Don’t Just Stand There, Dig Deeper!

I’ve been reading through the Psalms, and am scheduled to finish the book just in time to start my Christmas season in Luke on December 1. Imagine my wonder at my reading for today (the day before Thansgiving here in the U.S.), which included Psalm 136.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!

His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.

His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords.

His faithful love endures forever.” (NLT)

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Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash

At first glance, it starts off very repetitively. And that’s how I read it for years, before I learned to dig a little deeper. I was using the kiddie plastic beach shovel, which is fine for a season.

But there’s so much more to be discovered in just these three verses than can be seen with just a cursory glance! Each of these stanzas reveals something different about our God by using a different name for him.

Verse 1: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!

His faithful love endures forever.”

This tells us that Yahweh is good. He is good through and through, and this goodness is expressed through his never-ending love. When you read “LORD” in your Bible, it is referencing God’s name. What do people call you? They call me Lauri. That’s my name. Yahweh is God’s name.

Not only is Yahweh the proper name of God, Yahweh also expresses his character. When this name is used in scripture, it emphasizes God’s righteousness. Because He is righteous, He must judge evil, and requires us to live good, righteous, godly lives before him.*

Although He judges sin, He makes the sinner righteous for his name’s sake in the world. And that’s where we see his unfailing love and goodness shine through. Because we could never live up to his righteous, holy, perfect standard, He sent his Son to take the punishment we deserve. For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

One day we will all stand before the judgment seat, and give an account for what we’ve done here on earth. Have you accepted Christ’s gift of forgiveness for all of the ways you fall short, and for what you could never do on your own? It’s a free gift! All you have to do is accept it.

Verse 2: “Give thanks to the God of gods.

His faithful love endures forever.”

There is in the heart of mankind a need to worship something. If we don’t know Yahweh, we may end up creating a god so that we meet the need to bow before something. Throughout human history, man has created countless gods, or worshiped things God created, like the sun, moon, or stars. But these “gods” are far-off imagined-powers that are not personal. Since they’re not real, they’re not involved in our lives, either!

But God is all of these: real, personal, and involved. When you read “God” in scripture, it refers to our Covenant Creator. He made us, and he stands in a covenant relationship with us, his creation. No matter how often we fall and fail, He will never abandon us. He works in us and with us, through his grace, to restore and save us from the enemy of our souls.* Now that’s faithful love!

Take time today to recognize all of the ways God is at work in your life. How have you grown in your knowledge of the love of Christ since you’ve come to know him? How has God worked all things for the good in your life so far? Don’t worry, there’s still more good coming…

Verse 3: Give thanks to the Lord of lords.

His faithful love endures forever.”

There are many rulers in this world, with many different authority levels. Even rulers of countries have their own pecking order. Who’s got the most money? Who’s more powerful? No matter where each thinks they stand, there is One who stands above every one of them. Adonai, the Lord of lords, is master and commander of all.

“Lord” in scripture means just that. We don’t call anyone “Lord” anymore, but it means master and owner. God created this world and everything in it, so He owns it all! We’re just managers of it. We are his servants, and He’s in charge. We may think the world is going down the tubes, but we can only see a speck of the master timeline. Don’t lose sight of the fact that the Lord is in charge, and has got it all under control! We will see how it all comes together in the end, when good is rewarded and evil is judged.

If you are a follower of Christ, you are a servant of the Lord. As his servant, you are called to submit to his orders. In return, He cares for you, provides for you, and protects you. Doesn’t that sound a bit like love to you?

How are you doing in the submission department? Our lives are not our own anyway, so we should not be trying to run them with our own agenda. What’s is God’s agenda for your life? Are you lining up with what He’s calling you to do?

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Photo by Luísa Schetinger on Unsplash

Now dig deeper with your grown-up shovel, and look at how the end of Psalm 136 lines up with the beginning. Can you see how these verses apply to the different names of God used earlier?

LORD: “He remembered us in our weakness.

His faithful love endures forever.” (verse 23)

God: “He saved us from our enemies.

His faithful love endures forever.” (verse 24)

Lord: “He gives food to every living thing.

His faithful love endures forever.” (verse 25)

I’d say there’s a lot to thank God for in just this one Psalm, wouldn’t you? Enjoy Rend Collective’s Counting Every Blessing, and have a Happy Thanksgiving even if you don’t live in the U.S.!!

 


*For more on these names and character traits, read The Names of God by Andrew Jukes. (I won’t get a penny if you order it, just sharing a resource!)

2 thoughts on “Don’t Just Stand There, Dig Deeper!”

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