February 4, 2019

The Constant Refrain

O give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;
who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;
who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;
who spread out the earth on the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever;
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;

who struck Egypt through their firstborn, 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;
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 army in the Red Sea, for his steadfast love endures forever;
who led his people through the wilderness, for his steadfast love endures forever;
who struck down great kings, for his steadfast love endures forever;
and killed famous 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 his servant Israel, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Ps. 136:2-22 

Yesterday I meditated on the supposed "vain repetitions" found in the 136th Psalm. Today those repetitions continue, but I'm struck by all the different circumstances under which the psalmist was moved to proclaim God's steadfast love—stories of creation, redemption, victory and promise. And each time some wonderful thing is remembered, the same response is brought forth: God's steadfast love endures forever.

Do I meditate on God's wonderful acts, and the promises God has made? When I do, is my response an affirmation of God's love? I have to admit that, all too often, it's not. But it should be, otherwise it's not the repetition found in the psalm that's vain, but my cold-hearted reading of it. So today I must pray that my reading of this psalm not reflect my indifference to God, but that its repetition be an echo of the constant refrain that my own heart sings: God's steadfast love endures forever.

Thank you for all your mighty deeds and your wonderful promises, Lord. May my heart thrill each time I hear them, and may I never tire of giving thanks for your constant love; in Jesus' Name, who taught me to pray...

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