Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.

What a fantastic Psalm. This is a little bit based off of the week that we are celebrating. We are celebrating the 4th of July, our Independence Day. As people of the United States we celebrate our freedom from taxation without representation. We celebrate our ability to vote on our leaders and not to simply have rulers over us. This Psalm is one of remembering what God has done.

The Israelites were and are a nation with a rich history of God actively engaging and shaping its future. “This hymn calls on the worshiping congregation to give thanks to the Lord, who has shown his steadfast love throughout the history of God’s people”[1] This is one of those moments to become engrossed and invested in the praise of God. 

The Psalm we are studying today is one of praising God. It is not a lament, there is no reason to hold back your excitement, your exuberance, your joy for who God is! There is no end to how great He is nor is there an end to how great He is, and there is definitively no end to His mercy and loving faithfulness to those who He has promised love too.

The word that is used for “love” in this refrain is the powerful Hebrew term hesed, which means “covenant love” or the favor God shows to those with whom he has entered into a covenant relationship. Sometimes it is translated “steadfast (or ‘enduring’) love.”[2] His steadfast love endures forever!

Who God is has forever been and forever will be. Who He is, is cause enough to praise Him!

God is Good! Now this series is slightly cheating. We are skipping ahead to the good stuff. For the Israelites who collected the Psalms wanted to the readers to appreciate who God is and what He pulled us through before getting to the overwhelming praise moments of the Psalms. Don’t worry next week we will go through a very sobering text.

The Psalms were meant to reflect the need of the people to trust in God through trials, especially trials that had no light at the end of the tunnel. But, this Psalm is a cornerstone for why we can praise God. There will be moments in life when God says to trust Him, to live for Him, and to follow Him but everything around you will seem to point away.

Remember the statements in those moments. As Abraham did as He left his homeland to believe that God would give him a nation. Believe as Joseph did through trial after trial. Believe the Lord like Moses did when He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. – Hebrews 11:26-27

This is a moment for the people of God to respond to what God has done and because of who He is. Some Psalms were particularly written for the temple and for the community to worship together.[3] This Psalm is one of responsive worship. We respond to what God has done by declaring who He is.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever.
who made the great lights— His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.

God is both the creator of the universe and intrinsically active in His creation, especially for His chosen people whom he redeemed. The creator God is not dormant, He is active. He both made the world and does great wondrous deeds to show His splendor.

The simple refrain after the descriptions of God may seem repetitive, but it is also a very important, and crucial, concept to think about in the midst of each moment described in this Psalm. His love endures forever! His great deeds did not cease after creation they remain to this day and will continue on past today.

       His steadfast love endures forever!

Enjoy that our God is complex. Enjoy that He is also simple. Enjoy that lengthy discourses about His greatness is possible and that in other circumstances a simple statement is all that is necessary to declare his splendor.

The initial premise is fantastic. We believe that our God is good. We believe that our God is greater than any other power here on earth and outside of it. Nothing is more powerful than our good God…and…His love endures forever!

The God who made everything that we embrace so easily and all have access to like night and day. The great and wondrous deed of life itself is His. The greatness of God is known to us. When we see creation we need to see more than simply a proof of God’s majesty we can delight and praise Him for His wondrous deeds.

“… believer also needs to go beyond viewing creation as proof and really enjoy what he or she sees because God has been good in what he has created for us. We can delight in creation even more than the non-Christian, more even than so-called “nature worshipers,” because we have knowledge of the God who stands behind everything.”[4]

When we worship our God who created everything we have more to be in awe of. We know that He is more than the splendor, awesomeness, and beauty of creation. What we have available to see pales in comparison to who He is. What is even greater than this is His steadfast love endures forever!

God has been active throughout history and is still active through yours.

And, our God is more than simply a God who created the world. He is more than simply a God greater than all things. Our God is actively engaged with His people and is faithful to fulfil His promises.

to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.
to him who divided the Red Sea asunder His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever.
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever.
to him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever.

The Israelites instead of being left alone were cared for. God does so much to bring redemption to His people. God gave promises to the Israelites through their fathers and God keeps His promises He is faithful. As one commentator puts it, “its emphasis is not on Yahweh’s defeat of the nations but on his saving acts and compassion to Israel (v. 11) and to us (vv. 23, 24).”[5] God is faithful to save.

The darkest moment for the Israelites until the time of the exile was when they were in Egypt. They had heard of the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). Yet, the depth of sorrow and pain that the Israelites endured then highlights the great lengths to which the Lord’s strength was able to save from.

 Yet, this Psalm reflects on the power of God and how He pulled them out. The plagues that testified to God’s power to save. Neither nature nor man can withstand his enduring love and promises to save. The Lord is more than able to save you.

What God did for the Israelites as He rescued them from their slavery in Egypt is the pillar of the Old Testaments faith in God’s provision. What is most glaring about this circumstance and the lofty praise in comparison to our situations is the length of time that the Israelites suffered before the Lord rescued them. 

The Israelite were slaves and under tremendous attack and living in constant fear for decades, potentially well over a century. When they cried out for help God answered them and started the process that lead to their freedom from slavery in Egypt and their route to the promised land through Moses.

What is very interesting about this Psalm is how similar it is to a passage in Deuteronomy.

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.
And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name.
He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. Your ancestors who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky. – Deuteronomy 10:17-22

No matter what the situation you are in there is no reason to doubt that God is there. God is more than able to save you and there is no reason to fear that God will make things right. The next Psalm is one that talks about their hurts and hopes of God making things right.

But, what is your situation of praise. What do you look at in your life or those connected to you to be able to declare, “His love endures forever”? What moment do you look to when you rest in the power of God in life? How has God revealed how He love endures forever to you.

This is important to think about, because God’s Word is filled with the people of God finding less than ideal circumstances, yet learning whether or not they trust in God’s promises and who He is.

Nothing and no one is outside the power of God!

to him who struck down great kings, His love endures forever.
and killed mighty kings— His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan— His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel. His love endures forever.
He remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever.
He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever.

This Psalm is a celebration. It is a celebration of who God is, what He has done, and what He forever will be known for. He is steadfast in Love. God does not renege on His promises it is not who He is. Instead He actively engages with the community that he created and sustains. He declares His greatness and fame through the way He stands for those who believe in Him.

God is Good, he is above all others and rather than hiding from His greatness we must passionately and with utmost dedication declare His greatness. These praise Psalms were often written during times of success when God had done something amazing, and they are just as relevant during times of pain to bring perspective as to God’s awesome power. This Psalm in particular is written in such a place of unity amongst the believers that we are to repeat these phrases to each other. When it is easiest to forget the greatness of those around us can help point us back to the transformatively simple thought. His love endures forever.

Yet here we see God’s power over everything. He is greater than all others. He is greater than nature and nations. He gives food to every creature. He provides for everyone.

His love endures forever!

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

Let us follow suite to this Psalm. As we declare and understand more of who God is, let us give thanks. Give thanks to the God of heaven the one who made all that we see and is over all that we know. Give thanks that God cares for even the creatures of the world and you are worth more than them recognize that 

So, as we look to the God of everything and remember that the psalms are written for corporate worship, how can you worship with others this week? What would it look like to expand what you do as worship to the Lord to do so with those around you. Outside of church, what would it look like to worship God with a community of believers in your life?.

 

[1] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 1112.

[2] James Montgomery Boice, Psalms 107–150: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 1185.

[3] C. Hassell Bullock, Encountering the Book of Psalms: A Literary and Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 125.

[4] James Montgomery Boice, Psalms 107–150: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 1182.

[5] Robert L. Jr. Hubbard and Robert K. Johnston, “Foreword,” in Psalms, ed. W. Ward Gasque, Robert L. Hubbard Jr., and Robert K. Johnston, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2012), 478.