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God’s Love–Beyond Valentine’s Day3 min read

With Lent right around the corner, this is a great time to reflect. We just celebrated the love we share with our families, significant others, and friends on Valentine’s Day, and now we focus on the sacrificial love Jesus showed us by dying on the cross. Love is all around us, but where can we turn when we’re not “feeling the love?” Psalm 136 is a great place to start!

Psalm 136 has a liturgical nature—meaning that verses are structured in a call and response format. Each one of its 26 verses repeats the sentence, “His steadfast love endures forever.”  We can imagine the people of Israel saying this in response to the Levite priests during worship. It would be used as a public praise and declaration of who our God is and what He has done. In the Jewish tradition, Psalm 136 has been called the Great Hallel, or Great Psalm of Praise. “It does not use the word hallelujah, but it is called the Great Hallel for the way it rehearses God’s goodness regarding his people and encourages them to praise him for his merciful and steadfast love” (James Montgomery Boice).

When you look closely at this Psalm, you can see how the verses are structured to fall under certain themes. Verses 1-4: The love of God in who He is; 5-9: The love of God as Creator; 10-15: The love of God as Deliverer; 16-22: The love of God as Promise Keeper; 23-25: The love of God as our Helper; and 26: Gratitude to our Loving God (Adapted from the Enduring Word Bible Commentary). These themes lend themselves to a fun and thoughtful devotional practice. Consider writing your own version of Psalm 136, giving thanks to God for the steadfast love He has shown YOU in YOUR life! Read the verses from each category and consider how you can see those attributes of God in your own life context and write a verse of your own. Here’s an example:

Verses 1-4: The love of God in who He is

Praise be to our Emmanuel, our loving Father, the God who sees me,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

5-9: The love of God as Creator

To Him who knit me together, designing who I was to be and what I would do, and who graciously created faith in my heart,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

10-15: The love of God as Deliverer

Who sheltered me from the storms of life, providing me a firm foundation—roots in Christ that I could always rely on and return to as I faltered,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

16-22: The love of God as Promise Keeper

My God, who chose ME to serve His people, giving me eyes to see, ears to hear, and hands to help, sending me out as His worker into the field,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

23-25: The love of God as our Helper

The One who is always close by, even as my heart wanders to earthly things, the One who daily restores me to Himself,

for His steadfast love endures forever.

26: Gratitude to our Loving God.

I trust You with my future, for your steadfast love endures forever.

Allow God to shower you in His steadfast, enduring love as your immerse yourself in meditation on His Word and apply it to your life!

Photo courtesy of Elisa Schulz Photography

 

 


About the Author

Megan Schultz is the Family Life Minister at Large for Acts 2 Enterprise in Detroit. Follow her on Facebook at Detroit Family Life Ministry.

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Martha Smyth - February 23, 2021

Thank you for this joyful & personal way to praise our LORD & remember His love for each one of us. GOD’s timing was perfect for my finding & reading this. After a very heartbreaking day yesterday, this pointed me to a shower of comfort under the LORD’s wings of His love. Many, many thanks!!! 💟

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