Say it Again….

matt-botsford-423576-unsplash

Growing up, I confess that I didn’t always listen to my parents (you must be shocked)! Often times, I was instructed to do things and I would respond with the classic “huh?” My father would rarely repeat himself but instead would simply say, “uh huh.” I would have to search through the last several minutes of subconsciously stored up information in my mind to retrieve the correct instruction and follow through on the task.

We forget things, right? We forget insignificant things but sometimes we also forget important things. We were blessed with six children and by the grace of God, we only forgot one child on one occasion (ok, so maybe I forgot about the other time we left two at home when we headed off to church). We forget keys, phones, appointments, addresses, birthdays, and maybe even anniversaries…you don’t have to raise your hand here!

Do you remember either as a child or raising children of your own how many times certain things were repeated in an effort to train the brain to remember important lessons? For example, “Please?” “Thank you.” And if you are from the South “yes Ma’am, no Ma’am, yes Sir, no Sir”? We are just prone to forget so many things. Repetition is a tool that teachers, parents and originally God, the good Father and Creator use to teach us truth and lessons that will serve us well if we heed them.

One of the basic tools of study is to look for repeated information or phrases and make notes of those facts. Throughout the Bible we find phrases, themes and words repeated to emphasize a point that will affect our hearts and lives. We must take note of these and begin to discover why the Lord would want us know that particular information. That leads us to our specific text for this week found in the beautiful collection of poems and songs called Psalms. These writings are unique in their ability to minister to everyone because the writers address so many of our emotions and relations to God and others. Toward the end of this book of the Bible we find a psalm that I have skimmed over for a long time because of its constant repetition of a phrase. It’s as if my mind just decided “yeah, I got that Lord.” That was a mistake and recently the Lord took me to this psalm again and gave me a glimpse of the huge truth that my heart needed to sink deep with me and I am praying it does the same with you.

I am quoting the entire psalm for you (all 26 verses) in hopes that you begin to see the emphatic reality of the truth contained in each verse of this passage. Do not allow your eyes to skim or glaze over it, because that would be like walking past a treasure chest full of gold that would drastically and radically alter your future. I cannot overstate the importance of this truth to the one who hasn’t trusted Jesus yet and also to the one whose followed Jesus for decades. Slow down, inhale this truth and bask in the good news of this portion of scripture.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who alone does great wonders,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who by understanding made the heavens,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who spread out the earth above the waters,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who made the great lights,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

the sun to rule over the day,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

the moon and stars to rule over the night,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

and brought Israel out from among them,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who divided the Red Sea in two,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

and made Israel pass through the midst of it,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who led his people through the wilderness,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who struck down great kings,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

and killed mighty kings,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

Sihon, king of the Amorites,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

and Og, king of Bashan,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

and gave their land as a heritage,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

a heritage to Israel his servant,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

It is he who remembered us in our low estate,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

and rescued us from our foes,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

he who gives food to all flesh,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven,

for his steadfast love endures forever.”

Psalm 136

Yep, 26 times the writer of this Psalm repeats this truth, but why? Couldn’t we have gotten the picture in a couple of times or three at the most? Clearly we needed to know this and clearly this is powerful to those who will let it penetrate their minds, souls, hearts and lives. Let’s take a few minutes and break it down.

      First,whose love are we talking about? That would be the only One who is capable of doing all the things mentioned in these verses. The One and only God and Lord of the universe.

      Secondly,what does steadfast mean? According to the dictionary it means “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering”.

       Thirdly,let’s define the word, endure. To endure means to suffer patiently or remain in existence or last.

         Lastly,we can all agree that forever means, well…forever! Without end!

So why do we need to hear this 26 times? Because from the beginning of creation our human hearts have been tempted to doubt that God loves us and that He is indeed good. Each moment of our existence on this planet, we are confronted with a choice to believe in whatever happens, whatever mood we are in, whatever circumstances we face, that God loves us and that doesn’t change based on any factor, rather it remains constants due only His own will to love us. We need to know that Jesus, the greatest expression of God’s love for us, is the anchor for our lives. Jesus is love with skin and the proof we need that God is good and worthy of our trust.

I believe this truth shines like gold and sets Christianity apart from every other religion. The fact that the God we worship and serve and trust actually loves us!

 

Some people believe that if you fully accept this truth that you will take full license to live recklessly or for your own pleasure, but I agree with the Apostle Paul when he said in Romans, “God forbid!” The exact opposite is true. When we begin to comprehend that the God of the universe loves us in an unwavering, lasting even through suffering and forever kind of way, it melts our rebellious hearts and causes us to want to love Him back and live His way. It transforms the way we think, the way we respond to others and situations, the way we serve, the way we pray, the way we give, the way we talk and the way we do every day of life.

Want to participate in a cool experiment? Try writing your own personal version of psalm 136 and see how the Lord transforms your day and maybe your life.  Here is a sample of mine…

“When my eyes open first thing in the morning,

His steadfast love endures forever.

When my day does not go like I planned,

His steadfast love endures forever.

When a friend is healed of cancer,

His steadfast love endures forever.

To Him that drew me to Himself,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

To Him who gives me all things,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

To Him who gives me rest at night,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

To Him who gives eternal life,

for His steadfast love endures forever.”

One thought on “Say it Again….

  1. This article is great! Your heart really shines through your writing.
    God was just speaking to me today about how praise comes out of the overflow of knowing His goodness. Sometimes we unintentionally use praise as a form of manipulation….God, if I praise you so many times, you owe me _____. I mean we don’t say it like that.
    Anyway, great article!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s