In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.

Today's lesson from the Psalms is taken from Ps. 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."
(Ps. 136:1-3 NLT)

It is often said that when God is trying to get our attention, He repeats Himself. He must really be trying to get our attention in Ps. 136, for the phrase, "His faithful love endures forever" appears 26 times in as many verses. In fact, this Truth makes up the second part of every verse! If that doesn't catch our attention, what does?

Just what does it mean when something endures forever?

Here are a few synonyms to help us understand that when God says His love endures forever, He means it is: abiding, ageless, continuing, dateless, eternal, everlasting, immortal, imperishable, lasting, ongoing, perpetual, timeless, undying (Taken from Merriam-Webster Thesaurus).

Let's also remember that besides being continuous, everlasting, imperishable and ongoing, God's love is also a PERSONAL love. God loves YOU, PERSONALLY with that every enduring love: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved." (Eph. 2:4-5 ESV; See also Rom. 8:37-39, Gal. 2:20, 1 John 3:1, 1 John 4:7-11, Deut. 7:9, Ps. 86:15, Zeph. 3:17, John 15:9-17, John 3:16, etc.).

What this means is that no matter where you are, no matter what you are going through, no matter how distant God may seem in your circumstances, God loves you personally with a love that will never ever fail!

Wow!

As you continue to read through this Psalm, you also see another pattern emerging:

"Give thanks to Him who alone does mighty miracles.
   His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him who made the heavens so skillfully.
   His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him who placed the earth among the waters.
   His faithful love endures forever."
(Ps. 136:4-6 NLT)

While the second line of each verse reminds us of God's timeless love, the first line is, "Give thanks to Him..."! And this line is repeated 12 times in 26 verses!

The problem is that because God's love abounds, it can becomes somewhat commonplace to us. We become used to it and we are inclined to take it for granted. Then, when troubles come, we are likely to forget about God's undying love altogether. God knew this would be our tendency, and He worked in a safeguard: "Give thanks to Him...". When we give thanks to God, especially in the midst of our troubles, our vision begins to clear and we begin to remember that His love is, indeed, perpetual.

Psalms 136 has one more powerful lesson to be learned. Take a look at the following samples of verses:

"Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights --
   His faithful love endures forever."
(vs. 7)

"Give thanks to him who parted the Red Sea.
   His faithful love endures forever."
(vs 13)

"Give thanks to him who stuck down mighty kings.
   His faithful love endures forever.
He killed powerful kings --
   His faithful love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites,
   His faithful love endures forever.
and
Og king of Bashan.
   His faithful love endures forever."
(vs. 17-20)

And finally,

"He remembered us in our weakness.
   His faithful love endures forever.
He saved us from our enemies.
   His faithful love endures forever.
He gives food to every living thing.
   His faithful love endures forever."
(Vs 23-25)

The examples in these verses remind us of God's goodness through the ages, and they give us powerful guidelines for becoming aware of that abiding love of God. When trouble arises and we begin to feel that God doesn't care, we need to take the time to not only remember to give thanks to God for general things, but especially to recall the specific times when His love has been manifested in and around us. When we do this simple exercise, our minds stop focussing on our problems and begin to focus on the Solution-Giver. When we specifically recall how God has been our "Solution-Giver" in the past, our faith in His unfailing love for the things that presently face us will become rock-solid.

True enough, none of us crossed the Red Sea on dry land, and none of us were even born when the kings, Og and Sihon walked the earth. These are great examples from history, but we can make this an even more powerful exercise by substituting personal examples of God's never-ending love and making this our prayer:

"Give thanks to Him who________________(fill in the blank with a personal example)
   His faithful love endures forever.
He ______________________
(fill in the blank)
   His faithful love endures forever."

Try this little exercise. Don't save it for moments when circumstances are pressing in around you, but make a habit of doing it every day. When you do, you'll be able to go into the hard times fully prepared!

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

(To access the entire "Lessons From the Psalms" mini-series, please click here.)