Psalm 100 is a psalm of thanksgiving. It charges us to approach the Almighty with joy, gladness, and singing. The psalm emphasizes the fact that Jehovah is God, and we are not. It is He who has created us and it is He who shepherds us. Therefore, we are charged to enter into His gates with a heart of thanksgiving, and a voice of praise. We are to be thankful to Him because He is good, His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. Notice the fact that "His truth endures to all generations." John 17:17 says, "Thy Word is truth." God has preserved His Word for all generations. Therefore, we respond with thanksgiving to our Creator and Redeemer!
On November 23, I sat in front of a large crowd in a church building in the small town of Falam in the Chin State of Myanmar. People were gradually entering the building with expressions of anticipation and joy on their faces. They were about to celebrate with fellow believers the completion of the Chin Standard Bible. They had been waiting patiently for it for 16 years. Translators and leaders had been faithfully and diligently laboring over the text of Scripture so that there would finally be an accurate, reliable, and clear translation of God’s Word in the language of the Falam Chin people. God’s servants had invested much time and money to produce this version of His Word.
As I sat there watching the people arrive, I sensed the anticipation. A combination of smiles of joy and tears of gratitude greeted me. I tried to imagine what it would be like not to have a trustworthy copy of the Scriptures in my own language. It was at that moment that I remembered my trip preparations the week before when I had to choose which of my English Bibles I should pack. My shelves are full of them. I have always had an English Bible. I have handed out New Testaments like candy to those who speak English. I have never gone without a copy of the Scriptures that I was completely confident was translated correctly.
There has never been a time when I had to struggle in my understanding because I only had access to a Bible in another language. It is true that when I became a missionary to Romania I did not understand the Romanian Bible. However, as I was learning the language, when I could not understand a Romanian word, I could easily open my English Bible and understand. But, what would it be like to not have a Bible in your language to turn to? How would you know what God is saying to you? How are you to respond? How could you understand truth?
As I sat there preparing for the dedication service to begin, the primary translator of the Falam Chin Bible pointed out to me a very small, frail, older woman. He said that she had contacted him every year for the entire 16 years to see how he was progressing with the translation. She said, "I pray every day that God would allow me to read His Word in my own Falam language before I die." That day her prayers were answered! As she took the wrapper off her Bible and opened it, I could see tears in her eyes. She started to read. As she read the Falam words my heart cried out in joy and gratitude. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise! For His truth endures to all generations!