Our Response to God’s Perennial Grace

Psalm 136 has the refrain of “your steadfast love endures forever” 26 times in 26 verses. Each of these phrases is tied to who God is and what he has done in history. What is this eternal steadfast love of God that the Psalmist is so fixed upon praising?

Gratefulness in my heart is few-and-far between, but grace in God’s heart is consistent.

It is God’s hesed. This word is difficult to capture. Old Testament scholar Samuel Terrien writes, “No single word will render the diversity of the Hebrew meanings: Mercy? Fidelity? Faithfulness? Compassionate love?” (The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary, 863). Another scholar, Bruce Waltke, calls it “help to the helpless” (An Old Testament Theology, 850). In short, the steadfast love of God (hesed), is grace.

The Psalmist is overwhelmed with, as Terrien puts it, the “perenniality of divine grace” (Ibid.) Why say this 26 times? A bit overkill, right? After all, lets look at this in real time:

for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever for his steadfast love endures forever

Get the picture? God’s grace is a central attribute that reflects all that he is and all that he does. This is why the apostle Paul wrote many years later the following phrase when recapping all that God has done to save a people for himself–“to the praise of the glory of his grace” (Eph. 1:6). Psalm 126 is the song of Ephesians 1:6. The response to God’s nature and his saving actions in eternal and human history is to praise him for his grace.

What kind of praise is to fill this response? Thankfulness. Three times at the beginning (136:1-3) and one at the end (136:26), the response to God’s steadfast love is to “give thanks.” The human response to the gracious character of God should always be thanks. His grace is exponentially abundant, and our response should be a multiplicity of “Thank You’s.” You can’t respond to a gift in any other way. The response to eternal grace is an eternity of thankful-hearted praise.

Gratefulness in my heart is few-and-far between, but grace in God’s heart is consistent.

How you doing today?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s