God Is Great, God Is Good, Let Us Thank Him: Psalm 100


Psalm 100 (NIV)

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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This psalm is among the most well-known psalms in the Bible. It is not only memorized by Christians around the world, but its basic structure has been placed into the opening line of one of the most well-known prayers taught to children: “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food.” The two doctrines of God’s greatness and God’s goodness are perhaps the most important and fundamental truths we want to instill in our children and, indeed, all Christians. Here we are assured of both God’s goodness and his sovereignty, unified perfectly in an act of praise. Furthermore, as in the prayer, these truths should lead us to thankfulness.

It is, therefore, no surprise that Psalm 100 is not only taught to children but has become one of the great invocational psalms for the whole church, because it so joyfully calls us into God’s holy presence: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (v. 4).

The psalm begins with the greatness of God. First, God is the Creator: “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his” (v. 3). Second, he has taken actions in the world to make us his people (i.e., we belong to him): “we are his people, the sheep of his pasture” (v. 3). The psalm then moves on to express that God is a good God who has entered into a covenant with us, guaranteeing his steadfast loyalty and love toward us: “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (v. 5). These are the great building blocks of a Christian worldview: God is great and God is good. He is the Creator. We are his people, and he has entered into a redemptive, saving covenant with us.

The wonderful truths celebrated in Psalm 100 all meet in the person (Creator) and work (goodness) of Jesus Christ. God the Father created the universe through Jesus Christ (John 1:3; Col. 1:16). Then in Jesus Christ, God entered into his own creation to redeem his people and to express his saving, covenant love and goodness toward us. The exuberant worship of Psalm 100 finds its final joy in Jesus Christ. What a wonderful reason to give thanks!


Timothy C. Tennent is the President of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Professor of Global Christianity. His works include Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century and Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology. He blogs at timothytennent.com and can be followed on twitter @TimTennent.