His Mercy Endures Forever (Psalm 136:1-3)
Are we always grateful for what God has done? Too many times we take what God has given for granted, and we don’t thank him. Too many times we are dissatisfied because God has not given everything we want.
Christians should be individuals filled with thanksgiving. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Col. 3:15). “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).
The psalmist exhorts the Israelites to thank God, verses 1-3. The Israelites should thank God, for he is good, verse 1. The psalmist is going to tell us what he means by good. God is good because of his creation and his redemption of the Israelites.
God’s mercy endures forever, verse 1. The phrase “For His mercy endures forever” occurs after each colon in this Psalm. This highlights the importance of this concept; the psalmist wants to impress on our minds that God should be thanked because of his enduring mercy. God’s mercy refers to his loyal and unfailing love. Even though at times, Israel was unfaithful, God still loved and cared for his people. God’s love and concern will never be extinguished; it endures forever.
After exhorting people to praise God, the psalmist spends the rest of the psalm discussing why God’s people should be grateful. The psalmist discusses the wonder of God’s creation; he exhorts the people to praise God because of the creation. The psalmist then discusses the redemption history of Israel–how God led the people from Egypt to the establishment of the kingdom.
We have so much for which we should be grateful. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (Js. 1:17). “A faithful man will abound with blessings” (Prov. 28:20).
Let’s examine some of the reasons that we can praise God.
God Gives Temporal Blessings
We have the temporal blessing of food. The Scriptures teach that our food comes from God. “You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water. You provide their grain, For so You have prepared it” (Ps. 65:9). The psalmist prays that “Our barns may be full, Supplying all kinds of produce” (Ps. 144:13). God sends us bread for food (2 Cor. 9: 10).
Because God provides our food, we should thank him for it. When Jesus fed the five thousand, Jesus blessed the bread and fish before giving them to his disciples (Mt. 14:19). When Paul was on a ship headed for Rome, he gave thanks to God before he ate (Acts 27:35). Are you grateful for your food?
As we seek God’s kingdom first, God gives us clothing and food (Matt. 6:25-33). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said not to worry about food or clothing. God richly provides for the birds and lilies, and he will care for us as well.
God gives us the blessing of family. The Bible teaches that women were created to be a blessing to their husbands. God saw that “it is not good that man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18). “He who finds a wife finds a good thing” (Prov. 18:22). “A prudent wife is from the Lord” (Prov. 19: 14).
Because women are a blessing they need to be cared for their husbands. “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel” (1 Pet. 3:7). Husbands, are you treating your wife as a blessing?
God gave the blessing of children (Ps. 127:3-5). God also gave the blessing of grandchildren: “Children’s children are the glory of old men” (Prov. 17 :6). Those of you who have children and grandchildren know what a blessing they are. Many times we fail to remember that children are a gift from God, because they disappoint and hurt. Children are going to disappoint and hurt, because they’re human–No child is perfect.
Are you thankful for the temporal blessings God gives?
God Gives Spiritual Blessings
Every spiritual blessing is in Christ (Eph. 1:3). God has not withheld any spiritual blessings from his people. But, if one is going to receive God’s spiritual blessings, he must be in Christ. The only way to get into Christ is to be baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27).
Let’s examine some of the blessings we have in Christ listed in Ephesians one.
God has chosen us, vv. 4-5.
This does not mean that God decided who would be saved and who would be lost. This means that God chose to bless Christians.
We have redemption, vv. 7-8.
“Redemption” means “to set tree a thing or person that has come to belong to another.” In our sin, we came to belong to Satan. But, Jesus stepped forward and offered his blood to buy us back from Satan. Because we have redemption, we have the forgiveness of sins.
We have an inheritance, v. 11.
In the New Testament, “inherit” carries the idea of obtaining eternal life (Eph. 5:5). The inheritance mentioned here is eternal life.
We have the Holy Spirit, vv. 13-14.
When we were baptized, we received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39). In Christ, we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. In the ancient world, goods were sealed to show to whom they belonged. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit to show that we belong to God.
The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance. This was a deposit given to purchase something. This payment obligated the party to make further payments.
God expects his people to be thankful for all his blessings. Are you thankful?