Psalm 136

Psalm 136  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 10
SA 136This Psalm opens with what may be termed the refrain of Israel's national song-at le* from the time of Solomon's temple (see 2 Chron. 5:1313It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; (2 Chronicles 5:13)); and the song which proclaims that "His mercy endureth forever" is surely a song for eternity. And it is exceedingly beautiful to notice how the Psalmist connects the mercy of the Lord with the whole of Israel's relationships and history. Thus in verses 2-4 it flows from what God is as the God of gods, the Lord of lords, and as the doer of great wonders; i.e. what God is in His absolute supremacy, and in His almighty power. From verses 5-9 God as Creator is celebrated, and for His mercy. Next it is as Redeemer. (vv. 10-15) And whether it be in judgment upon Egypt, bringing Israel out with a strong hand and a stretched-out arm, or in the overthrow of Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, it is the thought of His enduring mercy that fills the hearts of His people, and produces their song. So in every subsequent stage of their history. Thus, in verse 16, the ascription is to Him who led His people through the wilderness; in verses 17-20, to Him who delivered them from their foes by the way; and then, in verses 21, 22, who put them in possession of their land. The One who had brought them out had also brought them in, for His mercy endureth forever. The next two verses (23, 24) sum up all the past. God had remembered His people in their low estate (in Egypt), and had redeemed them from all their enemies, from that time until in the enjoyment of their heritage. And verse 25 looks onward to the millennium, and anticipates the supply of the need of all flesh, when mercy will be the theme of their song-as much then as now. The Psalm concludes with celebrating the God of heaven-God in the universal range of His power and authority. And still it is, "His mercy endureth forever."
Thus from first to last, and during all the interval from first to last, in creation (and we can go further back still-even to God's purposes of grace in Christ before the foundation of the world), in our redemption, our guidance through the wilderness, our deliverance from our enemies, our being put into possession of all that God has secured for us in Christ, whether now, or when we are forever with the Lord, it is and will be nothing but mercy, so that we may adopt Israel's song, and cry unceasingly, "O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever."
E. D.