The Word Made Fresh
(A psalm of thanksgiving.)
1Let all the earth joyfully sing to the LORD!
2Worship the LORD with gladness
and approach the LORD with singing.
3Know that the LORD is the God who made us.
We are God’s people.
We are the sheep in the LORD’s fields.
4So, enter the LORD’s courtyard with thanksgiving and praise,
giving thanks and glorifying the name of our God.
5The LORD is good, whose love is constant and never dies
and who has been and always will be faithful to us.
Superscription: although many of the psalms are songs of thanksgiving, this is the only one labeled as such.
1-3: The psalm opens with a call to worship. There is an interesting progression in the way the word “sheep” is treated in the Book of Psalms. The first and last references are simply to sheep as domestic animals (Psalm 8:7; Psalm 144:13), but in between the word is used as a metaphor for people in several rather distinct ways. First, it is a reference to their suffering, as in “You have turned us into sheep to be slaughtered” in Psalm 44:11 (see also 44:22, 49:14). The next reference also has to do with suffering, but now the people are not just sheep, they are God’s sheep (Psalm 74:1), and in Psalm 78:52 they are God’s sheep being led by God through the wilderness. Then, they become the sheep that God keeps and protects (Psalm 95:7, and here in verse 3). Lastly, we will see the word used to describe an individual as a lost sheep (Psalm 119:176).
4: The call to worship is extended with an emphasis on thanksgiving.
5: The reasons for thanksgiving are given: God is good, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
God is happy to receive simple statements of gratitude and praise. We should make that a regular feature of all our prayers.