Do you need a reason to give thanks to God?
How about twenty?
Check out Psalm 136. The author of this “song” lists some twenty reasons to give thanks, the chief one being “because His mercy endures forever.” Each of the 26 verses in the Psalm ends with this phrase.
Other reasons that are listed refer to the heavens God created, the miracles He performs, the provision He makes for “every living creature.” Then there are the ways that He protects and guides His people: He led the people of Israel out of slavery and divided the Red Sea, He “defeated powerful kings,” and He “snatched [them] from the grasp of our enemies.”
For us today, this Psalm reminds us that we, too, can trust God to protect and provide, not only physically but emotionally: “He remembered us when we were humiliated—because his mercy endures forever” (v. 23). Even when we are ashamed, insecure, or embarrassed, God remembers us and comforts us!
What does this mean, that “his mercy endures forever“?
Mercy is defined as ” compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” God, who is entirely holy and perfect, should and could punish us when we rebel against Him. Instead, He chose to send His Son, Jesus, to the cross to take our punishment through His death. It’s been said that mercy is not getting the punishment we deserve, while grace is getting what we don’t deserve (forgiveness and eternal life).
“Endures forever” means that we can still rely on God’s mercy even four millennia (or so) after the Psalmist wrote this. It also means that God has been merciful to us in the past, is merciful today, and–wonder of wonders–will be merciful tomorrow, even after we mess up. Because we will mess up. All God asks is that we seek His forgiveness in order to receive this forever mercy.
As you go about your activities this week, think about God’s goodness and give Him thanks.
Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his mercy endures forever (Psalm 136:1, GW).