(written Tuesday evening, 2/12)
My friend Sarah D. and I just finished going through Cynthia Heald's Intimacy With God Bible study; this is a study of the Psalms. At the end of the study, we were asked to list our favorite psalm(s). Well, I realized that I had a lot of favorites--sort of depending upon my mood. But then I realized that three psalms in particular sort of summed it all up, and all three of those are psalms I was introduced to early on in my life (psalms 19, 23, and 100). Psalm 100 I memorized in grade school, and I have quoted it to myself often these past few days and weeks. Before I share why I've been mulling it over, here it is in the English Standard Version:
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
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!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
I wrote in my Bible study guide that this psalm sums it all up in the following ways: tells who/what we are (sheep, created beings); who God is (Creator, faithful, good, God himself,...); and what we are to do (know He is God, thank Him, and serve and praise Him gladly). I've thought about this psalm from several angles over the past few weeks, but this week it has come to mind A LOT. I'll focus on the biggies. First, Sunday afternoon, I had a rare opportunity to take a nap. Did the boys (9 1/2 months old) cooperate? Well, they didn't cry. But they made a joyful noise...for an hour and a half! My wonderful husband had one of them with him trying to keep him quiet, but to no avail. The two of them just made all kinds of cheerful little baby noises and babbling sounds while I tried to sleep. A song I used when I taught Vacation Bible School started flitting through my head while I lay on the couch. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord. (repeat) Make a loud noise (aagghh!!) and rejoice, sing praises. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord." Well, that's what my boys were doing: making loud, joyful noises. So, why was I complaining. I should be giving thanks to God and blessing His name that my children are so happy.
Tonight I was steeping over the "serve the Lord with gladness part." It's not always full of joyful noise in our household. This morning, I first woke up at 5:00 a.m. when my husband got up to catch an early flight to the other side of the country for a conference. We'd been up a little later than usual last night dealing with one of our twins who had thrown up...in our bed (sigh). The kids and I were pooped and cranky by dinner time tonight, my toddler getting over her bad cold but still quite the little mucus factory, and the boys and I rapidly coming down with the same bad cold. I managed to get all three in pajamas, fed the boys their bed-time bottles, and put all three to bed. But, both boys threw up (one ALL OVER his crib and himself), I had to change crib sheets, pace the floor with one boy who was crying and making himself more congested, I had to remind my daughter that it was indeed bedtime, I had to do an extra load of throw-up laundry on top of the diapers (we use cloth diapers), .... So, when I was steeping over all of this, I remembered that I am called to serve the Lord with gladness. Is caring for sick kids part of serving the Lord? You betcha. Is training a toddler to obey part of serving the Lord? You betcha. And Psalm 100 reminds us to serve gladly...not merely without outward complaining or grumbling, but with gladness of heart. After all, we are merely sheep whom the Lord has created. And the Lord is God.
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