Psalm 100:3-4 - 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!
What do we need to know? The psalmist wants us to know "that the LORD, He is God!" This is the LORD, the God of Israel, who revealed Himself to Moses as I AM. This is the God of the Exodus who, with mighty acts of power, freed the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. This same LORD, the God who saves and sets people free, was born among us, God in human flesh, Jesus Christ. Jesus said of Himself, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58b). Jesus is I AM, and He came to save us and set us free. As God destroyed the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of Israel were saved from death by the lambs' blood painted over their doors. We are saved from death and from slavery to sin by the blood of the Lamb of God, shed for us on the cross.
That is what we know and believe. The LORD, I AM, is God. But our psalm also speaks of our identity, an identity given to us by the God who made us. Created in His image, we have been created anew by the Holy Spirit in the water and word of Baptism. In Christ, we are God's "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession" (1 Peter 2:9a). We are also the sheep of His pasture, sought out and gathered in by the One who said of Himself, "I am the Good Shepherd" (John 10:11a), the shepherd who laid down His life to save the sheep.
Saved by I AM, created anew to be His own people and the sheep of His pasture, what do we do now? The psalmist tells us to enter the presence of God with thanksgiving and praise. It is not something to be done only now and then. Certainly, we "enter into His gates" in weekly worship, meeting with our fellow sheep of the shepherd's flock. There we receive His gifts of His Word and of the body and blood of our Savior in the Lord's Supper, the means by which His saving word of forgiveness comes to us. Yet the thanksgiving and praise we offer while entering His gates continues to ascend before God's throne even when we leave those sacred courts.
In our daily lives and work, in our relationships, in our witness to Christ, we give praise and thanks through our words and actions. Each moment of each day, we belong to the LORD our God, our Creator and Redeemer. We are His sheep, held securely, wherever we are, in the hand of our Good Shepherd. And as He has promised, no one can snatch us out of His hand. That, too, is something we need to know.
THE PRAYER: LORD and God, keep us safe in Your care and accept our grateful praise for the sake of Jesus our Savior. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Was God pointing to some future event when He had the children of Israel paint the blood of lambs over their doors as a way to be saved in Egypt?
2. How do we enter God's gate with thanksgiving in the 21st century?
3. Do you believe you are firmly in God's hands, cared for and looked after as a shepherd watches over his sheep?
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