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“His love endures forever.” “His love endures forever.” “His love endures forever.” And several refrains later…you guessed it, it reads: “His love endures forever.”
Psalm 136 is the only psalm that repeats the same refrain after each verse. Twenty-six times to be exact. Exciting! Right?
If you’re thinking, “not really!” you are not alone. My husband taught a lesson on this psalm to his teen-aged/young adult Sunday School class and their overall consensus was that this psalm was boring.
Before you are too hard on yourself or these young people, let’s explore the feeling. Might it be that we are declaring these affirmations boring because it is an expression of character with which we are unfamiliar? This psalm depicts God’s unchanging character. It creatively communicates His consistency, reliability, and loyalty. Perhaps being told “His love endures forever…” 26 times becomes a dull echo drowned out by all the drama, rejection, put downs, and pain that we are so used to.
If it read “he hit you,” “he’s cheated,” “you’re fired,” “you’re not worth it,” “with your past, you might as well call it quits” or “you failed”—we’d probably be more stimulated and attentive. Why? Because those are the sounds of drama we are used to hearing. That beat has been around so long that we have an entire dance routine choreographed to it! We know how to move to those sounds. This “His love endures forever” stuff is of a totally different beat. We’d rather sit this one out.
How are these words ever going to impact you, touch you, transform you? Where’s the excitement?
Here it is: This is no vain repetition. On the contrary, this salvation-history liturgy of praise to the Lord as Creator and as Israel’s Redeemer is a reminder to us that no matter what twists and turns, ups and downs, aches and pains, oohs and ahhs come our way in this life, His love will remain. Others may waiver. But God’s very nature doesn’t allow for such. He is consistent, reliable, and loyal.
Read this psalm in its entirety and be encouraged as you see that woven into the fabric of Israel’s initial call to praise God, their deliverance out of Egypt, their wilderness journey, all the way to their conquest of the Promised Land is this reverberating assurance that they were loved by Him. And so it is with your life: woven into the fabric of your initial call to praise God and receive Him as Lord and Redeemer, your deliverance from whatever bondage may be holding you captive, your wilderness journey, all the way to the conquest where you spend eternity with Him is this reverberating echoing assurance that He loves you and this love WILL endure forever! From the beginning all the way to the end! Forever!
Now that’s exciting!
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