The question presented is “Why will we enter His gates with thanksgiving?” A simple answer is, why not? One cannot answer this question solely on verse four. The whole chapter needs to be considered when populating a response.
This Psalm opens with a solicitation to the entire earth to happily give the Lord praise, to serve Him, and to worship Him with singing. The Lord is depicted as the people’s Creator and as their Shepherd.
What Is the Importance of Entering His Gates with Thanksgiving?
The psalmist calls everybody to enter the sanctuary with praise and thanksgiving. He also describes the Lord as good, having mercy that is everlasting, that His truth is unwavering and that stretches from one age to another. God merits our praise, our thankfulness, and our submission.
Certain individuals work hesitantly, grumbling as they go. Others merrily give their best the entire day. We are to resemble the resolute workers who serve with energy and gladness. To grumble and complain is just a hopeless cause. We as a whole ought to be happy to obey the Lord.
God is our Creator, we did not spontaneously make ourselves, nor did we evolve from some type of primordial ooze. Many individuals live like they are the creator and focus of their own little world. This attitude prompts insatiable possessiveness and, if everything were to be removed, a deficiency of trust and a loss of hope itself.
In any case, when we understand that God made us and gives us all that we have, we should want to provide for others as God has provided for us (2 Corinthians 9:8). Then, at that point, in case everything is lost, we actually still have God and all that He gives us.
Being as God is the Creator of all, He alone is deserving of being revered and worshipped. What is truly our mentality toward worship? Do we enthusiastically and happily come into God’s presence, or would we say we are simply making a halfhearted effort, hesitantly going to church? This Psalm advises us to recall God’s reliability and goodness, and afterward to worship with praise and thanksgiving.
Because God made humanity (we are his people) and shepherds us (the sheep of His pasture) (Psalm 100:3), we should come to Him with gratefulness and recognition (Psalm 100:1). God is our Good Shepherd (John 10:11) and we are His flock (Ezekiel 34:30-31). He feeds His flock, He gathers us, carries us, and leads us (Isaiah 40:11). Great is the Lord and He is worthy of our praise (Psalm 145:3).
Christians can be appreciative that the Lord does not and will not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17). He is continually patient, benevolent, loving, kind, and merciful. He is as trustworthy today as He was when He rescued the Hebrew nation from the Egyptians at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:28-31).
Everything that occurs in our lives is for our good. That does not mean that what happens to us is good but is for our good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified (Romans 8:28-30).
We can confront even troublesome conditions with thanksgiving. We are to give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). No good thing will be withheld from those that walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). An appreciative heart articulates itself through praise.
Will We Give Praise and Thanksgiving for Eternity?
Thanksgiving and praise are joined together. We should acknowledge our good fortune, count our blessings, name them one by one, and give praise and recognition to the Lord for who He is and for His various gifts, rather than wallowing in self-pity and holding onto the gratitude that we should be giving Him.
God does not want us to come to Him to worship with a disappointed, dejected look, or with the doom and gloom appearance, or with the long face as it is often called. There are times when we might have a brooding look; issues encompass us, allurements might overcome us, or we might come to God in repentance of sins, requesting absolution. We cast ourselves at His feet. In any case, which is not what worship is. We worship God when we come to give Him praise. God wants us to be happy.
There are many places that offer a “happy hour.” What is the world’s definition of “happy hour” and what is it for? It is that time of day, usually before the evening meal, where restaurants and bars offer menu items at reduced prices. So, this brings to mind the “happy hour” at the place of worship.
The church “happy hour” can be designated as the time of day in which Christians go to their local church building and are spiritually involved in the church service. What is the church service? The church service is when music is played, people sing, the minister presents a sermon, and an altar call is to be given.
Unfortunately, there are churches that have no signs of life. The people do not go there with thanksgiving and praise within their hearts that they should be giving unto the Lord. They are not thankful for being there. They did not “enter into His gates with thanksgiving,” nor “into His courts with praise.”
It is as if the trip to church was a painful experience that they did not genuinely want to do. They did it out of obligation or necessity. When Christians fail in attending a church service with thanksgiving and praise in their hearts, they fail to give God that which He so richly deserves.
What Does This Mean?
We cannot honestly give God praise with negativity in our hearts. We are to rejoice before the Lord.
Then to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name — there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the Lord. And there rejoice before the Lord your God — you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites from your towns who have no allotment or inheritance of their own (Deuteronomy 12:11-12).
We should be glad to enter the church “with thanksgiving and praise. It should be a joy to go to church to worship the Lord. If not, then we need a spiritual checkup, see what is going wrong with our lives, and see what is wrong with our hearts and minds (2 Corinthians 13:5).
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Chris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. Chris is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. During his service, he received numerous awards and citations. Chris holds a Doctor of Ministry, an M.B.A., and a B.S. in health administration. Chris and his wife Vicki of 24 years reside in Madison, Alabama. If you are interested in having Chris deliver God's Word at your place of worship, you can reach him here.