Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Surprisingly, there is no direct Hebrew translation for the English word 'joyful' as used in this verse in the King James Version. That leaves things a bit open to interpretation. My study Bible (NASB) says 'joyful' is "a shout of loyalty and homage." The dictionary defines 'joy' with the word rejoicing, meaning "to be made glad again." 'Noise,' however, does come with a Hebrew equivalent, meaning "to split the ears with sound," as in to shout, shout for joy. Lands implies all the earth, the nations, the world.
We, those of all nations, are to present to the Lord, out of our loyalty and homage to Him, joyful shouts that say that "We are made glad" time and time again.
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
I love the Hebrew translation for the word gladness--blithesomeness or glee. Serve the Lord with glee, mirth, dare I suggest, laughter, as in the kind you express with something pleasurable and lovely. Dear friend Mrs. Patterson 5 just wrote about the challenges we moms have in serving our families and how they are worsened through our poor attitudes. If we thought 'glee' every time we did something, knowing that it was for the Lord, how much more would we know rejoicing rather than drudgery?
Does the Lord truly expect us to sing in His presence? A closer look at the Hebrew suggests that we should come with, echoing verse 1, a shout of joy or a joyful voice--something that gives a cause to shout for joy to the Lord. In my writing the blog, I have tried to allow the opportunity for folks to hear that joyful voice, even as I search through my uncertain and misguided adventures.
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
One of the things about delving into the Hebrew or Greek words for what we translate into English is that the English words often provide limited depth. In this passage, two of the common English words--know and made--have a vast number of meanings in the Hebrew. To 'know' can mean to acknowledge basic presence of something or to discern something; to cause to know about something or to make something known; to respect or to understand; and this one--a familiar friend or famous one. How are we supposed to 'know' God? Exactly....on lots of different levels. All of the above apply!
God 'made' us. He brings forth life, is in charge of the life, fits the life, fulfills the life, governs the life, keeps the life, maintains the life, prepares the life and uses the life. Folks wonder where my crazy blog title comes from, Making Something of Today. God makes something for each of us to grasp in a day--tangible or intangible. In some way, we all act upon that something, even if to ignore it. God is THE Creator, and there is nothing new under the sun that hasn't started with Him. Yet, I believe that when He makes something for us--given us a new day--that we should make/create something with what He has given. Take what you are given and make something with it. Make it with God, and consider the above definitions as you see how He reveals and inspires you.
We are His people--his unit, tribe, attendants, flock--and the sheep of His pasture. The Hebrew presents the larger picture of a shepherd taking care of a migrating flock of animals with an emphasis on feeding them. We have a Good Shepherd who recognizes our tendency to migrate. His goal is to make sure that we are well fed, even as we continue to wander--that the sheep know (see above) their Shepherd.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Gates and courts have been tied to the Jewish Temple, but in a more general sense, a gate in Hebrew is simply an opening and a court is a yard (yes, like courtyard). That makes the above picture rather poignant, don't you think? The open gate and a welcoming yard...the Kingdom of Heaven, which we can know right here and now. And how are we asked to enter? With thanksgiving--an extension of the hand, as some will do in worship or as others will do typing words of a devotional into a keyboard; with adoration and kneeling down; as a choir of worshippers singing a hymn; with avowal, openly declaring Who He is.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
And what is good? Beautiful, best, cheerful, fair, glad, kindly, precious.... His mercy, His lovingkindness is always, eternal, perpetual.... And His faithfulness and stability endureth to all generations, a revolution of His time.
Again, the direct Hebrew word translation for 'endureth' is not available. But the dictionary sheds light. We may think of truth enduring as the Word lasting over time. But the word also means to stand up under, to bear, undergo, tolerate without flinching. Literally, it means "to harden the heart" so that it will hold out, last, be durable. God's heart has endured much and continues to endure much.
How much more to "shout for joy", this psalm of thanksgiving, when we remember and avow Who our good God is! To the One who endures, and Whose Truth yet endures to this generation!
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Do you know the hymn, "All People That on Earth Do Dwell"? It is also called "Old Hundredth" and is based on this Psalm.