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The Heartbeat of Thanksgiving

07. August 2017

Columns, Psalm of the Month,

  

Psalm 136

Psalm Category: Hymn of Praise

Central Thought: Thank the Lord for His everlasting lovingkindness

Keywords: thanks, lovingkindness, everlasting

Introduction

Psalms 135 and 136 have numerous connections that make them one of many pairs in the psalter. Given their common theme of praise to God, and given the verbal connections between 134 and 135 (134:1, 2 with 135:1, 2; 134:3 with 135:21), it seems that these two psalms may serve as a grand finale following the Psalms of Ascents (120–134).

The point of Psalm 135 is found in the middle of that psalm (vv. 13–14). The same point is found at the end of Psalm 136 (vv. 23–26) as well as in the refrain that runs throughout the whole psalm. Just as God sustains His creation, so will He sustain His people; just as He saved His people throughout redemptive history, so will He save everyone who calls on Him in truth (see Rom. 10:11, 13).

The Heartbeat of Thanksgiving: The Lord’s Lovingkindness

That the Lord is good is a frequent declaration in the psalter (100:5; 106:1; 136:1). And, as here, His goodness is routinely defined as His everlasting lovingkindness. Lovingkindness is a frequent and important word in the Hebrew scriptures, so we need to understand this complex idea and its many wonderful elements. It begins with God’s unconditional love for His people, which ...

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