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July 13, 2013

Text: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalms 136:1

The phrase for his steadfast love endures forever appears in each of Psalm 136’s  26 verses. It is also found in the first verse of Psalms 106 and 107.  Read the entire Psalm in your Bible and you will see many of God’s blessings endowed upon all mankind. You will likewise find many of God’s powerful signs and miracles mentioned.  In fact, the writer covers most of Israel’s history, praising God for the acts of deliverance he had performed for the Israelites. Coming to the end of the psalm he displays his humility and thanksgiving to the gracious God of Israel. “It is he who remembered us in our low estate….and rescued us from our foes.”

The phrase “steadfast love” is from a Hebrew word meaning “mercy”.   There is not one of God’s human creatures who does not need mercy. Mercy is given to us from birth to death, yes, and beyond. Not one day can you live without God’s mercy. Each day he stays his hand of retribution and furnishes us more time to repent of our offenses. Each day he provides food, clothing and shelter.  Each day he protects us from harm. And on and on. What is that but his care and mercy (steadfast love)? Each day he pleads for us to obey the gospel. That is the steadfast love of the Lord.

God is constant in the distribution of his mercy. That is not to say that God treats every person alike. If you have reared children, then you realize that you can not give one the exact treatment you give his siblings. They are different, have different goals, likes, dislikes, and ways of doing things. Is it fair that one child gets more gentleness and another gets more discipline? As the oldest of three brothers it was obvious that I got more responsibility and my brothers more leniency and privileges.   What this means is that God is regular in apportioning his benevolence to us. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

God is foresighted in the distribution of his mercy.  “…for your father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8  Our loving Father knows each of us so well that he scrutinizes us in the present and determines how to bless us in our future.  God knew what the family of Jacob (Israel) needed so he caused Joseph  to be sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt.  Joseph comforted his brothers by saying, “As for you, you meant evil against me,  but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”  Genesis 50:20  We must accept what God gives us and utilize it for his ends as Joseph did.

God wants for his mercy to abound in this world.  Not only is God our benefactor in sharing his plenteous bounty, but he wants us to demonstrate mercy and loving kindness to others by sharing our blessings with the needs. There is suffering on every corner in this world, enough so that we can not eradicate it. We can not show mercy to every one who is needy, but we must be merciful to many. Jesus gave good advice when said, “You go, and do likewise.”  Luke 10:37

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