Psalm 136

Psalm 136

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His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

136   Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
  Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
  Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  to him who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  to him who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  to him who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  the sun to rule over the day,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  the moon and stars to rule over the night,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  and brought Israel out from among them,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  to him who led his people through the wilderness,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  to him who struck down great kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  and killed mighty kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  Sihon, king of the Amorites,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  and Og, king of Bashan,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  and gave their land as a heritage,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  a heritage to Israel his servant,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
  It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  and rescued us from our foes,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
  he who gives food to all flesh,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
  Give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

(ESV)


Psalm 136 Commentary

by Hank Workman

The repetition is purposeful.  God’s love, this unending, faithful and merciful love endures forever.

The declarative phrase is found several other times in the Old Testament where there was public praise coming from the people.  It’s recorded in David’s psalm of praise in 1 Chronicles 16  and written into the assignments of the Levites.  It was part of the dedication of the temple under Solomon in 2 Chronicles 5.  Marching into battle against the Ammonites, it was sung as they were defeated (2 Chronicles 20:21).  It was part of the dedication of the temple under Ezra in chapter 3 of the same book.

In such a beautiful way it was the people, a great multitude responding back to the priest who gave the first half of the stanza.  Repeated 26 times, on so many levels it draws people to regard the very goodness of God and remember His unwavering faithful love and mercy.

There are many things I love about this psalm but one is the recounting of history.  Through the back and forth of the priest and the listeners, both were declaring where God had delivered, been merciful and ruled over them.

So for a moment consider your own life, your own journey.  Simply take a moment here and reflect upon the many ins and outs of what you have faced through the years.  Consider where He has delivered you from sin and the bondage it held.  Reflect upon His deliverance in some or many situations that assaulted you.  Take a moment to remember the times God stepped in, intervened and brought undeniable peace or hope.  These times were for each of us His goodness.  These were His outstretched arm of protection and guidance.  These were acts of His unwavering love.

Lift up your voice in the same declaration as you think of your own journey – Give thanks to Lord for He is good.  His faithful and merciful love endures forever.  Sing praise this morning for all our great God has done for you!


Psalm 136 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Mercy, kindness, lovingkindness, goodness, and favor. This is the translation for the Greek word checed which appears in every verse of this psalm.

The application for today is simple. Recount the ways in which the Lord has shown you mercy. Let your mind flash back to all the times you decided foolishly to serve yourself instead of Him. Think back to the days when you walked in rebellion, striving against the truth God clearly placed before you. Reflect on the times when you willingly chose to do wrong despite knowing the right path to follow. We’ve all been there.

I remember many times in my life when it would have been appropriate and absolutely fair for God to give up on me. He showed me His love instead. I remember times when I made absolute promises to God about changing my life and never followed through. In those moments, He showed me His grace. Yes, there were consequences. There always are. However, it doesn’t change the fact that God continually and aggressively loves us despite.

Randy Alcorn recounts a story relating to God’s love…

“Imagine a great and generous king. In the midst of his benevolent reign, he hears that his subjects have revolted. He sends messengers to investigate. The rebels kill them. So he sends his own dear son, the prince. They murder him viciously, hanging his body on the city wall. What would you expect the king to do now? Send his armies and take revenge, right? Kill those rebels! Burn their villages to ashes! That king certainly has both the power and the right to avenge himself.

But what if the king turned around and offered these criminals a full pardon? “I will accept my son—whom you murdered—as the payment for all your rebellion. You may go free. All I require is for you to admit your transgressions and embrace my son’s purchase of your forgiveness.” We’d be stunned—blown away—to hear this, wouldn’t we? But the king’s not finished. “I invite any of you to come live in my palace, eat at my table, and enjoy all the pleasures of my kingdom.

And I will adopt you as my own children and make you my heirs, so everything that’s mine will be yours forever.” Incredible. Then he says, “I won’t force you to accept my offer. But the only alternative is spending the rest of your life in prison. The choice is yours.” Can you imagine someone responding, “How dare the king send anyone to prison? What a cruel tyrant!?”

This is God’s grace to us. If trying to comprehend it doesn’t stretch your brain, you just aren’t getting it.”

Randy Alcorn
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