Daily Family Worship

Psalm 136: The Song of Enduring Mercy

by | Jul 4, 2024

psalm 136

There is something very sweet in the oft-repeated chorus of this Psalm: “His mercy endureth for ever!” Its truth is so necessary, its assurance is so encouraging, its expression is so simple, and its reiteration is so cheering – so much so, that even in the concluding verse, we part with it with reluctance; and we repeat the last verse with the same fervor and gratitude as we did the first! The very repetition of the truth that the Lord’s mercy endures forever displays the hold which it had taken upon the Psalmist’s mind and affection. Every instance of God’s love which he recorded was sealed, before he had even parted from it, with the grateful impress of the mercy from which it sprang.

There is not much in the Psalm itself that requires commentary, for it is a very comprehensive enumeration of the Lord’s mercies – beginning at the very beginning, from the works of Creation to the final settlement of His people in their Promised Land. In the fifth verse, we read, “To him that by wisdom made the heavens”; and if we look at the eighth chapter of Proverbs, we will see there how Wisdom is meant to represent Jesus – Who, as the Apostle declares, is made unto us both “the power of God and the wisdom of God.” As the New Testament declares, “the world was made by him.”

It is a very sweet truth, too, which is enunciated in the 16th verse. It is one which we very much need to realize: “He led his people through the wilderness; for his mercy endureth for ever!” His own peculiar people – His beloved and favored ones, whom He cherished as the apple of His eye, who were graven on the palms of His hands, and whom He loved with an everlasting love – even these people, He led through the wilderness; and all because “his mercy endureth for ever.” In another Psalm, it is said, “He leadeth them beside the still waters, he maketh them to lie down in green pastures”; but the barren wilderness has no green pastures, and the parched and arid desert has no still waters. And yet “in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert, and an highway shall be there; and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads.” “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” It is none other than His precious Bride, the Church! This is one of the Lord’s sweet truths, which greatly perplexes those who are of the world – but which is so full of consolation to His own children! The wilderness and His mercy are linked together here, in indissoluble union. “I will allure her,” saith the Lord – speaking of His Bride – “and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her!”

O Lord, we sing aloud to You, and ascribe praises to Your name; for You are good, and Your mercy endures forever! We confess that we have not always been quick and lively in our praises to You; therefore, we pray for grace to consider all the wonders that You have done in the works of Providence, for this shall surely give us a theme for praise! Amen.

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