During the hot and tiring days of pre-season football camp back in the 1970’s, our head coach, Gene Carpenter, used to walk through the dorms at five o’clock in the morning blowing his whistle and yelling to us, “Men, it’s a great day to be alive.” With sore and tired muscles, and the thought of another full day of practice during the dog days of August, it really didn’t seem like a morning to celebrate and be joyful. As a side note, the genesis of that saying is this – one pre-season camp as the team left our hometown of Millersville on the way to the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, the bus drove past a large cemetery, and as Coach pointed to the rows and rows of tombstones that looked somewhat eerie though the early morning haze, he looked back at a bus full of “happy campers” and said, “Men, it really is a great day to be alive.” Our thoughts, “Okay, whatever you say Coach!”
Today, no matter what you are experiencing in life, whether it be the dread of another day of practicing in full football pads in 90 degree weather or the joy of being on a sunny beach with nothing to do except sit under your umbrella and read your favorite book, we want to encourage you to take time to praise God, even if you are not in the praising mood. Maybe Psalm 100 can help you praise God today.
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; 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 lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.
There are two things we want to point out from this psalm. First, a shepherd who tends to his flock of sheep will do anything and everything needed to provide for and protect his sheep. The same can be said of God. In Psalm 23, David compares the Lord to a shepherd, and in John 10:14, Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd. In the verses above from Psalm 100, those who have trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior, are called “the sheep of His pasture.”
And second, the word praise in this psalm comes from the Hebrew word tehillah, which means to celebrate (literally translated, laud) someone who is worthy of our praise. God is so worthy of our praise, and celebrations by their very nature are joyous events. Okay, now your homework assignment is to read Psalm 95:1-7.
So, today, it is our hope that you can sing Psalm 100 like you really mean it, and as you clap for God and as you offer your tehillah to God, we are sure you will begin to feel joy bubble up in you like a natural spring of clear water, and that you will be able to say, “It is a great day to be alive.”