Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever:
To Him who alone does great wonders, for His mercy endures forever;
to Him who by wisdom made the heavens, for His mercy endures forever;
to Him who laid out the earth above the waters, for His mercy endures forever;
to Him who made great lights, for His mercy endures forever—
the sun to rule by day, for His mercy endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule by night, for His mercy endures forever.
to Him who struck Egypt in their firstborn, for His mercy endures forever;
and brought out Israel from among them, for His mercy endures forever;
with a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, for His mercy endures forever;
to Him who divided the Red Sea in two, for His mercy endures forever;
and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for His mercy endures forever;
but overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, for His mercy endures forever;
to Him who led His people through the wilderness, for His mercy endures forever;
to Him who struck down great kings, for His mercy endures forever;
and slew famous kings, for His mercy endures forever—
Sihon king of the Amorites, for His mercy endures forever;
and Og king of Bashan, for His mercy endures forever—
and gave their land as a heritage, for His mercy endures forever;
a heritage to Israel His servant, for His mercy endures forever.
who remembered us in our lowly state, for His mercy endures forever;
and rescued us from our enemies, for His mercy endures forever;
who gives food to all flesh, for His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.
For His Mercy Endures Forever
The unknown psalmist who scribed the words of Psalm 136 was overwhelmed with the compassion of God upon His people. Repeated twenty-seven times in this short yet powerful prose the psalmist clearly expresses a humbled heart of thanksgiving for the enduring mercy of the Lord. Like the prayer of Jesus when He taught the multitudes to pray, the writer begins with hallowing the name of God. A contrite heart recognizes the goodness of the Lord as the redemptive song of the saved. Mercy is compassion for the miserable or feeling sympathy with the wretched. Man has needed compassion and sympathy because of his miserable state of sin. Only through the mercy of God is hope found. Man is solely dependent upon the Lord God and His mercy.
Looking at the world we can see the mercy of God. The wonder of a planet that supplies all the needs of man was established by the hand of the Creator. Man has been given dominion over the world but he did not create the world nor does he sustain the world. Everything was created by God and it remains in place by the word of God. Creation declares the majesty of the One who fashioned everything. Where does our daily bread come from? We work the ground and harvest the crops but only by the mercy of the Creator are we blessed with the bounty of His hand. The sun rises and sets by the word of God. Tides ebb and flow because the Lord set them in motion. As long as the world will endure there will be the seasons and seedtime, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night. Why? The mercy of the Lord is why.
In all generations God has worked His power among the nations. The psalmist reminds the people of Israel who brought them forth from Egypt. When Israel passed through the Red Sea it was by the power of Jehovah. Pharaoh and his army were defeated by the hand of God. What king stood before the people of God? Were they not all defeated? The mercy of God delivered the people from their enemies. The nations that rule today are held in check by the mercy of God. He will raise up nations and He will bring nations down. Look back in the past three decades and see what nations no longer exist. Thank the Lord for His abundant mercy that gives us hope and peace in the conflicts of the world. He remains in charge.
The final exhortation of the psalmist is how God takes care of His people – yes, His people. He will not forget their needs or abandon them. The same powerful hand that created the worlds, destroyed the humanity of man in the days of Noah and delivered His beloved people from the tyranny of Egypt will take care of my life today. When I rise in the morning giving honor to the Lord for His mercy I invoke the blessing of His hand upon my life today. His name is hallowed; His power is omnipotent and His grace everlasting. What do I have to fear today? Give thanks to the God of heavens because His mercy endures forever.
God made Sun and Moon to distinguish seasons, and day and night, and we cannot have the fruits of the earth but in their seasons: But God hath made no decree to distinguish the seasons of His mercies. In Heaven it is always Autumn, His mercies are ever in their maturity. (John Donne, LXXX Sermons, Sermon II, 1624)