Sunday, June 5, 2011

Psalm 136

God's Mercy Endures Forever

Psalm 136 is a hymn of thanksgiving and commonly known as the Great Hallel (praise).  Its unique feature is the recurrence of the same refrain in each verse with the stress upon God's mercy, or covenant loyalty.

Forgetful as we are, things must be often repeated to us. By mercy we understand the Lord's disposition to save those whom sin has rendered miserable and vile, and all the provision He has made for the redemption of sinners by Jesus Christ.

The counsels of this mercy have been from everlasting, and the effects of it will endure for ever.  The Lord continues equally ready to show mercy to all who seek for it, and this is the source of all our hope and comfort. ~ Matthew Henry
Praise Him for what He is (v 1-3).
  Praise Him for what He is able to do (v 4).
    Praise Him for what He has done in creation (v 5-9).
      Praise Him for what He did in redeeming Israel from bondage (v 10-15).
        Praise Him for what He did in His providence toward them (v 16-22).
          Praise Him for His grace in times of calamity (v 23-24).
            Praise Him for His grace to the world at large (v 25).
              Praise Him at the remembrance that this God is the God of Heaven (v 26)
                  ~ Andrew A. Bonar

St. Athanasius of Alexandria

When, in the time of the Emperor Constantius, Saint Athanasius was assaulted by night in his church at Alexandria by Syrianus and his troops.  Many were wounded and murdered, but the Bishop of Alexandria sat still in his chair, and ordered the deacon to begin this Psalm, and the people answered in prompt alternation, “For His mercy endureth for ever.”
~ Christopher Wordsworth.

To Him who made great lights,
For His mercy endures forever -
The sun to rule by day,
For His mercy endures forever,
The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His mercy endures forever.
~ Ps. 136:7-9

"O sun! what makes thy beams so bright?
The Word that said, "Let there be light."
~ James Montgomery

  • The Lord is good; His mercy endures forever
  • God does great wonders - creation is a work of His wisdom
  • God delivers His people with a strong hand and outstretched arm (power & might)
  • God remembers His children in their lowly state - He knows my need!
  • God rescues us from our enemies
  • God makes provision for His people
  • As such a great psalm of praise, a meditation on each verse is an offering of my praise to God as I ponder His mercy - which endures forever - bestowed upon me!
     O Lord, I give thanks to You for You are good!  How I bless You for Your goodness to me, and ask that You will continue to impart Your mercy and goodness in my lives and the lives of those I love. You alone are God, and You have shown Yourself great by Your works.  How I bless You each time I consider Your handiwork in creation - in the spring season when all the earth seems to come "alive," when at the beach and ponder the might of Your seas, when I see a full moon rising, when I hold a newborn baby.  You alone do great wonders!
     Father, thank You for Your deliverance to Your children of old - for the way You delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh and brought them into the land of Israel as their heritage.  How I bless You that You didn't stop with the Israelites, but that You continue today to deliver Your children, of which I am one!
     Thank You, O God, that You remembered me in my lowly state.  Who am I, that the God of the Universe would consider me!  I give thanks to You, O God of Heaven, for Your  mercy endures forever!  Amen and amen! 

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