repeat

Give thanks to the LORD because he is good.
God’s faithful love lasts forever! – Psalm 136:1 (CEB)

Psalm 136 goes on for 26 verses, each one repeating God’s faithful love lasts forever!  If we were to read Psalm 136 in its entirety in worship, it would get monotonous.  26 verses would seem like a long time.

But Psalm 136 is more than a repetitive refrain – it is a retelling of Israel’s history.  And at each twist and turn, God was there: faithful and loving.

What Psalm 136 leaves out of the story are the acts of Israel’s unfaithfulness.  In this way, I think Psalm 136 misses the mark.  It is easy to see how God is faithful and loving when the water parts before us and our enemies fall down at our sides.  What if we recount our failures in the midst of God’s mighty acts?

After God created the universe, we desired to be god rather than to love God.
     God’s faithful love lasts forever!

We complained when Moses said it was time to leave Egypt because it was going to be too hard and too scary.
     God’s faithful love lasts forever!

We longed to return to our captivity because we valued full stomachs more than freedom.
     God’s faithful love lasts forever!

We chose a calf formed from gold by our own hands rather than the God who formed us from the dust of the earth by God’s own hands.
     God’s faithful love lasts forever!

We didn’t believe that God would be faithful and loving when faced with the reality of entering the Promised Land
     God’s faithful love lasts forever!

In this way, the refrain is not merely repetition but becomes our confession and a reminder of God’s forgiveness.  It is a proclamation that God’s faithful love exists in the green pastures and by the cool streams but also in the dark valley.  God’s faithful love lasts forever and is also ever-present.  Even in our weakness and failure.

May the reminder of God’s faithful love not simply be something we mindlessly repeat but ever-new words of confession and praise in the highs and lows of our lives.

Give thanks to the LORD because he is good.
God’s faithful love lasts forever! – Psalm 136:1 (CEB)

 

God’s faithful love exists in the green pastures and by the cool streams but also in the dark valley. God’s faithful love lasts forever and is also ever-present. Even in our weakness and failure. Click To Tweet

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Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is repeat.  You can read more about it here.

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5 responses to “repeat

  1. As I read this I immediately thought of 2 Timothy 2:13 (which I had to look up because I’m horrible at remembering where verses are):

    If we are faithless,
    He remains faithful;
    He cannot deny Himself.

    I’m glad that I’m not God. If it were up to me, the planet and everyone on it except for a few select favorites would be long gone by now. How deep His love and how great our need!

  2. I love this Psalm and its refrain reminding us of God’s constant faithfulness. A few years ago I read something which suggested writing your own version- instead of telling the Israelites’ story writing out your own story with that same refrain. I found it a really powerful exercise to do!

    • Hi Lesley – That’s actually what I’m doing right now! I’m using the first few verses to open worship on our stewardship Sunday. We will be celebrating God’s faithful love through the many ministries of our church. I’m writing our own Psalm 136 which we will use throughout the service.

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