Abundance without Gratitude
by Charles R. Swindoll
While we have experienced financial ups and downs in the last century—some of them significant—we nevertheless benefit from an unprecedented level of abundance. Never in human history have so many people lived in the kind of comfort and security we enjoy today. And American culture leads the world in luxury. Many families have a driveway full of cars, a house full of modern appliances—many dedicated to entertainment—a closet full of clothes, and a refrigerator full of food. Unfortunately, in these days of abundance and wealth, we tend to become ungrateful, even presumptuous. Instead of thanking God, we develop a spirit of entitlement.
Please don't misunderstand. Abundance is not sinful. Scripture describes a number of people who were both wealthy and godly: Abraham, Job, Joseph, David, Solomon, Josiah, Barnabas, and Lydia, to name a few. But we also find some who became enamored of their wealth and lost sight of the Lord and His right to rule their lives. There's nothing wrong with having nice things, but trouble begins when nice things have us. A spirit of entitlement can quickly overshadow an attitude of generosity and humility. Psalm 100 is a song of celebration that will help restore a spirit of thankfulness and joyful gratitude.
As we take a closer look at this song, three questions come to mind.
1: To whom is it addressed? Verses 1 and 5 state that it is intended for "all the earth" to sing. Psalm 100 is for everyone—all nations, all cultures, all ages, all stages. Its message is universal, for everyone to hear and apply.
2: Of whom does it speak? Verses 1–3, along with verse 5, give us the answer. Psalm 100 speaks of "the LORD." His name appears no less than four times in five verses. One of those times He is declared to be God Himself. This psalm directs our attention to "YHWH," the Old Testament personal name for God. You cannot appreciate Psalm 100 or apply its message if you do not know the One of whom it speaks. But the more you become intimately acquainted with the almighty, infinite Creator, the deeper this song resonates with a grateful soul. Being thankful—really thankful—begins with a right relationship with the Giver of everything.
3: How is it arranged? Psalms were originally written as hymns; they are poetic in form. Hebrew lyrics don't rhyme like English poetry; the psalms follow a certain style, a "meter" or "beat." Each psalm stands alone, independent of all the others. Like our present-day hymns, each one has a distinct message and arrangement. This particular song includes seven commands or imperatives. The hymn concludes with a final verse that sums up God's character, giving us a compelling reason to obey the commands.
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