Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for [He is] good! For His mercy [endures] forever. 2 Let Israel now say, “His mercy [endures] forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron now say, “His mercy [endures] forever.” 4 Let those who fear the LORD now say, “His mercy [endures] forever.” 5 I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me [and set me] in a broad place. 6 The LORD [is] on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see [my desire] on those who hate me. 8 [It is] better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. 9 [It is] better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes. 10 All nations surrounded me, But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 11 They surrounded me, Yes, they surrounded me; But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 12 They surrounded me like bees; They were quenched like a fire of thorns; For in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. 13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall, But the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD [is] my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.PSALM 118:1-14
GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD
When I was growing up my parents believed in torture. Before we had prayer and ate a family meal together, we would sit down and each one of us would go around the table and share about something we were thankful for. There were six of us in the family. As a hungry youngster with all those delicious smells coming to my nostrils about the only thing I could find to be thankful for sometimes was that we were just a family of six and not seven or eight. I always felt the food got colder than it should… at least that’s the way I felt back then. Now I cherish those memories of a loving family sharing the blessings in our lives and we seek to do something similar at our table for family meals.
But as a youngster I was covered up in blessing and didn’t know it. There were moments were we struggled to come up with something we truly felt grateful for. Perhaps it was because, other than this moment, gratitude hadn’t become a real part of our lives yet. We took a lot of things for granted because all we knew of the world was the blessings of our home life.
Since then I’ve sought to create habits and patterns of gratitude in my own life. I seek to write thankyou notes whenever I can. I have a Sunday practice of sharing my gratitude for the day’s services on facebook and other various ways that seek to cultivate a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving in my life.
This Psalm begins and ends with giving thanks to the LORD, reminding us that no matter what else this Psalm is, it is a prayer and a song of thanksgiving. The Psalmist has no problem sharing what we should be thankful for? The answer is simply that we are thankful for the unique relationship that the nation of Israel, her people, and all people who come to the LORD have with the one true God.
We gather in praise first because the LORD is good. He is not mean. He is patient. He is not unloving, but indeed loves well beyond the limits that we expect love to go. He is full of grace and mercy. He makes Himself easy to find. He doesn’t hide. He isn’t far off. He offers forgiveness and hope to all who come to him. He is a God who saves and delivers! He is trustworthy and reliable. His grace has been taken advantage of, but he isn’t damaged by it. He gives us better than we deserve. HE IS GOOD!
His love/ mercy endures forever. The translators had to add that word, “endure,” to help us grasp the full meaning of this. His love is never exhausted! It never reaches the point where it can’t go on! You are worn out and tired before the love of God has even gotten winded. It runs deeper than you can imagine. It is wider than you can fathom. It is higher than anything your mind can comprehend.
It never runs out on you. It never gives up. It never quits. You have quit on God’s love before he has ever quit on you.
Father, Thank you for your unending love and mercy poured out in my life. I don’t deserve it. I cannot earn it. Yet you choose to show your grace to me. Time and time again I think that perhaps this time I have exhausted your patience or that I have gone to far, but your love never fails. It never cedes. It never loses it’s traction and faulters. You’re mercy lasts and lasts far longer than I am able to fathom. For that I am grateful. For how many times have I imagined to pull myself up from my own bootstraps only to fall on my face or note as I look back that it was really your kind hand of providence at work in my life. So today and everyday I give thanks to you O LORD! For you are worthy of all gratitude, honor, and praise! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
SPECIAL NOTE: Psalm 119 is a very long Psalm. I will post a reflection on the second part of Psalm 118 tomorrow and then jump right into Psalm 120. Once we have completed the Psalms I hope to come back and take a little more time going through Psalm 119, maybe section by section.
I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.