Day 199: July 18, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Psalm 136
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love is eternal.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love is eternal.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His love is eternal.
4 He alone does great wonders. His love is eternal.
5 He made the heavens skillfully. His love is eternal.
6 He spread the land on the waters. His love is eternal.
7 He made the great lights: His love is eternal.
8 the sun to rule by day, His love is eternal.
9 the moon and stars to rule by night. His love is eternal.
10 He struck the firstborn of the Egyptians His love is eternal.
11 and brought Israel out from among them His love is eternal.
12 with a strong hand and outstretched arm. His love is eternal.
13 He divided the Red Sea His love is eternal.
14 and led Israel through, His love is eternal.
15 but hurled Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea. His love is eternal.
16 He led His people in the wilderness. His love is eternal.
17 He struck down great kings His love is eternal.
18 and slaughtered famous kings—His love is eternal.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites His love is eternal.
20 and Og king of Bashan—His love is eternal.
21 and gave their land as an inheritance, His love is eternal.
22 an inheritance to Israel His servant. His love is eternal.
23 He remembered us in our humiliation His love is eternal.
24 and rescued us from our foes. His love is eternal.
25 He gives food to every creature. His love is eternal.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven! His love is eternal.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Everlasting Love
by Melissa Hayes, Adult Discipleship Administrative Assistant, Brentwood Campus

The year is 950 BC, the Golden Age of Israel. Vegetation drinks in the early morning dew just as the sun peeks over the eastern horizon. The high priests are gathered reverently in the Temple. The people stand quietly outside, anticipating the voice of the Priest to loudly proclaim, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.” Then the people’s thunderous reply “His loving-kindness is everlasting” gives rapture to the birds nestled on the outer temple walls.

A reverent picture for the psalmist to quickly set the tone for this interactive antiphonal song—this is going to be a song of thanksgiving, bookending God’s everlasting love. And why shouldn’t Israel be thankful? Their God created the universe. Everything they laid eyes on belonged to God, was created by God, and was protected by God, including Israel.

In spite of their yo-yo-like obedience, God rescued them out of captivity, vanquished their enemies and raised them up into Solomon’s Golden Age. Early in the morning, as they directed their prayer to their Salvation, it must have been second nature for Israel to recall God’s faithful provision and maintain an attitude of thanksgiving. Right?

So by verse 4 were you tempted to skip over the redundant words “His love is eternal”? Sometimes in our haste to get to the bottom line, we skip over the familiar because we trust it will remain the same, taking for granted the sure faithfulness. And what about thankfulness? Forgetting our history and God’s faithfulness can breed ingratitude.

In the same manner, Israel was reminded to acknowledge their deliverance and to be thankful for God’s unchanging love. God’s faithfulness to Israel is our inheritance for present and future trials. If we sandwich our growth opportunities with thankful hearts for God’s everlasting love, the meat of growth will be more palatable.

Reflecting on Israel’s history in verses 10-24, what or to whom are you in bondage? Are you running from something or someone? Do your enemies seem larger than life, destined to overcome you? If He can part a sea for His children and use the same sea to swallow their enemy—and create numerous galaxies with a spoken word—how simple would it be for Him to express eternal love?

Demonstrated through Psalm 136, no matter what precedes or follows the text, one thing remains sure and steadfast—God’s love is enduring, everlasting, faithful and sure. And that is a lot to be thankful for, isn’t it?

Praxis

  1. Reread Psalm 136, but in verses 10-22, replace Israel’s history with equivalent experiences of your own. For example, in verses 10-12, “He discredited that person who was speaking against my integrity, His love is eternal. And saved my good name and ultimately God’s name from ruin. His love is eternal. He was always there, upholding me, when it seemed hopeless. His love is eternal.”
  2. Meditate again through the scripture. As God brings thoughts to your mind, add to the three historical accounts you’ve already listed.
  3. Close today’s devotional with a prayer of thanksgiving for His eternal love.

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.