Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. who made the great lights— His love endures forever. the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever. to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever. and brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever. to him who divided the Red Sea asunder His love endures forever. and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever. to him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:1-16
This Psalm represents a great remembering and acknowledgement that God’s love endures forever. He was, He is, and He is to come and through all time God’s love endures. There are several insights into the nature of God here: He is good; He is God of gods and Lord of lords; He alone does great wonders; His understanding made the heavens; He spread the earth upon the waters; He made the great lights, the sun for day and the moon and stars for night; He struck down the firstborn of Egypt and brought Israel out of Egypt with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; He divided the Red Sea and brought Israel through it; He swept Pharaoh and his army into the red Sea; and He led His people through the wilderness.
There are two references to water in this resume of God’s nature. The first is an interesting description of the formation of earth….God ” spread out the earth upon the waters”. This seems a bit reversed from the genesis account of the waters emerging from below to create the seas. Perhaps the “waters” here are meant to refer to the “spacious place” where God dwells and from which creation ultimately emanated. The implication is that there is a reality which God is part of that is distinct from earth, heaven if you will.
The second water reference is more straightforward. God rescued Israel by parting the Red Sea. God led them through the sea and the subsequent wilderness. This is an interesting metaphor for the parting of the “waters” accomplished when God came to earth as a man from Nazareth. Jesus opened us a pathway to lead us through the great expanse that seems to separate us from God. Those who choose to follow “the way” of Jesus are led daily through the spiritual wilderness that we must navigate.
There are two other characteristics of God listed that I find interesting…”God is good” and “His understanding made the heavens”. The statement that God is good is both comforting and confusing. If God is good why is there evil in this world? I think this comes down to free will and the desire God has to love us as His children rather than automatons. The very enduring love that grants us free will allows us to be free of God if we choose. Untethered from God and His Spirit humans are capable of great evil.
The Gospel of John begins with “In the beginning was the word”. The Greek word translated as “the word” is “logos”. Logos loosely translated means reason, or the ability to reason. It is the root of the English word logic. God’s “understanding” or logos is what created order out of disorder. His logos is the reason we have the ability to reason. It is ironic that some use the ability to “reason” away the very existence of God. This is a bit like a math problem arguing against the existence of numbers. One cannot exist without the other.
Prayer: God Your love does endure forever. Thank You for sharing that love with us.