithfulness and forgiveness—acts of mercy consistent with His character and nature.  Look at the work of God described in Psalm 107:  He redeems, He gathers, He rescues, He leads, He satisfies, He fills, He saves, He sends His Word and heals, He speaks and raises a tempest, He brings out of distress, He stills the storm, He guides, He blesses, He lifts the needy out of suffering, He makes families like flocks.  (And this is just a short list!)  How about you?  Have you been the recipient of help and blessings from Almighty God Himself?  Of course, you have, and you have reason to be thankful and reason to express that thanks in praise to His name. 

Praise is the outward expression of inward gratitude.  We typically think of praise as the time we spend together singing in our Sunday morning services.  But an expression of praise can take many forms—a song, a reading, a painting….  The ability for creative and artistic expression was given to us by God for the purpose of returning it to Him in praise.  “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever. Amen!” (Romans 11:36)  Sadly, not all use their gifts for His glory.  By the way, gifting is not limited to artistic expression.  “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17)  Praise is the outward expression of inward gratitude

Praise is an act of the will.  Over and over in the book of Psalms, David makes declarations of his determination to praise the Lord.  Psalm 145:1-2 is just one example of many:

I will extol Thee, my God, O King
And I will bless Thy name forever and ever.
Everyday I will bless Thee,
And I will praise Thy name forever and ever.

Just look at the number of times he says, “I will”.  I will extol…I will bless…I will bless…I will praise. 

Praise is an act of humility.  Look at what the Psalmist determined to do: 

  • extol (to rise or raise)
  • bless (to bend the knee—an act of submission and reverence)
  • praise (to shine, to make a show, to boast)  

In essence he is saying to God, “I will raise You up, and I will bow down.  I will boast about You.”  Do you hear the words of John the Baptist echoing this sentiment?  “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)  Or the words of the LORD to the prophet Jeremiah? 

Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this:  that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD. (Jer. 9:23-24) 

Praise is to be perpetual.  In the Psalm 145 passage we saw these words, “I will bless Thy name forever and ever…I will praise Thy name forever and ever.”  Forever means there are no limits; no limits on time, and no limits on situations or circumstances of life.  There is nothing to keep you from praising the Lord.  These words open the following chapter:

Praise the Lord! 
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Here’s the CW translation of these verses:  With all my thoughts, actions and feelings, I will express my thanks and confidence in the Lord.  With all I am for as long as I am, I will praise the Lord!  So, how about it?  Let’s do it!  Let’s praise the Lord right now.

*Lord, You are good, Lord, You are right
You have scattered the darkness, now we walk in Your light
Everything is changed as we yield to Your touch, now we exalt You as Lord 

Out of the abundance of our hearts we thank You
We joyfully sing Your praises, O Lord!
Out of the abundance of our hearts we thank You
We bless Your Name, O Lord
We bless Your name, we bless Your name now and forevermore. 

Let me dwell in Your presence, O Lord
To gaze on Your beauty and strength

Touch my heart as I worship You, Lord
'Til everything in this temple You're making of me says, "Glory!"
Let it cry, “Glory!”

*Out of the Abundance | The Oklahoma Baptist Children’s Chorus
Words and Music by Cindy Wallace | © Copyright Cindy Wallace 2004


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