URC Daily Devotion  16th February 2020

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Sunday 16th February 

Psalm 136

1 O thank the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures for ever.
2 O thank the God of gods always;
his love will fail us never.

3 Give glory to the Lord of lords;
his love endures for ever.
4 Great wonders he alone performs;
his love will fail us never.

5 In wisdom he has made the heavens;
his love endures for ever.
6 He set the earth above the seas;
his love will fail us never.

7-8 He made the sun to rule the day—
his love endures for ever—
9 The moon and stars to rule the night;
his love will fail us never.

10 He struck down Egypt’s firstborn sons;
his love endures for ever.
11-12 By might he brought out Israel;
his love will fail us never.

13 He made a pathway through the Sea;
his love endures for ever.
14 And through it he brought Israel;
his love will fail us never.

15 King Pharaoh and his mighty host—
God’s love endures for ever—
He swept into the raging sea;
his love will fail us never.

16 He led his people on their way;
his love endures for ever.
He brought them through the wilderness;
his love will fail us never.

17 Thank him who struck down mighty kings—
his love endures for ever—
18 And slaughtered kings of great renown—
his love will fail us never—

19 King Sihon of the Amorites—
God’s love endures for ever—
20 And Og, the king of Bashan, too;
God’s love will fail us never.

21 He made their lands a heritage—
his love endures for ever—
22 For his own servant Israel;
his love will fail us never.

23 He thought upon us in our need;
his love endures for ever.
24 And freed us from our enemies;
his love will fail us never.

25 To every creature he gives food;
his love endures for ever.
26 Give thanks to God, the God of heaven;
his love will fail us never.

You can hear a Free Church of Scotland sing this to the lovely tune Dominus Regit Me here.

Reflection

Repeats are often a subject of discussion in our household.  That annoying person who walks into the room and says: ‘I know who did it’.  You sit watching thinking, ‘I haven’t seen this one,’ and an hour in, you have seen it and remember the ending.
 
My son occasionally prepares the church audio visual for a Sunday morning.  There is an assumption that he knows where the repeats are or even worse – somebody spontaneously repeats the last chorus: ‘How dare they!’  I’m not sure the congregation I serve think too much of responses in worship. They certainly would not say ‘Please sir, can we have more!’ 
 
It may seem a bit much to repeat ‘His love endures forever’ twenty six times, but the truth enshrined in these words is the explanation for everything else that can be said about the work of God: ‘For his steadfast love endures forever’ [RSV], ‘For his faithful love endures forever’[NJB].  Robert Alter in his ‘The Hebrew Bible Translation with Commentary’ changes the refrain to ‘For his kindness is forever’. He goes on to comment on verse 6 – Stamps firm on the earth. ‘There is then, a solid slab or firmament that is the sky, and another one below that is the earth. Beneath the earth is the deep- hence the earth is ‘On the Waters’.  As is evident in the flood story, there are waters above the heavens and waters below the earth.’
 
To quote Alter again: verse 25 Who gives bread to all flesh. ‘Bread indicates all kinds of food. In an apt gesture of closure, the celebration of God’s enduring kindness, having begun with his acts as creator, concludes by moving beyond the national perspective to God’s providence to all living creatures.’
 
As we repeat the Psalmist’s words over and over again, may they stick in our thoughts as we share God’s love with all we encounter today.
 
I’m all for repeats if they become for us part of the story in telling of God’s love.
 
Prayer
 
Gracious God
Your steadfast love endures forever.
Your faithful love endures forever.
Your kindness is forever.
 
As we repeat those ancient words from the Psalmist,
may we hold them and share them,
as we bring others into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
 
You remind us in amazing ways that we, too, are
‘Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love’.
 
Amen

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Andrew Royal Minister Maidstone & Staplehurst URCs 

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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