Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

 

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!
     His faithful love endures forever.

My grandmother had a collection of sayings that she repeated again and
again and again. I heard her say, “Make somebody happy and you’ll be
happy too” hundreds of times. When I became old enough to drive, I’d
stop by her house to stock up on cookies. Every time I left, she’d call
out, “Drive safely!” In more than a thousand visits to my grandparents’
house–they lived right down the street from where I grew up–every time
my grandmother would say to me, “We love you!” I knew it already,
without a doubt. But it felt good to hear it again, anyway.

Some
things deserve to be repeated, important things, wise things, things
that shape our minds, hearts, and actions. Psalm 136 exemplifies
worthwhile repetition. Each of its 26 verses ends with the same phrase,
“His faithful love endures forever.” Now that’s some serious repetition
. . . just the sort we need.

The word translated here as “faithful love” is chesed
in Hebrew. This word, one of the most important in the Scriptures, is
translated in a variety of ways in English versions of the Bible. The
KJV uses “mercy.” The ESV prefers “steadfast love.” The NIV employs
“love.” God’s chesed is his faithful goodness to us, his love
that never quits, his mercy when we are desperate. Many biblical
scholars associate God’s chesed with his covenant relationship with Israel. His love is faithful in that the Lord honors his covenant promises.

Through
constant repetition of “his faithful love endures forever,” Psalm 136
takes this truth and works it into our hearts. When life is hard and
we’re not sure God is there for us, we hear echoes of Psalm 136: “His
faithful love endures forever. His faithful love endures forever.” When
we take on new challenges that stretch us, we are strengthened by the
refrain of his psalm: “His faithful love endures forever. His faithful
love endures forever.” When we delight in the good gifts of life, we
realize that they are just that, gifts from our faithful, loving God.
Thus our hearts resonate with the words of Psalm 136 that bear
repeating: “His faithful love endures forever. His faithful love
endures forever.”

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Can
you remember sentences that were repeated in your family of origin, by
your parents or grandparents? What impact have these sentences had upon
you? How might you live differently today if you truly believed that
you were fully and forever loved by God?

PRAYER:

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit,
Into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
Let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its Beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.

Come, Almighty to deliver,
Let us all Thy life receive;
Suddenly return and never,
Never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Amen.

“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” by Charles Wesley, 1747. Public domain.

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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org), a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.

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