The Chorus that Sings through the Scriptures

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.

They are the words that were sung when the ark of the Lord, the primary symbol of God’s presence, was finally returned to Jerusalem after years of being lost (1 Chronicles 16:34).

They are the words that were sung when that same ark was placed in the Temple for the first time (2 Chronicles 5:13), and when fire came down from heaven and the Glory of the Lord filled that space (2 Chronicles 7:3).

They are the words that were sung after the exile, when the people of Israel returned to Jerusalem and began to build the Temple once again (Ezra 3:11).

They are words that close the Shepherd Psalm 23 and the Thanksgiving Psalm 100. They are the words that open Psalm 107, and provide the introduction to the third book of the Psalter,

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.” – Psalm 107:1

The goodness and love of the Lord seem to be the most repeated of God’s characteristics, the chorus that sings throughout the Scriptures.

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How would you define “good”?

It is in Genesis, when the Lord is forming the earth, that the word “good” is first used. “Towb” is the word God uses to describe the new world He is creating.

It is in Genesis 1:11-12 that God brings life to His creation for the first time. But God doesn’t create plants, He creates seeds. It is the earth that brings to fruition the life that was in His imagination. But God doesn’t call the plants good. What He declares to be good is plants bearing the seeds of future life.

This points the way to what it means to believe in the “towb” of God. God’s goodness is life that brings life that brings life that brings life.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good” is a declaration that our God is One who brings life and the progression of life. Our God is the Light to our darkness, the Water to our thirst, and the Bread to our hungry souls.

Sometimes, our belief in God’s goodness feels unshakeable. The life is springing all around us, and we are satisfied in ways we know can only come from Him.

Other times, belief in God’s goodness feels like a mental chasm too vast to leap. Death feels much more tangible than light.  What then?

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How would you define “love”?

The word for love in Psalm 107:1 is “checed” in Hebrew. This is the word some translations render “lovingkindness” or “faithful love.”  Because it is not simply a word for affection, but of covenantal devotion.

God’s checed love is what the Jesus Storybook Bible defines as a “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”

God’s checed love is a promise that no matter how we feel or what we do, His love will pursue us all the days of our lives.

“His love endures forever.” is a declaration that our God’s love for us is not dependent on our obedience or the strength of our faith. God’s love is an everlasting commitment to me that is not dependent on my devotion to Him. (Thanks be to God.)

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“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.” – Psalm 107:1

It seems natural that praise for God’s love and thanks for God’s goodness would go hand-in-hand. Soil hardens, gets dry, and grows weeds. It takes devotion to tend to the earth and prepare it to be a place where seeds can grow.

Perhaps it is God’s love that cultivates us, and allows life to be brought forth by His goodness again and again and again and again.

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A life of faith is not a linear journey. Like the Israelites, we will meander through devotion and doubt, faithfulness and failure.  But no matter where we go, we can hear this chorus singing through the ages,

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”


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