In The Fold

Psalm 100; Zechariah 9:14–10:2; Acts 20:17–38

Psalm 100 is used in some churches as a call to worship. There have been a number of songs that have pulled their chorus and even the lyrics from this Psalm. It sounds so straightforward, but is it really?

We are God’s people and his . While we really don’t like being compared to , this is the imagery that the people of the time understood. By being his , there is the implication of belonging and being cared for. In this context, however, the next verse has some implications that we often miss.

The “gate” of the fold (where the slept protected at night) was often the himself. So much so that the would often sleep in the entrance of the fold to keep the gathered, and to protect them from predators. As part of their entrance into the fold, the would check them over.

First, of course, confirm that the entering are his. While the knew the of “their” , it didn’t stop the wayward (as they do wander) from joining the flock, especially if it got lost. Second, the would look for wounds or other signs of poor health. Lastly, the counted to make sure that all the were there.

Entering the gates, therefore, is not so simple.

The have to , recognize, and follow the of the . This can be quite difficult, especially in our day and age of so much noise. Definitely through prayer, worship, and God’s word (the Bible) we can the of the . Sometimes it can be something else. Regardless, if we are struggling ing the of the , we need to work on that.

The also enter the gates with . Now, some artistic license may be here, but I imagine the being not much different than cattle. Most cattle will low as they approach “home”. I imaging the are bleating as the approach the fold and as they enter. They are glad and relieved to be home and secure.

In his translation of the Scriptures, The Message, Eugene Peterson phrases it this way, “Enter with the password: ‘Thank you!’ Make yourselves at home, talking . Thank him. Worship him.” (Psalm 100:4, The Message)

The concept of “Thank You” as a password through the gates is intriguing. It may imply that if we enter the gates without thanks, maybe we didn’t really enter in at all. Physically, maybe, but not in our s, where it truly matters.

As much as it might seem wrong for there to be a password, at the same time we have all experienced a time of lackluster and/or worship because our s just weren’t there. Peterson’s words may not be so wrong.


  • How often do you enter the “gates of ” (whether church, car, home, wherever) with “Thank you”? Why does “thank you” matter for your ‘s orientation?
  • How do you think God “checks” you as you enter the gates of ? What report was God’s last check on you? How about last month?
  • What is your Godly health like? What are you doing to improve it?


Be our ,  O Lord, and bless us with all good things that we may be refreshed with your overflowing cup and dwell in your house forever; through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Amen]

Ludolph of Saxony, d. 1378
%d bloggers like this: