Reflections from the Psalms

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

~ Psalm 136:1

As with all the psalms Psalm 136 is a work of poetry, but this psalm is a bit unique.  Psalm 136 more specifically is a ballad (a story narrated in short stanzas) written in antiphonal form, meaning a “call and response” hymn or chant.  This lends itself to being a corporately read/recited psalm.  What an encouragement to do so!

The author presents God for who he is as Creator/Provider, Redeemer and Protector.  The author states that the LORD God is King over all (v.1-3, 10, 15, 17-20, 26)…He created all (v.4-9) and provides for all that he has created (11-14, 16, 21-22, 25)…He pursues people to know him (v.23-24)…And we are to give thanks (v.1-3, 26)…for his steadfast love endures forever (v.1-26). 

The word translated as “steadfast love” is the Hebrew word ‘hesed’.  This is a forceful word denoting a covenantally-committed love, a faithfully loyal love, a resolutely expressed love, sourced in God himself.  It is an all-encompassing merciful love.  If it is of mercy (grace) it is fully undeserved/unearned.  Yet as believers in Jesus Christ we have the inescapable hesed of God. 

It may not be functional or practical to do, but it would not be wrong to add the tag line of “for his steadfast love endures forever” after everything we recount about our lives (good or bad).  So at least in your mind and heart, NEVER forget and constantly remind yourself that God’s hesed for you has and will endure forever.  And as appropriate, encourage your brothers and sisters in the Lord of the same.