February 5, 2019

List-Starter

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;
who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Ps. 136:23-26 

The circumstances for gratitude toward God whose steadfast love endures forever are summed up in the last four verses of Psalm 136. And those circumstances have a specific range—namely, from the lowest of the low (v. 23) to the highest heaven (v. 26). They also include deliverance (v. 24) and providence (v. 25). In other words, there probably is never a time when I cannot remind myself or my neighbor that God is Love, and that God is good all the time.

Maybe this is easy for me to remember when I'm safe and provided for, but what about when I'm in need or scared? The whole point of this psalm, actually, has not been to gloat about past triumphs, but to remind Israel in times of trouble that God is sufficient, no matter the challenge. Yes, that's how I should read the psalms. But I should also read them—especially this one—as a list-starter. Israel has its list (which I incorporate into mine), and if it doesn't inspire me to create my own, then I'm either reading the psalm wrong, or I lack insight, for God has constantly been at work in my life. And because of that, I know that God's steadfast love endures forever.

Keep me dissatisfied with simply reading the scriptures, Lord. May your word ever give me a desire to complete what I read by applying it to my own life. And may the lists that I read—which might otherwise bore me—inspire in me a need to devise my own lists of what you have done, what you are doing, and what I hope you will accomplish in my life: for I know that your steadfast love endures forever. I pray this in his Name who taught me to pray...

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