by Joe Leavell
Psalm 136 is one of my favorite Psalms in Scripture. In this beautiful poem, an unknown psalmist brilliantly writes his praises to God for both who God is and for what He has done. What’s especially interesting about this Psalm is that, while in the first portion of each verse it first describes a different characteristic of God or a deed done by Him, in the second half of each verse then the psalmist writes, “For his steadfast love endures forever.” For 26 straight verses this Psalm tells us to praise God and then answers with the reason, “For his steadfast love endures forever.”
For an example, the very first verse says, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (ESV) The psalmist goes on to describe the many wondrous acts that God has done, starting at the creation of the world, the sun, moon, and the stars. But this psalm does not just praise God for His creative acts. It praises God also for the mighty deeds that He has done through history, such as bringing the children of Israel out of bondage, leading the people through the wilderness, and overcoming their enemies in so that they might inherit the Promised Land. Always, the Psalmist ends each word of praise with, “His love endures forever.”
The Psalm that Never Ends
The last verse of this meaningful psalm ends with the praise around the timeline of the end of Moses’ life, or maybe the beginnings of Joshua’s time of leading of Israel, which indicates it is written fairly early on in the history of the children of Israel. Did God cease to do work worthy of praise, because of His steadfast love, after this Psalm was written? Of course He did not! Think with me through Scripture after this point. God still demonstrated His love to Israel in the times of Ruth, Samuel, David, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Haggai, and beyond.
At the opening of the New Testament we see God culminating the demonstration of that enduring love through His Son, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself on the cross of Calvary to redeem His people from their sin. Jesus purchased our redemption through His own sacrifice, rose again from the dead, and ascended to heaven to prepare for us an eternal resting place with Him. Why? Because His steadfast love endures forever! He poured out His Spirit on believers, inspired the Apostles to write the New Testament, and the Body of Christ spread through the known world. Again, why? Because God’s steadfast love endures forever!
As this Psalm indicates, God’s steadfast love is enduring. It is permanent. It will never end but will go on forever and ever. Do you know what this means? It means Psalm 136 didn’t even end after the closing of the New Testament. If you look through history, you can see His love enduring on through even today into your life and mine. Think about it. All of us could echo the truth found in this Psalm and contribute our own pages, proclaiming alongside the saints through the ages, God’s faithful and enduring love to us, which will continue on into Christ’s coming and His eternal rule forever and ever.
Clinging to the Truth of God’s Enduring Love
The greatest lesson that I have learned from this repetitive psalm is that there is never a wrong time to praise God for who He is and for his steadfast love. God’s love is always present and always endures, no matter what. No matter what I am facing or what circumstances I may be experiencing, I can be confident at that moment that God’s steadfast love is continuing to endure!
Whatever you are going through today, whether it is an incredibly difficult time in your life, or whether you have miraculously experienced God’s provision or protection, you can cling to the truth of this psalm. You can praise His name, because God is still continuing to love you, as He will continue to do for all of eternity.
Share with Others
Have you read this Psalm recently? I encourage you to do so! In Psalm 136, the psalm writer shared praises of who God is, and what He has done because of His love. We’re still talking about these marvelous deeds of God thousands of years later! As you read, think through your own stories of God’s faithfulness in your life. How has God shown you His unending love in your life both recently and in the past? Share those life experiences with others so that they too can hear of God’s love demonstrated in your life! We would also love for you to share with us how God has demonstrated His love to you, whether it be long ago or in recent times. Share with us in the comment section of our Facebook page, so that others can see and be encouraged in God’s faithful love!
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