Scripture

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
11 and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.
14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness;
His love endures forever.

17 to him who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
18 and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
20 and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.
21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
22 an inheritance to his servant Israel.
His love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
24 and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Reflection

The Psalms cover a wide breadth of human emotion and experience with God. They include expressions of great celebration, immense sorrow, and deep frustration. Yet throughout the entire collection, hope is never lost completely. In every moment of the Psalmists’ lives, every moment of our lives, God’s “steadfast love” endures. 

 

The Hebrew word hesed is translated as “steadfast love.” It occurs 147 times in the book of Psalms. This Psalm invites us in the opening verse to, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.” God’s generosity and faithfulness to Israel are recalled throughout the Psalm with the consistent refrain that completes each verse of the Psalm, “His love endures forever.” There is value in this repetition, reciting words from memory, and recalling an important attribute of God. Perhaps we should try this in moments of stress or doubt. “I’m worried about my son.” God’s love endures forever.  “I’m sick and fear for my health.” God’s love endures forever.  “I am afraid, worried, elated, joyful……” God’s love endures forever. Try it yourself. See how it begins to shape your soul as you remind yourself that God is faithful, and his love endures forever. 

Prayer

Holy One, we are called to turn our lives to you, your word and your ways. Lead us into your care so that we may turn away from those things which have harmed us and others. Help us separate ourselves from actions and attitudes that demean and destroy.  Forgive us as we fail at this effort, but give us wisdom and strength to continue on the journey. Thank you for your steadfast love that endures forever. Amen.