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Why the Redeemed Rejoice

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Rejoice in the Lord always becuase His lovingkiness is everlasting.

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Psalm 136:1–26 ESV
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, for his steadfast love endures forever; and brought Israel out from among them, for his steadfast love endures forever; with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who divided the Red Sea in two, for his steadfast love endures forever; and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for his steadfast love endures forever; but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who led his people through the wilderness, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who struck down great kings, for his steadfast love endures forever; and killed mighty kings, for his steadfast love endures forever; Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his steadfast love endures forever; and Og, king of Bashan, for his steadfast love endures forever; and gave their land as a heritage, for his steadfast love endures forever; a heritage to Israel his servant, for his steadfast love endures forever. It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever; and rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures forever; he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
WHY THE SAINTS OUGHT TO SHOUT
Be Exultant Psalm 136

This is an antiphonal psalm, prepared to be used by a worship leader and a choir, or a worship leader and the congregation, or perhaps two choirs. The rabbis called it “The Great Hallel” (praise). The psalm reviews God’s dealings with His people and turns history into theology and theology into worship. If our worship is not based on history—what God had done in this world—then it lacks a theological message and is not true worship at all. The refrain is a familiar one. It was sung at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (2 Chron. 7:3, 6) and also by King Jehoshaphat’s singers when Judah was attacked by Moab and Ammon (2 Chron. 20:21). (See also 106:1; 107:1; and 118:1 and 29.) The divine title “the God of heaven” (v. 26) suggests a post-exilic date, for “God of heaven” was a title used frequently in that period (Ezra 1:2; 5:11–12; 6:9–10; 7:12, 21, 23; Neh. 1:4; 2:4; Dan. 2:18, 19, 44). The focus is on giving thanks to God for who He is and what He has done for His people.

Structurally the psalm is simple. The focus is on the Lord’s continuous involvement in redemptive history, beginning with the Exodus and the Conquest. However, the Lord’s majesty and “love” (ḥeseḏ) are not to be limited to his people, as they extend to all of his creation by virtue of his being the Creator (vv. 4–9, 25).

This is an antiphonal (responsive) psalm, prepared to be used by a worship leader and a choir, or a worship leader and the congregation, or perhaps two choirs. The rabbis called it “The Great Hallel” (praise).
The psalm reviews God’s dealings with His people and turns history into theology and theology into worship. If our worship is not based on history—what God had done in this world—then it lacks a theological message and is not true worship at all.
The psalm is simple. Its focus is on the Lord’s continuous involvement in redemptive history, beginning with the Exodus and the Conquest. However, the Lord’s majesty and “love” (ḥeseḏ) are not to be limited to his people, as they extend to all of his creation by virtue of his being the Creator (vv. 4–9, 25).
Giving thanks and rejoicing to our gracious God should not be seasonal, but ceaseless.
I. V. 1-3 A CALL TO PRAISE
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A. V.1 The Goodness Of God - In all that He does and all that He is! (Ill. His goodness is manifested in His mercy. This is the OT equivalent to grace. It is God’s grace, above all, that touches the heart of man and propels him to praise.
Ephesians 5:20 ESV
giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
B. V. 2-3 The Greatness Of God
1. V.2 His Deity - He alone is God! (Ill. Idols and false gods - )
2. V.3-4 His Dominion - Not only is He God, but He is Lord of all! This world appears to be spiraling out of control, but everything is in the mighty hand of Almighty God. Evil times and evil people stride across the stage of history, but all these pass away. However, when we turn to the last page of the book of prophecy, we see One who still stands! When the dust settles, the Lord Jesus will still be who is has always been - The Lord of Lords - !
II. V.4-25 THE CAUSES OF PRAISE
A. V.4-9 The Lord Created All Things
1. V. 4 God’s Personal Uniqueness - There is only One who does the miraculous as commonly as we humans draw breath. (Ill. The barrel of meal!)
2. V. 5-9 God’s Perfect Universe - Ill. The vastness and glory of the created world. Everything in it operates on split second timing and was simply spoken into being by a big God! (Ill. )
B. V.10-24 The Lord Controls All Things
1. V.10-15 He Delivers His People
a. V. 10 He Struck The Enemy - Ill. Egypt. (Ill. Satan - )
b. V. 11-12 He Saved His People - Ill. Israel. (Ill. )
c. V. 13-14 He Separated his People - Ill. There is a difference between the people of God and the lost of the world. God made this distinction, we are to maintain it!
d. V.15 He Slew The Enemy - Ill. Egypt overthrown! (Ill. There is a great day coming - .)
2. V. 16-22 He Directs His People
a. V. 16 In All Their Ways - (Ill. Israel in the wilderness; the pillar of cloud and fire)
. V. 17-22 In All Their Wars - Ill. The child of God will never go to battle alone - ; . (Ill. )
3. V. 23-25 He Defends His People
a. V. 23 He Remembers Them - When we are fallen, frail and forgetful, He never forgets that we are His children! (Ill. )
). “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (). And so this psalm is appropriate for any and every day of the year. It tells us,
V. 23 He Remembers Them - When we are fallen, frail and forgetful, He never forgets that we are His children! (Ill. )
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
b. V. 24 He Rescues Them - When troubles come and enemies multiply, He does not forsake His own, ; .
He Refreshes Them - He gives them the food they need to make the journey! Ill. God knows when to come and wrap His arms around your life. He knows when to whisper sweet peace to your soul.
). And so this psalm is appropriate for any and every day of the year. It tells us,
. V. 25 He Refreshes Them - He gives them the food they need to make the journey! Ill. God knows when to come and wrap His arms around your life. He knows when to whisper sweet peace to your soul.
And so this psalm is appropriate for any and every day of the year. It tells us to rejoice
Philippians 4:4 ESV
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 ESV
Rejoice always,
But as you know, we’re not supposed to give thanks to the Lord only one day each year, when we stuff ourselves with turkey and all the trimmings. Giving thanks to our gracious God should not be seasonal, but perpetual: “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (). “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (). And so this psalm is appropriate for any and every day of the year. It tells us,
III. V.26 THE CONTINUATION OF PRAISE
“the Lord of lords” (136:2, 3) comes from . The reference to God’s strong hand and outstretched arm (136:12) also comes from Deuteronomy (4:34; 5:15; 7:19; 11:2; 26:8). It refers to God’s display of His strength. In verse 15, it literally says that God shook off Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. The same Hebrew verb is used in , “then God shook off [lit.] the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.” Many other expressions in the psalm come directly from other Old Testament Scriptures. The lesson for us is that it is important for us to know Scripture (including the Old Testament!) so well that we respond to trials and other situations in our lives with biblical language and thought patterns. Spurgeon once said of John Bunyan, “Prick that man anywhere and his blood runs bibline.” He meant that Bunyan was so full of the Bible that it ran in his veins. The stories in the Old Testament that alludes to “were written for our instruction,” so that we would not crave evil things as they did, nor be idolaters, nor try the Lord, nor grumble (). If you are not familiar with these stories, so that they shape your worldview, you will not apply them when you most need to. Rather than thanking the Lord for His everlasting love, you will fall into grumbling with the rest of the world. We can divide the psalm into three sections: The call to give thanks (vv. 1-3); the causes for giving thanks (vv. 4-25), which are God’s power in creation, in salvation, and in provision for His creation; and, a final call to give thanks (v. 26). 1. The call to give thanks: Give thanks to God for His goodness and sovereignty, which display His everlasting love (136:1-3). The opening verse is identical to , , and 118:1, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” The Hebrew word for give thanks means to confess or acknowledge, and thus “calls us to thoughtful, grateful worship, spelling out what we know or have found of God’s glory and His deeds” (Derek Kidner, [IVP], p. 457). The first reason given for us to give thanks to the Lord is that “He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” In his classic
Philippians 3:1 ESV
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
Philippians
2 Corinthians 6
2 Corinthians 6:10 ESV
as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
Habakkuk 3:18 ESV
yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
Haba

This Psalm provides us the necessary language to fulfill these commands. Furthermore, it weaponize us against our remaining sin and Satan who seek to make us doubt this truth.

Rejoice in the Lord always, because His lovingkindness is everlasting.

A. After all this, the Psalmist comes full circle and challenges us to praise the Lord!
It is a unique psalm in that the same refrain is repeated 26 times. was designed for public worship. The Jews called it the Great Hallel (= Praise), and it was especially sung at the Passover. Perhaps the worship leader would recite the first line of each verse, followed by the congregation repeating together the response, “for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” John Calvin says that the repeated refrain teaches us that to praise the Lord properly, we must acknowledge that everything we receive from Him is bestowed by His grace.
B. When everything is said and done, we find that concerning God, it is never all said and done. He is always going somewhere great and doing something big. As long as there is a God, there will be a reason to praise His great Name.
Commentators note how similar this psalm is to , and that both psalms cite frequently from other Scriptures, especially Deuteronomy. For example, the title, “the God of gods” and “the Lord of lords” (136:2, 3) comes from
Deuteronomy 10:17 ESV
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.
. The reference to God’s strong hand and outstretched arm (136:12) also comes from Deuteronomy (4:34; 5:15; 7:19; 11:2; 26:8). It refers to God’s display of His strength. In verse 15, it literally says that God shook off Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. The same Hebrew verb is used in , “then God shook off [lit.] the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.” Many other expressions in the psalm come directly from other Old Testament Scriptures.
The reference to God’s strong hand and outstretched arm (136:12) also comes from Deuteronomy (4:34; 5:15; 7:19; 11:2; 26:8). It refers to God’s display of His strength. In verse 15, it literally says that God shook off Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. The same Hebrew verb is used in
Exodus 14:27 ESV
So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the Lord threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea.
Many other expressions in the psalm come directly from other Old Testament Scriptures.
Many other expressions in the psalm come directly from other Old Testament Scriptures.
The lesson for us is that it is important for us to know Scripture (including the Old Testament!) so well that we respond to trials and other situations in our lives with biblical language and thought patterns.
Spurgeon once said of John Bunyan, “Prick that man anywhere and his blood runs bibline.”
He meant that Bunyan was so full of the Bible that it ran in his veins. The stories in the Old Testament that alludes to
1 Corinthians 10:6–11 ESV
Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
). If you are not familiar with these stories, so that they shape your worldview, you will not apply them when you most need to. Rather than thanking the Lord for His everlasting love, you will fall into grumbling with the rest of the world.
If you are not familiar with these stories, so that they shape your worldview, you will not apply them when you most need to. Rather than thanking the Lord for His everlasting love, you will fall into grumbling with the rest of the world.
We can divide the psalm into three sections: The call to give thanks (vv. 1-3); the causes for giving thanks (vv. 4-25), which are God’s power in creation, in salvation, and in provision for His creation; and, a final call to give thanks (v. 26).
Conc: As we dip our buckets into the ocean of grace tonight, we still find that there is no bottom to it. We serve a great God! A God who demands and deserves our praise. I challenge each of you to learn to take your eyes off the world and it’s evil and place them on God. When you do, He will receive the praise you have stored up in your heart. When we are aware of who He is, all that He has done, is doing and will do, we cannot help but exalt His Name. O give thanks to the God of Heaven.
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The call to give thanks: Give thanks to God for His goodness and sovereignty, which display His everlasting love (136:1-3).

work, The Existence and Attributes of God ([Baker], 2:210, 211, 212), Stephen Charnock points out, God is only originally good, good of himself. All created goodness is a rivulet from this fountain, but Divine goodness has no spring…. God only is infinitely good…. God is only perfectly good, because only infinitely good…. The goodness of God is the measure and rule of goodness in everything else. God only is immutably good…. There is not such a perpetual light in the sun as there is a fulness of goodness in God. We need to be reminded often of God’s goodness because the enemy of our souls repeatedly tries to get us to doubt it, especially in times of trials. That’s why Peter warns us, in the context of suffering, to be on the alert because our adversary, the devil, is seeking to devour us (). It’s during trials that the enemy whispers, “If your God is so good, why is He letting you suffer like this? Why doesn’t He deliver you?” Peter tells us to resist such temptations, firm in our faith, knowing that the God of all grace will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish us (). The psalmist goes on to say that we should give thanks to God for His sovereignty. He is “the God of gods,” and “the Lord of lords.” This is not to imply that there are other gods. There is only one God, creator of heaven and earth, the only sovereign over all angelic and demonic powers, who are created beings. Satan is powerful, but only by the permission of the God of gods and Lord of lords. At God’s ordained time, Satan will be cast forever into the lake of fire (). There are no heavenly or earthly powers that can thwart in the slightest degree the eternal plan of the God of gods and the Lord of lords. By the way, when refers to Jesus as the Lord of lords, it is a clear assertion of His deity. There is only one Lord of all other lords, and He is the eternal triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The sovereignty of God is truly a reason to give thanks to Him, because it means that His predetermined purpose for His people will be carried out without any glitch or delay. It means that His everlasting love, covenanted to His chosen people, will never fail. As Paul so beautifully explains at the end of , God’s goodness, sovereignty, and love mean that all things work together for good for us, because He has chosen us and called us according
The opening verse is identical to , , and 118:1, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

The Hebrew word for give thanks means to confess or acknowledge, and thus “calls us to thoughtful, grateful worship, spelling out what we know or have found of God’s glory and His deeds”

The first reason given for us to give thanks to the Lord is that “He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” In his classic work, The Existence and Attributes of God ([Baker], 2:210, 211, 212), Stephen Charnock points out,
God is only originally good, good of himself. All created goodness is a rivulet from this fountain, but Divine goodness has no spring…. God only is infinitely good…. God is only perfectly good, because only infinitely good…. The goodness of God is the measure and rule of goodness in everything else. God only is immutably good…. There is not such a perpetual light in the sun as there is a fulness of goodness in God.
We need to be reminded often of God’s goodness because the enemy of our souls repeatedly tries to get us to doubt it, especially in times of trials. That’s why Peter warns us, in the context of suffering, to be on the alert because our adversary, the devil, is seeking to devour us
1 Peter 5:8 ESV
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
). It’s during trials that the enemy whispers, “If your God is so good, why is He letting you suffer like this? Why doesn’t He deliver you?” Peter tells us to resist such temptations, firm in our faith, knowing that the God of all grace will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish us ().
It’s during trials that the enemy whispers, “If your God is so good, why is He letting you suffer like this? Why doesn’t He deliver you?” Peter tells us to resist such temptations, firm in our faith, knowing that the God of all grace will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish us
1 Peter 5:9–10 ESV
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
).
The psalmist goes on to say that we should give thanks to God for His sovereignty. He is “the God of gods,” and “the Lord of lords.” This is not to imply that there are other gods. There is only one God, creator of heaven and earth, the only sovereign over all angelic and demonic powers, who are created beings. Satan is powerful, but only by the permission of the God of gods and Lord of lords. At God’s ordained time, Satan will be cast forever into the lake of fire
Revelation 20:10 ESV
and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
There are no heavenly or earthly powers that can thwart in the slightest degree the eternal plan of the God of gods and the Lord of lords.
There are no heavenly or earthly powers that can thwart in the slightest degree the eternal plan of the God of gods and the Lord of lords. By the way, when refers to Jesus as the Lord of lords, it is a clear assertion of His deity. There is only one Lord of all other lords, and He is the eternal triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The sovereignty of God is truly a reason to give thanks to Him, because it means that His predetermined purpose for His people will be carried out without any glitch or delay. It means that His everlasting love, covenanted to His chosen people, will never fail. As Paul so beautifully explains at the end of , God’s goodness, sovereignty, and love mean that all things work together for good for us, because He has chosen us and called us according to His purpose. Therefore, no trial, however severe, can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (). Thus we should give thanks to God for His goodness and sovereignty, which display His everlasting love.
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to His purpose. Therefore, no trial, however severe, can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (). Thus we should give thanks to God for His goodness and sovereignty, which display His everlasting love.

The causes for giving thanks: God’s power in creation, in salvation, and in provision displays His everlasting love (136:4-25).

Give thanks for God’s power in creation, which displays His everlasting love (136:4-9).

The psalmist begins by extolling God’s power in creation
Psalm 136:4 ESV
to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;
Of course, the Bible begins by bringing us face to face with the Almighty Creator, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (). It doesn’t argue the point. It confronts you with it!
Of course, the Bible begins by bringing us face to face with the Almighty Creator, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (). It doesn’t argue the point. It confronts you with it!
affirms repeatedly that God saw all that He made and it was good. He designed the earth for humans to live in and be stewards of as we reflect His image.
Verse 5 says (literally), “To Him who made the heavens with understanding.” The same Hebrew word is used in
Proverbs 3:19 ESV
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens;
, “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, by understanding He established the heavens.” The earth is situated at just the proper distance from the sun to sustain life. Any closer and we would burn up. Any further away and all plant and animal life would freeze. Also, if the earth were a few miles smaller in diameter, the density of our atmosphere would be greatly reduced. The thinner air would not retain enough heat to sustain life. If the earth were a few miles larger in diameter, the thicker atmosphere would result in too much heat being retained, which would also kill all life. We should bow in wonder and thanks before God as the Almighty Creator, who made the heavens by His word (). “For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” ().
The earth is situated at just the proper distance from the sun to sustain life. Any closer and we would burn up. Any further away and all plant and animal life would freeze. Also, if the earth were a few miles smaller in diameter, the density of our atmosphere would be greatly reduced. The thinner air would not retain enough heat to sustain life. If the earth were a few miles larger in diameter, the thicker atmosphere would result in too much heat being retained, which would also kill all life. We should bow in wonder and thanks before God as the Almighty Creator, who made the heavens by His word
Psalm 33:7–9 ESV
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.
When Adam and Eve fell into sin, God subjected the creation to the fall
“For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” ().
Romans 8:20 ESV
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
When Adam and Eve fell into sin, God subjected the creation to the fall (), but even in its fallen condition, it still reflects God’s glory. Paul writes (), “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” You cannot study the intricacy, balance, and design of creation without marveling at the wisdom, understanding, and power of God. Whether you go out to the vastness of the universe or down to the amazing intricacies of the atom or DNA molecules, there is obvious, inescapable evidence of an infinitely brilliant, powerful Creator. Paul explains that the reason people reject God as Creator is that they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (). They love their sin and they do not want to submit to God as Lord of their lives.
but even in its fallen condition, it still reflects God’s glory. Paul writes
Romans 1:20 ESV
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
You cannot study the intricacy, balance, and design of creation without marveling at the wisdom, understanding, and power of God. Whether you go out to the vastness of the universe or down to the amazing intricacies of the atom or DNA molecules, there is obvious, inescapable evidence of an infinitely brilliant, powerful Creator. Paul explains that the reason people reject God as Creator is that they
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” You cannot study the intricacy, balance, and design of creation without marveling at the wisdom, understanding, and power of God. Whether you go out to the vastness of the universe or down to the amazing intricacies of the atom or DNA molecules, there is obvious, inescapable evidence of an infinitely brilliant, powerful Creator. Paul explains that the reason people reject God as Creator is that they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (). They love their sin and they do not want to submit to God as Lord of their lives.
Romans 1:18 ESV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
). They love their sin and they do not want to submit to God as Lord of their lives.
They love their sin and they do not want to submit to God as Lord of their lives.
The wonders of God’s creation should cause us to give thanks to Him and marvel at His everlasting love that made these wonders so that we would worship Him.

Give thanks for God’s power in saving His people, which displays His everlasting love (136:10-24).

The major part of the psalm rehearses God’s love and grace on behalf of His chosen people, Israel. The history of His dealings with them, in spite of their repeated rebellion and idolatry, displays that His lovingkindness is truly everlasting. This history of physical Israel is a picture of our spiritual history, of how God by grace alone, redeemed us from bondage to sin, and saved us to be “
1 Peter 2:9 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
1). There are five aspects of God’s saving power and love as seen in these verses:
There are five aspects of God’s saving power and love as seen in these verses:

God’s saving love is a particular love.

If God loves everyone on earth equally, how do you explain verse 10, “To Him who smote the Egyptians in their firstborn, for His lovingkindness is everlasting”? You could add verses 17-22, which describe God’s slaying Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and giving their land to the Israelites. It was not just the kings who died, but also all of their people (). They experienced God’s judgment, while Israel experienced His everlasting love.
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Many in our day object saying that it denies , which they interpret to mean that God loves everyone on the planet equally. But clearly, God’s love was on Israel in a way that it was not on the Egyptians or the Canaanites or, for that matter, on any other people on the earth.
which describe God’s slaying Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and giving their land to the Israelites. It was not just the kings who died, but also all of their people (). They experienced God’s judgment, while Israel experienced His everlasting love. Many in our day object to the doctrine of election, saying that it denies , which they interpret to mean that God loves everyone on the planet equally (a blasphemous example is Dave Hunt, What Love is This? [Loyal Publishing]). But clearly, God’s love was on Israel in a way that it was not on the Egyptians or the Canaanites or, for that matter, on any other people on the earth. Moses states this quite clearly (), “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.” He goes on to explain that it was because of His covenant with their forefathers that He brought them out of slavery in Egypt (see, also, ). In other words, God saved Israel because of His sovereign, gracious choice of Abraham, who was an idolater living in an idolatrous city, and His covenant promises to him (; ). Paul lays this out very clearly in , where he shows how God loved Jacob and hated Esau (). He anticipates our objection, which is that God is unfair (v. 14). His answer is that God has the sovereign right to show mercy to whom He desires and to harden whom He desires (v. 18). Again, he anticipates our objection, that then God couldn’t hold us accountable. But this time he simply retorts (), “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” As the divine potter, God can show mercy to whom He chooses and leave others to be the objects of His wrath. No one will be treated unjustly, because all deserve His wrath. Those who receive mercy should bow before Him in worship and marvel at His everlasting love. Apart from it, we, too, would perish. You may ask, “But what about ? Doesn’t it teach that God loves everyone equally?” In the context, “world” means both Jews and Gentiles. Nicodemus (with whom Jesus was speaking) would have been astounded. He thought that God only loved the Jews. Jesus was saying that God’s message of salvation through
Moses states this quite clearly
Deuteronomy 7:7 ESV
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,
), “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.” He goes on to explain that it was because of His covenant with their forefathers that He brought them out of slavery in Egypt (see, also, ). In other words, God saved Israel because of His sovereign, gracious choice of Abraham, who was an idolater living in an idolatrous city, and His covenant promises to him (; ).
In other words, God saved Israel because of His sovereign, gracious choice of Abraham, who was an idolater living in an idolatrous city, and His covenant promises to him (; ).
Paul lays this out very clearly in , where he shows how God loved Jacob and hated Esau
Romans 9:13 ESV
As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
He anticipates our objection, which is that God is unfair (v. 14). His answer is that God has the sovereign right to show mercy to whom He desires and to harden whom He desires (v. 18). Again, he anticipates our objection, that then God couldn’t hold us accountable. But this time he simply retorts (), “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” As the divine potter, God can show mercy to whom He chooses and leave others to be the objects of His wrath. No one will be treated unjustly, because all deserve His wrath. Those who receive mercy should bow before Him in worship and marvel at His everlasting love. Apart from it, we, too, would perish.
He anticipates our objection, which is that God is unfair
Romans 9:14 ESV
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!
His answer is that God has the sovereign right to show mercy to whom He desires and to harden whom He desires
Romans 9:18 ESV
So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
Again, he anticipates our objection, that then God couldn’t hold us accountable. But this time he simply retorts
Romans 9:20 ESV
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
), “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” As the divine potter, God can show mercy to whom He chooses and leave others to be the objects of His wrath. No one will be treated unjustly, because all deserve His wrath. Those who receive mercy should bow before Him in worship and marvel at His everlasting love. Apart from it, we, too, would perish.
As the divine potter, God can show mercy to whom He chooses and leave others to be the objects of His wrath. No one will be treated unjustly, because all deserve His wrath. Those who receive mercy should bow before Him in worship and marvel at His everlasting love. Apart from it, we, too, would perish.
You may ask, “But what about ? Doesn’t it teach that God loves everyone equally?” In the context, “world” means both Jews and Gentiles. Nicodemus (with whom Jesus was speaking) would have been astounded. He thought that God only loved the Jews. Jesus was saying that God’s message of salvation through the cross now would extend to the whole world. The offer of the gospel should go out to everyone.
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God’s love does not negate His judgment of the wicked.

the cross now would extend to the whole world. The offer of the gospel should go out to everyone. Those whom God has sovereignly chosen will believe unto eternal life (; ; ). Those who are not chosen will reject His love as shown on the cross. 2) God’s love does not negate His judgment of the wicked. Many argue that God’s love means that everyone will be forgiven and saved. Many deny the doctrine of eternal punishment, because they think it negates God’s love. But the Bible clearly affirms both God’s love and His righteous judgment. In His inscrutable wisdom, God chooses some as vessels of His mercy to make known the riches of His glory. He leaves others in their sin for judgment, to display His perfect justice (). But none can accuse Him of being unfair. The wicked will get what they justly deserve. 3) God’s love for His people is secure against all enemies. Pharaoh, Sihon, and Og were all impressive kings. Pharaoh came after defenseless Israel with his powerful army. Og was a giant (). But none of them could thwart in the slightest God’s covenant promises to His people. No one can stand against His “strong hand and outstretched arm” (), which can divide the Red Sea, sustain several million people in the barren, scorching desert for 40 years, and give them the promised land. This means that if God has given you eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, He will keep you until the day of eternity (). Although foes will assail you and you may lose a few battles, the overall victory is secure. He “is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (). 4) To appreciate God’s everlasting love, you must be brought low. God “remembered us in our low estate” (). This refers to Israel’s condition of bondage in Egypt. As God tells Israel through Ezekiel (16:2-6), He found them as an abandoned baby, with their navel cord uncut, squirming in their blood by the side of
Many argue that God’s love means that everyone will be forgiven and saved. Many deny the doctrine of eternal punishment, because they think it negates God’s love. But the Bible clearly affirms both God’s love and His righteous judgment. In His inscrutable wisdom, God chooses some as vessels of His mercy to make known the riches of His glory. He leaves others in their sin for judgment, to display His perfect justice (). But none can accuse Him of being unfair. The wicked will get what they justly deserve.

God’s love for His people is secure against all enemies.

Pharaoh, Sihon, and Og were all impressive kings. Pharaoh came after defenseless Israel with his powerful army. Og was a giant (). But none of them could thwart in the slightest God’s covenant promises to His people. No one can stand against His “strong hand and outstretched arm” (), which can divide the Red Sea, sustain several million people in the barren, scorching desert for 40 years, and give them the promised land.
This means that if God has given you eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, He will keep you until the day of eternity (). Although foes will assail you and you may lose a few battles, the overall victory is secure. He “is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” ().
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To appreciate God’s everlasting love, you must be brought low.

the road. He took them, cleaned them, and caused them to live. This is a picture of our spiritual condition before He saved us. We were dead in our sins, without hope and without God in this world (, ). We deserved His wrath. But He showed us mercy, “because of His great love with which He loved us” (). The point is, to appreciate God’s everlasting love, you must see the depths of sin from which He rescued you. If you think you’re forgiven little, you’ll love God little. When you know that you’ve been forgiven much, you’ll love God much (). 5) You cannot save yourself or deserve salvation; only God can save you by His grace and power. Israel could never have escaped from Egyptian bondage if God had not exerted His power on their behalf. They would have died in the wilderness if He had not sustained them. They would have been destroyed by their many adversaries, but He rescued them (v. 24). It would have been absurd for any of them to claim that they got to the promised land by their own ingenuity or effort! The biggest hindrance to salvation is the notion that you can do something to save yourself. If you think that you are good enough or that you deserve salvation, you don’t get it. Only God can save you from your sins and He does it apart from anything that you can do. You must simply receive it as His gift by faith. Thus the psalmist has shown two causes for giving thanks to God: His power in creation and in salvation displays His everlasting love. But he touches on a third cause for thanks: C. Give thanks for God’s provision of food for all creatures, which displays His everlasting love (136:25). Verse 25 alludes to God’s promise to Noah after the flood, to sustain “all flesh” (). The idea here is the same as what Jesus said, that if God cares for the sparrow, He will take care of you. It also teaches us that we should give thanks for every bite of food that we eat, which is an evidence of God’s enduring love. So the psalm begins with a call to give thanks to God because of His goodness and His sovereignty, which display His everlasting love. He then gives us the causes for giving thanks: God’s power in
God “remembered us in our low estate” (). This refers to Israel’s condition of bondage in Egypt. As God tells Israel through
Ezekiel 16:2–6 ESV
“Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations, and say, Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. “And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’
He found them as an abandoned baby, with their navel cord uncut, squirming in their blood by the side of the road. He took them, cleaned them, and caused them to live. This is a picture of our spiritual condition before He saved us. We were dead in our sins, without hope and without God in this world
Ephesians 2:1–3 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
He found them as an abandoned baby, with their navel cord uncut, squirming in their blood by the side of the road. He took them, cleaned them, and caused them to live. This is a picture of our spiritual condition before He saved us. We were dead in our sins, without hope and without God in this world (, ). We deserved His wrath. But He showed us mercy, “because of His great love with which He loved us” ().
We deserved His wrath. But He showed us mercy, “because of His great love with which He loved us”
Ephesians 2:1–4 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
We deserved His wrath. But He showed us mercy, “because of His great love with which He loved us” ().
The point is, to appreciate God’s everlasting love, you must see the depths of sin from which He rescued you. If you think you’re forgiven little, you’ll love God little. When you know that you’ve been forgiven much, you’ll love God much
The point is, to appreciate God’s everlasting love, you must see the depths of sin from which He rescued you. If you think you’re forgiven little, you’ll love God little. When you know that you’ve been forgiven much, you’ll love God much ().
Luke 7:47 ESV
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

You cannot save yourself or deserve salvation; only God can save you by His grace and power.

Israel could never have escaped from Egyptian bondage if God had not exerted His power on their behalf. They would have died in the wilderness if He had not sustained them. They would have been destroyed by their many adversaries, but He rescued them (v. 24). It would have been absurd for any of them to claim that they got to the promised land by their own ingenuity or effort!
The biggest hindrance to salvation is the notion that you can do something to save yourself. If you think that you are good enough or that you deserve salvation, you don’t get it. Only God can save you from your sins and He does it apart from anything that you can do. You must simply receive it as His gift by faith.
Thus the psalmist has shown two causes for giving thanks to God: His power in creation and in salvation displays His everlasting love. But he touches on a third cause for thanks:

Give thanks for God’s provision of food for all creatures, which displays His everlasting love (136:25).

Verse 25 alludes to God’s promise to Noah after the flood, to sustain “all flesh” (). The idea here is the same as what Jesus said, that if God cares for the sparrow, He will take care of you. It also teaches us that we should give thanks for every bite of food that we eat, which is an evidence of God’s enduring love.
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So the psalm begins with a call to give thanks to God because of His goodness and His sovereignty, which display His everlasting love. He then gives us the causes for giving thanks: God’s power in creation, salvation, and provision, which displays His everlasting love. He concludes with…
creation, salvation, and provision, which displays His everlasting love. He concludes with… 3. A final call to give thanks: Give thanks to the God of heaven for His everlasting love (136:26). The title, “God of heaven,” occurs only here in the Psalms. It is used nine times in Ezra, ten times in other exilic and post-exilic books, and only four other times in the Old Testament. It is used twice in the Book of Revelation (11:13; 16:11). It points to God’s sovereignty (John Martin, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament [Victor Books], ed. by John Walvoord & Roy Zuck, 1:655). He rules from heaven, which He made, and thus rules over all. To give thanks to God in the midst of difficult trials, you must submit to His sovereignty. You must acknowledge that He has orchestrated your circumstances for your ultimate good, and submit to Him as good and loving in His dealings with you (; ). If you find yourself grumbling about your trials, it is an indication that you have not submitted fully to the God of heaven. Conclusion Why does the psalmist hammer home 26 times the theme that God’s lovingkindness is everlasting? It’s because the enemy wants us to doubt it, especially when trials hit. This truth was so important that David appointed singers whose job was to repeat at the tabernacle, “give thanks to the Lord, because His lovingkindness is everlasting” (). Later, when the ark was brought into the newly completed temple, Solomon appointed singers to sing, “He indeed is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (). God’s response was to fill the temple with the cloud of His glory. Still later, Jehoshaphat appointed singers to lead the army into battle singing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (). Then the Lord routed the enemy. These things are for our instruction. In every situation, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting” ().

A final call to give thanks: Give thanks to the God of heaven for His everlasting love (136:26).

The title, “God of heaven,” points to God’s sovereignty He rules from heaven, which He made, and thus rules over all.
To give thanks to God in the midst of difficult trials, you must submit to His sovereignty. You must acknowledge that He has orchestrated your circumstances for your ultimate good, and submit to Him as good and loving in His dealings with you (; ). If you find yourself grumbling about your trials, it is an indication that you have not submitted fully to the God of heaven.
Conclusion
Why does the psalmist hammer home 26 times the theme that God’s lovingkindness is everlasting? It’s because the enemy wants us to doubt it, especially when trials hit.
This truth was so important that David appointed singers whose job was to repeat at the tabernacle, “give thanks to the Lord, because His lovingkindness is everlasting”
1 Chronicles 16:41 ESV
With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those chosen and expressly named to give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Later, when the ark was brought into the newly completed temple, Solomon appointed singers to sing,
. Later, when the ark was brought into the newly completed temple, Solomon appointed singers to sing, “He indeed is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (). God’s response was to fill the temple with the cloud of His glory. Still later, Jehoshaphat appointed singers to lead the army into battle singing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (). Then the Lord routed the enemy.
2 Chronicles 5:13 ESV
and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud,
God’s response was to fill the temple with the cloud of His glory. Still later, Jehoshaphat appointed singers to lead the army into battle singing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (). Then the Lord routed the enemy.
God’s response was to fill the temple with the cloud of His glory. Still later, Jehoshaphat appointed singers to lead the army into battle singing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting”
2 Chronicles 20:21 ESV
And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
Then the Lord routed the enemy.
Then the Lord routed the enemy.
These things are for our instruction. In every situation, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting” ().
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