Thursday, June 17, 2010

Give Thanks to the God of the Nations - Psalm 136 (part 4)

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
for His lovingkindness is everlasting....

To Him who smote the Egyptians in their firstborn,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting,
and brought Israel out from their midst,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting,
with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting;
To Him who divided the Red Sea asunder,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting,
and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting;
but He overthrew Pharoah and his army in the Red Sea,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
To Him who led His people through the wilderness,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting;
To Him who smote great kings,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting,
and slew mighty kings,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting:
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And Og, king of Bashan,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting,
and gave their land as a heritage,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting,
even a heritage to Israel His servant,
for His lovingkindness is everlasting."
(Psalm 136:1, 10-22)

This next section of Psalm 136 contains much - MUCH that should encourage the heart of a believer and press him to praise!! Here we see the greatness of our God as the King of kings. Here we see His power in preserving His people and in pummeling their persecutors.

Are you living in fear of the "Pharaohs" this day?
Are you doubting your ability to conquer Canaan?
Well then, don't just glance but gaze deeply at this section of Psalm 136.
Jehovah - the good God of gods and Lord of lords - is the sovereign Ruler of all rulers.

Pharaoh failed in his arrogant attempts to imprison the people of God. God sent the plagues upon them, sparing His own people in the midst of them - to such a great degree that not even a dog would bark against His chosen children.

The final plague broke the stubborn backbone of this cruel king and he let God's people go. But as they fled they found themselves facing what seemed to be a no win situation.

Pharaoh's wicked heart recanted of his repentance and he came chasing down the Israelites with his assaulting army. The horses and chariots of Egypt were in hot pursuit and before Israel was the Red Sea. Here they were between a rock and a hard place - or more appropriately between an army and a wet place!!

But God...
But God... the God who's loving-kindness is everlasting...was with them.

With His strong hand and outstretched arm He divided the Red Sea asunder and made Israel pass through the midst of it and then overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the same waters that only moments before had stood up to allow His people to pass!

I love Matthew Henry's thoughts on this:
"God brought them out of Egypt. He forced them a way through the Red Sea, which obstructed them at their first setting out. He not only divided the sea, but gave His people the courage to go through it when it was divided, which was an instance of God's power over men's hearts, as the former was an instance of His power over the waters."
Oh beloved, this God who protects and provides is our God. Will you not thank Him with me for His protection and provision of us?!

From the escape out of Egypt He leads them into the wilderness. He led them there and He fed them there.

From the wilderness He had them conquer kingdoms - Sihon of the Amorites and Og king of Bashan both fell. They fell and their lands became home to the people of Jehovah. "As He said to Pharaoh, 'Let my people go', so He said to the Canaanites, 'let my people stay!'" (Henry)

Can you see His power displayed in His dealings with these wicked lands? Can you see His love and care displayed in his dealings with His precious people?

Friends - "His loving-kindness is everlasting." This same loving-kindness that was lavished upon them is the same everlasting loving-kindness that is offered to us.
Rest in the God of Israel. Rest in His care for you. Rest in His provision to you. Rest in His rule over creation and the nations. As you rest in Him give thanks to Him - "for He is good and His loving-kindness is everlasting!"

Resting and rejoicing,

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