Words paraphrase from Psalm 100 by William Kethe; Thomas Ken

(Also included in the Broadman Hymnal, 1940 ed., Broadman Press, Nashville – #3 Baptist Hymnal, 1975 ed. Convention Press, Nashville – #17, 1991 ed. Convention Press, Nashville – #5, 2008 ed. LifeWay,  Nashville – #40; Voice of Praise, Broadman Press, Nashville, 1947 – #123; Favorite Hymns of Praise, Tabernacle Publishing Co., Chicago, 1967 – #12; The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration, Word, Waco, 1986 – #20; The Celebration Hymnal, Word/Integrity, Waco, 1997 – #101.)

Traditionally sung to the tune known as “Old 100” this is perhaps the wording for which the tune was composed. (see Reynolds, William J., Companion to Baptist Hymnal, Broadman Press, 1976, p.32, for commentary on the use of this tune.)

The Hymn

  1. 1.      All people that on earth do dwell,
    Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
    Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
    Come ye before Him and rejoice.
  2. 2.      The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
    Without our aid He did us make;
    We are His flock, He doth us feed,
    And for His sheep He doth us take.
  3. 3.      Oh, enter then His gates with praise;
    Approach with joy His courts unto;
    Praise, laud, and bless His Name always,
    For it is seemly so to do.
  4. 4.      For why? the Lord our God is good;
    His mercy is for ever sure;
    His truth at all times firmly stood,
    And shall from age to age endure.
  5. To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
    The God Whom Heaven and earth adore,
    From men and from the angel host
    Be praise and glory evermore.

[Verses in bold print are found in our example hymnal – which also includes the following doxology:

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.]

(Hymn words accessed at Cyberhymnal)

Scriptural Connection

Some hymn connections are much easier than others. For instance as this one is a paraphrase of Psalm 100, it is safe to assume that this is the best connection for the hymn. And as such here is the King James translation of that Psalm:

1Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

2Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

3Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

What does it mean?

As simply as can be put, this psalm calls all of creation into praise of the Creator God. The opening lines call out all the people who live on Earth. We must assume that the word “all” includes all, and therefore, every person who lives (or “dwells”) on this Earth should participate in raising their voice to God.

This praise includes service to God. We are asked to serve in fear. Here is another difficulty, because we want to equate fear with fright or cowardice. This is not the type of fear that is spoken of at this point though. Instead it is a reverence, an awe if you will, for One who makes us, but treats us as lovingly as a shepherd would his sheep. (One quick note: if you access the link you will notice that the Cyberhymnal uses the word “folk” in its rendering of the lyrics for this hymn, where the original paraphrase and the context call for the word “flock” so I have corrected the wording here.)

The hymn continues: Praise, praise, praise again. And then poses the question “for why?” and then answers in the next words “the Lord our God is good.” Need we any other reason to send praise after praise after praise to Him? The psalmist and the hymnist and this commentator agree that we do not? So “Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

*Hymn numbers for this series’ titles are from the Baptist Hymnal, 1956 edition, Nashville, Convention Press.