God Wants His People to Rejoice!
Our Favorite Psalms #10: God Wants His People to Rejoice!
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Jan. 15, 2012
BACKGROUND & INTRODUCTION:
*Does God want His people to rejoice? -- Without a doubt, He does.
*The first time we ever see the word “rejoice” in the Bible is Exodus 18:9, “Then Jethro rejoiced for all the good which the Lord had done for Israel, whom He had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.”
*God uses this word “rejoice” 257 more times in the Bible. Listen to a few examples:
-Deut 12: 7, “And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.”
-Psalm 20:5, “We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.”
-Psalm 33:1, “Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.
-Psalm 105:3, “Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord.”
*And most famous, Phil 4:4, where the Apostle Paul said: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” -- God surely wants His people to rejoice.
*Imagine for a moment that you were on the game show “Deal or No Deal.” You got down to two cases: one dollar and one million dollars. You decide to go for it, and you won the million dollars! -- How would you react?
*Would you say, “Oh well, thank you very much?” -- No way! --You would shout with the greatest joy. That’s the atmosphere of this great Psalm of celebration. “Make joyful noise, make a joyful shout to the Lord!”
*That word “shout” or “noise” is an interesting word. The original Hebrew word was “roo-ah'.” The root word picture was to break or split something apart. So this word “roo-ah'” meant “ear-splitting sound.” And it sounds like a word made for shouting: ROO-AH’!
*It is the same word we see when Joshua fought the battle of Jericho. Listen to Joshua 6:16&20:
16. And the seventh time it was so, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: "Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!”
20. So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
*“Make joyful noise, make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!” -- Same word.
*The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once explained the spirit of celebration in Psalm 100 this way: “Our happy God should be worshipped by a happy people. A cheerful spirit is in keeping with his nature, his acts, and the gratitude which we should cherish for his mercies in every land. . .” (1)
I. God surely wants His people to rejoice. Psalm 100 tells us when and why.
1. First: Rejoice when you serve. As we see in vs. 2: “Serve the Lord with gladness!”
*In 2 Thess 3:13, Paul tells believers not to “grow weary in doing good.” But sometimes we do. Don’t give in to that. Trust God to renew your strength, and serve the Lord with gladness.
*In the early 2000’s, Martin & Gracia Burnham were American missionaries serving in the Philippines. On May 27, 2001, Martin & Gracia were kidnapped by Islamic terrorists. At the time, they were visiting a resort, celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary. The couple was held for ransom for more than a year. On June 7, 2002, a Philippine army unit moved in to rescue the hostages. Martin was killed by a stray bullet and Gracia was wounded.
*At Martin’s memorial service, it was reported that the last thing the couple did before the raid was to pray together. Martin told his wife, “We might not leave this jungle alive, but at least we can leave this world serving the Lord with gladness. We can serve Him right here, where we are, and with gladness.” (2)
*Surely we too can serve the Lord with gladness right here, where we are.
-Rejoice when you serve.
2. And rejoice when you sing. Again in vs. 2: “Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.”
*God wants us to come before His presence overflowing with joy, as we sing praises to Him. Yes, there is a place in worship for other emotions. But we can’t leave out the joy. God wants to see obvious joy in our singing to Him.
-Rejoice when you sing.
3. And in vs. 4, rejoice when you step closer to the Lord: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”
*In the Temple, there was a court for the Gentiles, a court for the Jewish women, and a court for the Jewish men. Each court was closer to the Holy of Holies, and thereby, closer to the Lord. But there was only so far you could go as a Gentile, as a woman, as a man or as a priest. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and only once a year.
*But all of those barriers were broken down when Jesus died on the cross. God even tore open the curtain to the Holy of Holies to show us that now we all have access to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ.
-God wants us to seek His face. God wants us to get closer and closer to Him.
-And God wants us to overflow with joy, as we get closer to Him.
*Rejoice when you serve, when you sing, and when you step closer to God. That’s when to rejoice.
II. But if your joy level is low tonight, God also gives us some great reasons why to rejoice.
1. First: Rejoice over our creation by God. -- In vs. 3, “Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.”
*Think about the wonders of God’s creation. He was able to create it all with just a few words! And the vast reaches of the universe are nothing to Him.
*A Navigator writer showed us the awesomeness of our Creator God this way. He matched scientific measurements with some statements about God in Isaiah 40:12.
-The oceans of the world contain more than 340 quintillion gallons of water, yet God holds them “in the hollow of his hand.”
-The earth weighs 6 sextillion metric tons, yet to God all that is like “dust on the scales.”
-The known universe stretches more than 150 billion light years but God measures it by the width of his hand.
*On top of all this, scientists claim there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the universe. Our own Milky Way galaxy alone contains 200 billion stars. And the nearby Andromeda galaxy has a trillion stars. But Isaiah 40:26 tells us that God calls each star by name. (3)
*But God didn’t just create this amazing universe. -- He created you! He didn’t have to do that, you know. He didn’t have to make you. But He did -- rejoice!
*Last Tuesday, we got an email from Dr. John Avant at First Baptist in West Monroe. And his testimony helps us see what a wonder it is that we ever got here in the first place.
*John wrote: “Ninety-three years ago today, a teenage boy from Alabama lay dying in the snows of Siberia, blown up, stabbed and run over by a train. He was fighting for his country in a forgotten war in Siberia at the end of World War I. But God was looking down the hallway of history and had a plan for the future that required that young boy to live. The Lord miraculously saved him, raised him up and brought him home.
*As many of you know, that young man was my grandfather. On the anniversary of that terrible experience where he lost his leg and almost lost his life, I meditate with awe on the amazing sovereignty of God. Had he died there, I would not exist; my children would not exist. I would never have the joy of knowing you, loving you, pastoring you, sharing life with you.
*Have you ever stopped to think about how amazing God’s love for you is that He has been planning, preparing and working for not just hundreds -- but for thousands of years -- to ensure that you were here, that you had a chance to live and to breathe, to love Him and to love others, and to make a difference in this world.
*Rejoice in the Lord, church! -- “It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.”
-Rejoice over our creation by God.
2. But Christians, also rejoice over our connection with God. -- Again in vs. 3: “Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
*Here we see God in relationship with His people. Think about the connections we see in this verse.
 First: The Psalmist urges us to “know that the Lord, He is God.” -- That word “know” is not just talking about facts and information. It’s not just head knowledge. It’s heart knowledge too, knowing the Lord in a close, personal way
*“Know.” -- It’s the same Old Testament word used to describe the oneness between a husband and wife. And God uses this word to point us to the spiritual oneness we can have with Him.
 Next: “We are His people.” This can mean His countrymen. Christians, we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, with God as our perfect King!
 “We are His people.” This can also mean we are God’s kin, His relatives. God wants to be our Father, our Brother and our Best Friend.
*We can be part of the family of God, so we are talking about a close connection here:
-Knowing the God of Heaven up close in our heart...
-Knowing the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ...
-Knowing Jesus as our best friend, Savor and Lord...
-Having an eternal connection with Almighty God.
 We are His people, but we are also the sheep of His pasture. Again there is a connection, a relationship. We are His sheep and He is our Good Shepherd.
*But why does God say that we are sheep? -- One reason is because sheep have a tendency to stray. Left to themselves, sheep wander off and get into trouble. And all of us have. As Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray.”
*The other thing about sheep is that they need a shepherd. Sheep are totally defenseless. They cannot take care of themselves. They need a shepherd. We need a shepherd!
*So we have to realize that we are sheep in need of a Shepherd. Then we have to trust that Jesus Christ is the only Good Shepherd who can take care of us. We become His sheep, and the Lord becomes our Shepherd. This is of course what David said in the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd.”
*And today we know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd David talked about. In John 10:10-11, Jesus said:
10. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”
*Jesus proved He was the Good Shepherd when He died on the cross for our sins. And now, when we turn to the Risen Christ and trust Him as our Savior and Lord, Psalm 100:3 becomes the reality of our life, because we “know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
*Christians, rejoice over our connection with God.
3. And rejoice over the character of God. -- Verses 4&5 speak to us about the great reputation and character of our God:
4. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
*The Lord is good. Think about God’s goodness. God is perfect all the time. He has never sinned even once. And since Jesus Christ is God, He never sinned even once. Imagine that! -- Never sinning even once in thought or word or deed.
*I like to think what it must have been growing up in the home with big brother Jesus. I can hear His little brothers or sisters saying, “That goody-two-shoes never does anything wrong!” But rejoice! -- The One who never sinned even once was the only one who could take the punishment for our sins!
*Rejoice! -- For the Lord is good; and His mercy is everlasting. Aren’t you glad!
-Christian your future is absolutely safe and sure, because it doesn’t stand on your goodness. It stands on the goodness and mercy of Almighty God!
*Rejoice! For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. Our sinful world is filled with lies, and it is largely run on lies. But God’s truth will endure forever! -- As Jesus said in Matt 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
*Rejoice in the Lord tonight!
*Rejoice over our creation by God.
-He created you and He is able to take care of you.
*And if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, rejoice over your connection with God.
-God is your Father, your Brother, your best Friend, and King.
-You are a citizen of Heaven and part of the family of God.
*Also rejoice over the character of God, “for the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.”
-Serve with joy.
-Sing with joy.
-And step closer to the Lord with great joy.
*Let’s do that right now, as we go to the Lord in prayer.
1. “The Treasury of David” by Charles Spurgeon - Psalm 100:1
2. KERUX ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION - ID Number: 22397 - SOURCE: A Word With You By Ron Hutchcraft #4116 - TITLE: Joy In the Jungle - AUTHOR: Ron Hutchcraft - DATE: 102102
3. Adapted from “Navigator's Daily Walk,” July 25, 1991 - (Found in Raymond McHenry’s Stories for Preachers & Teachers: Topics: God Religion Isaiah 40)