A psalm for thanksgiving.
1 Raise a shout to Yahweh, all the earth!
2 Serve Yahweh with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs,
3 Acknowledge that Yahweh, he is God.
He made us, and we are indeed
his people and the flock he shepherds,
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise;
give thanks to him, and bless his name!
5 For Yahweh is good; his loyal-love is forever,
and to generation after generation is his faithfulness.
Two of the biggest needs of the human heart are to know that we belong and that we are cared for. God lets us know that this is met in the simple word “Shepherd.” God chose to hide behind this word and in hiding reveals himself as Carer.
Why is it that God wishes to be known as a Shepherd? In the Old Testament he speaks of Himself as the Shepherd of Israel. In the New Testament he calls Himself the Good Shepherd. It is not enough that he simply care, guide and keep his sheep? He is the Good Shepherd who demonstrates his “loyal-love” and will spare no cost to rescue his sheep. In predicting his suffering on the cross Jesus declares, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”(John 10:11)
Jesus then commissions us as believers to take care of one another, even in the midst of our failures and frailties (see John 21:15-17). Charging us to care for one another and to tend to each other’s needs.
The only fitting response of heart is to “raise a shout,” “give thanks,” and give “praise.” The loyal-love, that stunning blend of law and love(v5) triggers in us a faithful response of absolute joy and praise.
In this knowledge of his great covenant love let us care for one another with joy.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Heb. 13:20-21)