Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Keys

Psalms 100.4-5

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

“The Keys”

I have a slightly different take on these scriptures than I have heard others expound. I am not claiming to have a new revelation. I am just coming here from a different direction.

If you ask me how to get to my house, I will tell you to take Interstate 64 to the proper exit. I can give you turn by turn directions. There are a number of ways to get here. You can avoid the interstate and travel the old road, US 60. You can travel the bypass or drive through town.

Now, if you ask me how to get into my house, I will show you the key that fits the doors to my house. This is how you enter my house. Anyone that tries to enter any other way is not a welcomed guest. Friends come in the front door. Thieves and robbers try to enter another way. The proper way to enter my home is to use the key that unlocks and opens the front door.

The Psalmist David was saying, if you want to enter into his gates, you must use this key. You must reach within you and take out the key of thanksgiving. There is no other way to gain admittance beyond the gates of the dwelling place of God.

The thanksgiving and praise spoken of here in Psalms 100 is much more than a token. It is much more than the thank you card we send to Aunt Bessie for her Christmas check. It is far and above the thanks we utter for our neighbors gift of a fruit cake. The words are towdah and tehillah.


Towdah speaks of the open hand throw out in adoration. It is the emptying out of one's heart. It is the utter realization that we are lost and hopeless without the blessings and benefits of God. It is based on the revelation of where God brought you from to where you are now. It is born of understanding that without the gift of God, we would be as ships tossed on the stormy sea, lost and directionless.


Tehillah speaks of a song of laudation. It is akin to the fountains of your heart breaking open in song for the things that God has done for you. When the Children of Israel watched the Red Sea close in upon the Egyptians, Moses began to sing onto the Lord. He sang a song of laudation. This is the praise that God seeks. It is a praise that cannot be contained inside your heart. It is a praise that will be not restrained. It is created by the works of God and results in the utter pouring out of oneself. It is the emptying.

I accept that God is omnipresent. He is everywhere all at once. There is no place that you can go that He is not already there. However, God exists on a different plane than the plane upon which we exist. This makes Him no less omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. He can still move where no one can move. He can still heal to the uttermost of all diseases. He can still lift up out of the darkest depression. He is still able to forgive all of our iniquities. He alone is still able to redeem our life from destruction.

His existence in a non-tangible form does not abate in the slightest the power of His might. John tells us in the fourth chapter, the twenty-fourth verse, “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.” Stephen tells us in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter seven, verse forty-eight, “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands;” speaking of the words of Solomon in 1 Kings 8.27. Solomon said that the heavens and the heavens of the heavens could not contain Him.

His presence and power surrounds us completely. They are not in a tangible form that one can hold in their hands and put in their pockets. They exist as does He, in a metaphysical plane. Metaphysical come from two Greek words, meta and physika. Meta means ‘beyond’ or ‘after’. Physika means ‘physical’. God exists in a plane beyond the physical. It stands to reason that the way to enter such a metaphysical place would not be by a conventional vehicle or means. If God is indeed, and I do know in my heart that He is, omnipresent (everywhere,) omniscient (all knowing,) and omnipotent (all powerful,) then we are every in his presence. We are always in reach of his knowledge and power. If then, we are always in His presence, why do we need to go farther? Why do we need to get into the gates? Why do we need to enter into His courts?

What will we find inside the gate that is not everywhere we turn?

What do we find in the court that is not everywhere we turn?

In David’s day, outside the gate was to be open to marauding bands of thieves and murderers. Outside the gate you were protected only by your own strength.

Inside the gate, you fell under the protection of the city. Inside the gates, you were protected by the king of the city.

We are assailed daily by the wiles and temptations of Satan. Every day he buffets our souls. We have to be out in his world. We work jobs in it. We shop for groceries in it. We walk amongst his blind followers on a daily basis. Out there, we are open and exposed to his onslaught. Where do we turn for protection? Where is our refuge? Oh, if we could rest our burden for a time; if we could stop the attacks until our strength returns; if we could only step inside the gates; there is our respite.

I cannot reiterate it strongly enough; we must get inside the gates. There is peace inside the gates. There is rest inside the gates. There is strength inside the gates. There is protection inside the gates.

In Numbers, the command was given to set up six cities of refuge within the kingdom. These cities were set up in the cities given to the Levites. These cities were to be a place a person guilty of murder by accident could go and find safety until his case could be heard by the elders. The law of the day was an eye for an eye; a life for a life.

These cities were placed to where an Israelite or stranger could find them and get there quickly. The six cities were: Kedesh, Shechem, and Hebron to the western side of the Jordan River and Golan, Ramoth, and Bezer on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Many were set on high hills or mountains, where anyone that needed them could see them. Some were set in the open plains. The Children of Israel were commanded that the roads to these cities be clear at all time. Nothing was to impede a traveler needing refuge.

Once someone needing the city made it to the city, they were safe within. If the trial confirmed the death to be accidental, the seeker of asylum was returned to the city and there they would live under its protection. As long as the High Priest of that city lived, they were safe. When the High Priest of that city died, they were free to go, without fear of vengeance. The death of the High Priest was considered atonement.

Their safety was within the gates.

In the book of Samuel, there was a battle between warring sides of Israel. Following this battle, Asahel, the brother of Joab, pursued Abner, the first cousin of Saul. When he would not relent, Abner killed Asahel in self defense. Abner went to the city of Hebron for refuge. However, while there he was enticed by Joab to step out of the city and Joab slew him. David lamented that Abner “died as a fool dieth.”

Kedesh: the word means to be clean, to be holy. There is cleansing and holiness inside the gates of the city. Outside the gates there was decay and decadence. The prodigal son came to himself, craving to eat after the swine. He said to himself, “In my father’s house, the servants have bread to eat. If I can just make it back to the gates of father’s house, I will be alright.” Inside the gates of father’s house was cleansing and holiness. Inside the gates were a new robe of righteousness and a ring of reconciliation.

When you begin to give thanks, you are spiritually transported inside the gates of the city. There begins the work of cleaning your soul. There begins the washing. How do I get inside the gate of holiness?

Shechem: the word means shoulder. The Bible talks about the shepherd, having a hundred sheep, and seeing that one had gone astray, left the ninety-nine to find that one lost lamb. When he found it, he put it on his shoulder and carried him back to the fold. There is forgiveness inside the gates. There is a loving savior waiting to put you on his shoulder. How do I get into the gate of forgiveness?

Hebron: the word means the seat of association, fellowship. There is comfort in fellowship. There is strength in fellowship. There is victory in fellowship. When I begin to give thanks, I am joined in a fellowship of believers. Their strength becomes my strength. Their courage becomes my courage. Their faith becomes my faith. How do I get inside the gates of that fellowship?

Bezer: the word means inaccessible. All day in this world we are buffeted by Satan and his minions. This is the warring of the members that Paul spoke about. He said, “When he would go to do good, evil was present.” When I try to serve God, the devil fights me. When I try to do the right thing, the wrong thing presents itself as well. Paul went on to say, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” There is a place we can go where we are inaccessible to the devil. He cannot reach us there. How do I get inside the gates of that inaccessibility?

Ramoth: the word means heights, high values. The devil will tell you that you are not worthy of the blood of Jesus Christ. He will tell you that you are not worthy of salvation. He is right. We are not worthy. None of us have done anything that makes us worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus. However, the devil wants to beat you up with that feeling of unworthiness. The scripture says, “Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:” By the blood of the lamb and our thanksgiving, we can enter inside the gates of worthiness. How do I get inside the gates of worthiness?

Golan: the word means captive. Paul said that he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ. The word implies a bonding. The root word also implies to be knit together. Paul said that his goal and God’s goal were knitted together. Their aim was one aim. Their goal was one goal. Inside the gate, you will find a bond with God. How will you know the mind of God? How will you see His plan for your life? How will you know the direction He wants you to take? How do you get inside the gates of bonding?

It is all there for you … inside the gates. What is the key to take you through the gate? Thanksgiving.

When we begin to give thanks to God, we are metaphysically transported inside the gates. The cleansing begins. The comfort of His shoulder in forgiveness is there. The fellowship of like believers is established. The protection from the wiles of Satan is there. Worthiness is inside the gates. The bonding with Christ is there as well. How do you get into those gates?

The road is clear of obstructions. The way is known. How do you get inside the gates?

When we begin to give thanks to God for His marvelous works; for His gracious nature; for His abundant blessing, we are spiritually transported inside the gates of the tabernacle of God.

Now you are there. You are inside the gates. You have availed yourself of the cleansing, forgiveness, fellowship, protection, worthiness, and bonding. What else is there for you?

When we begin to praise Him for His love; for His grace; for his blessings, we are spiritually transported into His courts. What will we find in His courts?

It is in the court of the king, that petitions are made known.

It is in His courts that we may ask what we will.

The Bible tells us that we are to approach the throne of God boldly. The word ‘boldly’ is a compound word. It is ‘meta-parreesias’. It refers to a beyond frankness. Why do we boldly approach the throne? It is because we have been brought to the court for just this purpose. It is the reason we are there. We know it. God knows it. There is no need to hem and haw around. Get to the heart of the matter. With your thanksgiving, you have made it inside the gates. With your praise you have made it into the courts. This is the place where prayers are answered. This is the place where petitions are met.

In the time of King David, sojourners would come with their petitions and complaints. They came to stand in the court of the king. They came to get resolution. Absalom would stand at the gate and intercept them. He would ask what country/tribe from which they came. When they would tell him, he would say there was no one in the court to hear them. He would offer resolution. “If I were the king,” he would say. In this, he offered no real resolution, but stole the hearts of the people.

Real resolution comes from the king. The devil will stand in the gate to prevent you from entering. You must make it to the courts. The answer is not outside the gates. The answer is not in the smooth talkers. The answer is in the courts. How do you get to the courts?

Are you discouraged? Get to the courts.

Are you hurting? Get to the courts.

Do you need to stand in the presence of the king?

How will you get into his courts?

There is a key. Praise is the answer.

Prayers are not answered unless we get into the courts. Restitution is not offered except in the court. Resolution is available only in the court.

When we begin to give thanks, we are metaphysically transported into the gates. When we begin to offer praise, we are metaphysically transported into His court.

When we go to court, we need an advocate. When we are transported to the court, we stand before God in all of our humanity. We stand in all of our frailty. We stand in all of our weaknesses. We stand in front of God in our sinful nature. We need an advocate. Timothy said we had just such an advocate. The word is ‘parakletos’. It is used in John 14.16, we Jesus speaks of the comforter that will come. The word is a compound word which means ‘one called alongside to help.’

He went on to say in verse 18, that He “would not leave them comfortless.” The word for comfortless is ‘orphanos’. In that day, when followers of a religious leader lost that leader, they were called ‘orphans.’ Jesus knew He was leaving his followers. He wanted them to know that they were not going to be orphaned. He was going to send a comforter. He was going to send an intercessor. He was going to send an advocate. The Bible tells us that this Spirit makes intercession for us. When we have a need, and we begin to give thanks and offer praises, the intercessor carries us to the courts of God. There we can ‘ask what we will.’ We can boldly approach the Throne of Grace.

Psalms 100.4-5

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

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