Psalm 100:1 A psalm. For giving thanks. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 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. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (NIV)
When I read this psalm a few weeks ago, the phrase that jumped out at me was “the sheep of his pasture.” I had the visual of being in a huge pasture with countless other sheep. We were all munching on the grass and enjoying life. I raised my head and looked around and I saw the shepherd watching over us from a small hill. Even though there were many sheep, I knew that he was watching and caring for each one of us. I also knew he was in control and therefore we were safe from predators and other dangers. Then I resumed munching without a care in the world. I was a safe and happy sheep.
Here are my thoughts on the phrase “the sheep of his pasture:”
I What does this mean to me?
a. Sheep do not provide for themselves, they eat and drink from the pasture/water the shepherd leads them to. Psalm 23 gives a perfect picture of what this looks like:
- The shepherd leads us into green pastures, by still waters, and through the valley of the shadow of death. We must accept the good and the bad, we cannot pick and choose.
b. When sheep wander from the shepherd, their lives are at risk. Therefore I must stay close to and listen for the shepherd.
c. When you go your own way or live according to what society says is acceptable, you will not be part of the flock.
d. We are saved by grace (Eph 2:8-9) and we (the true sheep) will not be condemned (Rom 8:1) but we will be judged (Acts 17:31, Romans 2:16, 2 Tim 4:1).
II Why did God do this? For his glory! Many western churches (pastors) teach that Jesus was born, crucified, and raised from the dead so that we could be forgiven of our sins and spend eternity in Heaven. While this is “what” happened, it isn’t the “why” it happened.
The “why” is for God’s glory! Everything from Genesis to Revelation is the story of God and his desire for his glory.
a. God’s perfect creation and man messing it up (Gen 1-11)
b. Implementation of God’s plan to redeem his glory (Gen 12- Rev 6)
c. The fulfillment of God’s eternal plan for his glory (Rev 7- Rev 22)
III How should I respond?
- Because I am a sheep in God’s pasture and because in God’s pasture everything is about God’s glory, I must also be about God’s glory.
- Because God’s glory requires holiness, I must choose to live a holy life (1 Peter 1:15-16) instead of the life the world says is acceptable.
Dear friends, for those of us who call ourselves Christians, living a mediocre life that looks like everyone else’s life is not an option. We are not to “settle” for grace, we are to strive for holiness!
When you come face to face with Jesus, what do you want to hear? “Well done good and faithful servant” (Mat 25:21-23, Luke 19:17) is reserved for those who handle the life God gives us on earth properly. Do you want to be the servant who achieved the bare minimum or do you want to be the one who invested wisely in the Kingdom of God?
Being a sheep in God’s pasture has uncounted blessings, but it also has responsibilities. We cannot expect God to fulfill the blessings if we don’t live as he asks us to.
Now reread Psalm 100 from the perspective of “his people and the sheep of his pasture.” May God bless you through the study of his Word.