Creation – Verses 4-9
There’s a recurring theme throughout Psalm 136. Perhaps you noticed it. “For his love endures forever.” For whatever reason the NIV chose not to translate the “for” or “because” but it’s in every phrase, “for or because his love endures forever.” And the Hebrew word translated “love” is actually a special word for love. In the KJV this word was typically translated with “lovingkindness.” It has the idea of a heart that is so filled with compassion that it has to reach out in love to some object. It has the idea of loyalty, of unearned love and grace.
And, in God’s loving kindness He created the world. Now, think about that for a moment. Here is God. He has existed from all eternity and will exist to all eternity. He has absolutely no need, He has everything, He lacks nothing. He is just fine all on his own. He has no one rebelling against him, no one fighting Him, no one complaining to Him, no one profaning His name, no one angry or upset with Him. It was just God, no one else.
But God wasn’t content to just leave it that way. Rather, He wanted others to share in His joy, share in His love, share in His goodness. So what did God do? He created all things! He made the heavens, he spread out the earth, he made the sun, the moon, the stars. How incredible His power! But he didn’t just stop at creating a beautiful, incredible world, he made humans, he made you, he created you. Why? Because he wants YOU to be able to spend eternity with Him!
And so, today, we say, “Thank you God! Thank you for making all things; thank you for making me!” And why did He do it? Because his love endures forever!
Redemption – vv 10-15
The Israelites faced two things out of which the Lord delivered them. First of all they were slaves. What does it mean to be a slave? To be a slave means you are actual property of someone else. You can’t do whatever you want, you have to do what someone else tells you, you have to do the jobs no one else will, you work and work and work and do it all again the next day without any hope for a future or for release. Second, the Israelites faced death. When God delivered them from Egypt Pharaoh’s army came to attack them from behind and in front of them was a massive sea- they could either be slaughtered by Pharaoh’s army or drown in the water. They faced death. But what did the Lord do? He miraculously rescued them from both. He delivered them from their slavery in Egypt by the final plague, the Passover, where every firstborn in every home would die unless they painted the blood of a lamb over the door posts on their home, then the Lord would pass over them. After that plague the Israelites escaped slavery in Egypt. Then, when they were standing before the Red Sea with water in front and Pharaoh’s army behind them and it seemed like they faced certain death and destruction, God did the unthinkable, He opened up the sea so the entire nation could cross it on dry land and be rescued. God redeemed Israel from slavery and from death.
But he hasn’t just done that for Israel. You and I were once slaves. We were once slaves to sin. We were in bondage, we couldn’t please God. All we could do is follow the sinful desires of our hearts. And not only that but we also faced death, not just physical death, but spiritual death. We were hopelessly lost slaves to sin and facing eternal death. But just like God delivered the Israelites, so he has delivered you. Not by the blood of a lamb, but by the blood of the lamb of God, Jesus, God has set you free from sin forever. He has rescued you from death not by the waters of the Red Sea, but the waters of your baptism where he worked faith in your heart and washed you with the blood of Jesus. That is something to continually give thanks for. Give thanks to the Lord, His love endures forever! Amen.
Faithfulness – v. 16-22
Ok, so we have a bunch of slaves who are going to leave their land of enslavement, travel several hundred miles through a desert wilderness without any food or water or extra clothes, have to defeat several powerful kings so they can take over a land that is already inhabited and strongly fortified. Right, sure, that’s going to work.
But it did. That’s exactly what happened. How so? Not because the Israelites were such great people but because God was such a great God. How did it happen? It happened because God had promised it would happen and when God makes a promise, you can be absolutely certain of it, you can count on it that it WILL take place.
And so, you can count on the Lord completely, 100%, absolutely. He promises that he will never leave you, nor forsake you. You can count on it. He promises that he will guide and direct you. He will. He promises that His angels are constantly guarding and protecting you. They are. He promises that you will have an inheritance – an Eternal inheritance in heaven. You have it. He will make good on all his promises. Why so? Because your God is faithful. You can see it in the “big things’ – that He sent His Son to live, to die, to rise for you. But you can also see it in the “little things” – the sun rose today, and will tomorrow, you have air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat. It all happens because your God is faithful. Thank the Lord for His faithfulness. O Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever! Amen.
He Remember us in our Low Estate – V. 23-26
Yes, our God’s love endures forever. He made us, He created us, He redeemed us, He’s faithful to all His promises to us. But one last thought which leads us to say, “Thank you Lord.” And that’s the truth that He even works through us.
Think about it, in comparison to God, what are you and I? Why, we’re nothing! I’ve often thought about little ants that busily build their little home, little morsels of dirt all piled up, they go about their lives completely oblivious to the fact that my foot towers above them is about to squash them and their little home. And how much infinitely greater God is to us than I am to that ant! Is that the way that God relates to us? Far removed, far away, distant?
Not at all. What are we told here? God remembers us. He remembers us in our low estate. He thinks of us. He even loves us!
And not only is that true, but He also works through us. Verse 23, “To the one who remembered us in our low estate” is quoted by Mary, the mother of Jesus, when she goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth. God had “remembered” her. And God had done what? Worked through her to bring about the most important event of all time – the birth of Jesus. Can you imagine? God worked through one of us humans to accomplish that!
And God continues to remember us and work through us. He brings people to know Jesus – through you and me. He brings His comfort and peace to other people as we share with them the words and thoughts of Scripture. He spreads the message of salvation through you and me! Really, the most important work of all, the sharing of the message of eternal life, God entrusts to you and me!
And so, we can say, not just today, not just on Thanksgiving, but on every day of life, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.” Amen