Scriptures

Psalm 136

Introduction

The structure of this psalm is different from all the other psalms, as each sentence end with the words, ‘His love endures forever’.

These words are found throughout the Old testament, 1 Chronicles 16:7 / 1 Chronicles 16:34 / 1 Chronicles 16:41 / 2 Chronicles 5:13 / 2 Chronicles 7:3 / 2 Chronicles 7:6 / 2 Chronicles 20:21 / Jeremiah 33:10-11 / Ezra 3:11.

The psalmist focuses on God’s great love and many commentators believe that the first line of each sentence would be read out loud by the priests, and the rest of the congregation would say the last words of the verse.

Heading

‘An exhortation to give thanks to God for particular mercies.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

Although the NIV offers no heading, the KJV tells us that this psalm was used to encourage God’s people to give thanks for God’s mercies.

‘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.’ Psalm 136:1-9

The psalmist begins by declaring that everyone should give thanks to the LORD because of the goodness of God, 1 John 4:8 / 1 John 4:16.

The congregation would then respond with the words, His love endures forever, these words are repeated throughout this psalm, 26 times, 1 Chronicles 16:37-41. The psalmist is telling us that God’s love never ends, it continually goes on.

The psalmist gives us another reason why we should give thanks to God and that is, that He is the God of gods and He is Lord of lords. In other words, He is greater than any other god, He is greater than any other lord, Deuteronomy 10:17.

He is the true God and God is the Master of those who are lords among men over their servants. Jesus assumed this position when He ascended to the right hand of God, 1 Timothy 6:15, and Jesus will maintain His position of King of kings and Lord of lords until He comes again, 1 Corinthians 15:26-28 / Revelation 19:16.

The psalmist tells us that only the One who miraculously created all things has the power to do great wonders, that is, the miraculous. God’s great wonders are seen in creation when he created the heavens and the earth, Genesis 1:1-2, and they speak of his never-ending love towards His people, Proverbs 3:19 / Proverbs 8:24-31.

The psalmist now speaks about God’s great wonders as seen in the first four days of creation. They speak of how God spread out the earth above the waters, Genesis 1:1-19 / Psalm 24:2 / Acts 14:17. This great wonder also declares God’s enduring love for His people.

God’s great love is also seen in the great lights, He created in creation, Genesis 1:14, these include the sun, Genesis 1:16, the moon and stars, Genesis 1:16. All of creation tells us that God’s love really does go on, it never ends.

‘To him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever. And brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. With a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever. To him who divided the Red Sea asunder His love endures forever. And brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever. To him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever. To him who struck down great kings, His love endures forever. And killed mighty kings—His love endures forever. Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever. And Og king of Bashan—His love endures forever. And gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever. An inheritance to his servant Israel. His love endures forever. He remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. And freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever. He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.’ Psalm 136:10-26

The psalmist now turns their attention to Egypt, it was God who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, and it was God who brought them out of Egypt, Exodus 12:29 / Psalm 135:8-9, but He brought them out of Egypt with a mighty and outstretched hand, that is, He delivered them in a powerful way, Exodus 6:6 / Deuteronomy 4:34 / Deuteronomy 5:15 / Deuteronomy 7:19 / Deuteronomy 26:8 / Jeremiah 32:21, which again is a demonstration of God’s enduring love.

God not only delivered out of Egypt but when Pharaoh and his army chased them, Pharaoh and his army drowned in the Red Sea, Exodus 14:21-22 / Exodus 14:29 / Isaiah 33:9, which again is a demonstration of God’s enduring love.

It was God who led His people through the wilderness, Deuteronomy 29:5, and cared for their needs, by providing food, Exodus 16:12-15, and water, Exodus 15:25, which again is a demonstration of God’s enduring love.

God’s enduring love is seen when He struck down great kings and killed mighty kings, Deuteronomy 3:11-13 / Amos 2:9. These kings were Sihon king of the Amorites, Numbers 21:23-24, and Og king of Bashan, Numbers 21:33-35, as a result, of defeating these kings, Israel were given their land as an inheritance, Psalm 135:10-12.

The psalmist tells us that God remembered Israel in their low estate, in other words, the psalmist has now moved on from what God has done in the past and looking at the present. God’s enduring love is seen in the fact that He still remembers Israel in their current condition and freed them from their enemies.

God’s enduring love is seen in how He provides food not just for mankind, Psalm 104:27-28 / Psalm 115:16, but for every creature, Genesis 9:8-17.

The psalmist ends by encouraging Israel to give thanks to the God of heaven, the God who exists in a heavenly realm, 2 Chronicles 36:23 / Ezra 1:2 / Ezra 5:11-12 / Daniel 2:18 / Daniel 2:44 / Daniel 5:23, the God’s whose love endures forever.

Conclusion

Over and over again the psalmist reminds us of how God’s enduring love has been clearly demonstrated not only in creation but also by the way He protected and cared for the needs of His people.

When we turn our attention to those beautiful descriptions of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, we note that Paul reminds us that love not only bears all things, Galatians 6:2, but love also endures all things.

It’s the love of God which helps us endure all the difficulties we face in life, 1 Peter 2:20-21 / Romans 5:5. It’s God’s enduring love for us which motivates us to share that love with others, Hebrews 12:7-11.

Go To Psalm 137

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

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