I Sound My Barbaric Yawp – Psalm 100

Last Wednesday, I asked my morning Bible class to take a moment and write out some things they were thankful for – here are some, not all of the responses and these are completely anonymous:

-Christian Friends
-Good health
-Health to be able to help others
-My well being
-Church and Christian friendships
-Children who live nearby and who are faithful Christians
-Mothers and Fathers who taught them how important the Bible is and how to live a Christian life
-Conquering cancer…twice
-Life’s hard knocks that taught me lessons and made me stronger
-American military for protecting me for so many decades through WWI and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and more.
-God’s sustaining power throughout the problems of life.
-For children who decided to take me in and take care of me, and for God helping me realize that I needed -someone to be responsible for me in my older years.
-And of course my personal favorite was this one: I’m thankful for my handicap placard

Psalm 100 starts out by saying “Shout for joy to the Lord,” and I believe this starts with thankfulness.

I envision this being a shout of joy to the Lord that comes from the very depths of your being.

Maybe He has given you the direction to go. Maybe He has provided a blessing, and you realize that it has come from God. So from the depths of your being you proclaim your praise.

Back in 1989, a movie by the name of “Dead Poets Society” was released. It took place on the campus of Welton Academy Prep School, whose ethos is defined by the headmaster as “tradition, honor, discipline and excellence.”

The teaching methods of a new English teacher, John Keating (played by Robin Williams) are unorthodox by the standards of Welton Academy. He tells the students to call him “O Captain! My Captain” in reference to a poem by Walt Whitman.

In one part of the movie, Keating has asked his students to write a poem. One student named Todd who is very timid and does not fully appreciate the radical nature of Mr. Keating, does not write a poem. The students are reading their poems outloud.

Keating approaches Todd’s desk. and says “Mr. Anderson, I see you sitting there in agony. Come on, Todd, step up. Let’s put you out of your misery.

Todd says: I, I didn’t do it, I didn’t write a poem.

Mr Keating responds by saying: Mr. Anderson thinks that everything inside of him is worthless and embarrassing. Isn’t that right, Todd? Isn’t that your worst fear? Well, I think you’re wrong. I think you have something inside of you that is worth a great deal.

Keating walks up to the blackboard and begins to write.

“I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.” W. W. Uncle Walt again. Now, for those of you who don’t know, a yawp is a loud cry or yell. Now, Todd, I would like you to give us a demonstration of a barbaric “yawp.” Come on. You can’t yawp sitting down. Let’s go. Come on. Up.

Todd reluctantly stands and follows Keating to the front.

Keating tells Todd: “You gotta get in “yawping” stance.”

Todd and Mr. Keating then go round and round. Mr Keating tries to get Todd to let out his barbaric Yawp, but Todd keeps mumbling, not getting into it. Mr. Keating starts to frustrate Todd, and finally Todd screams out YAWP!!

Mr. Keating looks at him and says “There it is. You see, you have a barbarian in you after all.

I think of this dialogue every time I read this verse – Shout for joy to the LORD! What the Lord has done for us deserves a Shout for Joy! And that is what the Psalmist is saying. “Suddenly you realize that God has been so good to you that you can’t keep it inside any more. From the depths of your being you shout your joy unto the Lord.” You let out your YAWP of praise.

So go ahead, shout for joy to the Lord!

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