Lord, you are good

psalm136-1

Five days after Thanksgiving Day, we continue to encounter reminders to be thankful, as the Verse of the Day for November 29, 2016 encourages us:

Psalm 136:1, 26 (NKJV):

[Thanksgiving to God for His Enduring Mercy] Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.

In the opening verse of Psalm 136 we note the refrain: “For His mercy endures forever.” The same refrain is repeated to conclude verse 26, the last verse. In fact, the expression punctuates every verse of the Psalm in the same way.

In reflecting on this passage, a previous entry that discussed the expression “Call and response” comes to mind. In music, particularly in jazz which incorporates improvisation, we find a technique labeled “call and response,” whereby a musician issues a phrase or line, and another player answers with a phrase or comment in response. The same technique is also seen in other areas of African American culture involving speakers, such as preachers or ministers of the gospel or worship leaders who issue a series of calls, and the audience, the congregation, or group being addressed answers with responses. In the case of the Verse of the Day, there is an opening exhortation or call to give thanks to the Lord, followed by the response: “For His mercy endures forever.”

One of the awesome attributes of God is that He is a God of mercy, and His mercy never fails. In Psalm 126 the term mercy is also translated “lovingkindness or grace.” Although our Father is a God of justice, he tempers justice with grace and mercy. Justice has been defined as “getting exactly what one deserves.” Whereas grace is said to be unmerited favor or getting something that one does not deserve, while mercy is defined as “withholding merited judgment” or “not getting what one deserves. God ever displays His mercy toward

His children, as Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us:

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Throughout the Psalms, we see God abounds in mercy:

Psalm 119: 64:

The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy: teach me Your statutes.

Psalm 57:10

For Your mercy is great unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds.

Psalm 69:13

But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of Your mercy hear me, in the truth of Your salvation.

Psalm 103:17

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

Israel Houghton and New Breed conclude this entry with this reminder: “Lord, You are Good and Your Mercy Endureth Forever.”

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