His We Are
Text: Psalm 100
Proposition: From the issue of origins to the ability to learn to the capability to know truth, thanksgiving has been God’s design for the human heart.
Introduction: It was invented in 1994 by a Toyota subsidiary called Denso-Wave and yet today 6 out of 10 North Americans don’t know what it is. Called Quick Response technology it’s taking over all kinds ways of not only tracking things but also of promoting them. Just north of here a farmer decided to design his corn field in such a way that when viewed from the air it would actually be able to use this same concept. I’m talking about quick response or QR codes, those tiny jig saw like puzzles that are on all kinds of products. The thing about QR codes is that though they look random they are graphic art that has the designed capability to be transformed into information. A typical UPC symbol or bar code only reads horizontally and can translate about 20 bytes of information. The QR codes are 2D bar codes, meaning they read information both horizontally and vertically and can translate up to 7000 bytes or individual numbers or letters in that little jig saw.
Why all this talk about a quirky little cube that almost half the people around us don’t know exists, it’s because it speaks to a greater code placed in the world today, a design that is so intricate we are still trying to crack it. That design, that greater jig saw puzzle is… you. Just as there is nothing random about a QR symbol there is also nothing random about you. The design is so complex we are tempted to call it random and meaningless yet it contains within it the wonder of where we came from, who we are this moment and what it is we are designed for. Have a look at just one of the QR codes in the Bible, it’s found in Psalm 100.
I. Every Design Has a Higher Capability, Ours Is Worship.
In a day when we have junk mail, junk bonds and junk food finding anything of quality or real worth can be elusive. Jesus once told a parable about a man who found a pearl so extraordinary that he went and sold all that he owned and then came and bought that pearl. It was a picture about determining that which is most valuable in your life and especially for your soul. He once asked His disciples, “What will it profit a man if gains the whole world but loses his own soul?” Worship is all about determining that which has a value above everything else, that which will save your own soul, that which you need to build your life around as the very core of who you are. Designed into us is that capability to worship. That’s what the writer of this Psalm was getting at when he said, “Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.” You were designed to sing, designed to express joy, designed for a gladness that seeks to serve the LORD. It’s why when we come to worship we pour out songs and praises, expressions of worship from the heart. There is a design within each of us that scans worship for the truth of who God is and then finding that truth it keys in us joy, gladness and service. Our highest capability as human beings who are made in the image of God is to reflect the radiant glory of Him who designed us. Worship is all about that.
II. Every Design has a Designer, Ours is Jesus Christ.
Design is not only what is in us it’s what we do. What does your closet look like, how do you hang your shirts? Are there pants and shirts and towels and underwear and towels all hanging in no apparent pattern? What’s in your kitchen, are the knives and forks scattered in with the bowls and frying pans? We design things every day, mostly for efficiency purposes, and often for the sense of order it brings. I once hired a young boy to cut our lawn. He had never run a lawn mower before and never cut a lawn. When I started the machine and set him loose I went inside. Randy figured that the best grass to cut first was the tallest, so he cut some of the tallest over by the tree and then some more over near the fence and then in the middle of the yard. Pretty quick the lawn began to look like a QR code. Every painting, every written word, every song has design in it. All that we do has design because in the design it proclaims who we are as the one who has done this. When the design is particularly intricate, like a Persian rug or a software program, it talks not only about the capability of the designer but also the purpose of the designer. Look what the Psalmist writes, “Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” When Charles Darwin first proposed his theory of evolution he was unable to see what a cell looks like. Electron microscopes were still almost 100 years in the future. He couldn’t see blood cells and he couldn’t even see the purpose behind how they worked. I once worked as a parts man in a Cessna aircraft shop and as I was learning the ropes I was tasked with sorting parts. To get to the ones on the top shelf I pulled over this wooden crate and stood on it to sort the top row. That’s when the manager came and asked me what I was doing standing on a crate that contained the hot section for Twin Otter engine worth over $20,000. I couldn’t see into it, I was oblivious to its purpose and blind to it’s worth. We are designed by a designer, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is not hidden information, the intricacy of the design of your hand, the magnitude of the design of the mountains, all proclaim a designer. The wonder of the planets and the orbits that hold them there, the wonder of the electrons and the orbits that hold them there… all proclaim design and Designer. Psalm 139 talks about how we are fearfully and wonderfully made, an incredible process where brain matter, blood vessel, bone cell all come into being. Know that the LORD He is God, it is He who has made us and not we ourselves. It’s the next line that moves this recognition of a Designer one step forward. Look at what it says, “We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” Some older translations say, “His we are, the sheep of His pasture.” This speaks about the Designers purpose, the claim He makes over us. Colossians 1:16 says this about Jesus, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” Jesus has designed us with His purposes in mind that ultimately all would be for Him, that is all has been designed to glorify Him, to reveal the depth and love and grace and mercy that is in Him. We are His sheep, His we are and in His pasture we are sustained.
III. Every Design Speaks About Order, Ours Is In Christ.
This next verse is like an engraved invitation with your name on it. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” The gates that this writer has in mind aren’t just a couple of great iron bared doors with majestic lions heads on them. No, when he thinks about the ‘gates’ it’s the ancient concept of them as the place of decision making. The leadership of the city would sit at the gates and hear the cases of the people. It was where their authority presided over the people and the people welcomed that and trusted in it. To enter His gates with thanksgiving in your hearts is to be thankful for order, for justice, for grace. There is the place that I not only welcome His authority over me, I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving for it. From these gates I am then invited in even further, to His courts. The courts are the place near the throne, the place of eating and celebration, the place of counsel and comradeship. The response that this is meant to invoke out of us is…praise. It’s praise that comes from a place of being amazed, how is it that I find myself standing amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene. His glory, my sinfulness; His grace, my unworthiness, it bows us down with thanksgiving and we bless His name. What would you say when you find yourself standing before the presence of this the One who has designed you, made you exactly the way you are because that’s exactly what He wants to use to reveal His glory to the world, to the angels and to the fallen angels and even to the rest of creation? Perhaps the words are found in the last verse, “For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” It’s the essence of thanksgiving isn’t it, the goodness of the LORD, an everlasting mercy, an enduring truth. When you recognize design and then are compelled to see the Designer that knows you and regards you as His own, you will be stirred. When you see that the purpose of the designer is that you would know Him and in Him have a restored identity, the truth of who you are, you will be filled with thanksgiving. When you see His motivation is to move towards you with mercy, a mercy that would lead Him to experience the death of the cross as your sin would be put upon Him, then you will praise Him. When you see His word as truth that endures through all generations, through all eternity, inviting you to faith in Christ, you will worship Him… for His we are.