“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1
Repetition, so they say, is the mother of learning. This is why from the time we learn to read and write we practice our letters, commit to memory the sound each one makes and spend endless hours memorizing spelling words. It is the same with mathematics and multiplication. Through the sheer force of repetition we commit the multiplication table to the deepest recesses of our brain. The idea is that through repetition whatever it is that we are learning becomes so ingrained that we never forget it.
The Bible does this too and in particular with the psalms. Take Psalm 136, for example. While I only printed the first verse, the refrain, “His love endures forever,” is repeated twenty-six times in twenty-six verses. “Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever,” (v. 2), “who by his understanding made the heavens. His love endures forever,” (v. 5), “to the One who remembered us in our low estate. His love endures forever,” (v. 23), “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever,” (v. 26). Get the point? His love endures forever.
That the love of the Lord for us endures forever and that we should ingrain this into our thinking is the point the psalmist is trying to make. Through repetition he wants this to become our “knee-jerk” thought about God. Just like when we state (almost without thinking) that 5 x 5 is 25, so God wants us to remember that when we think of Him, His love for us endures forever.
Why is that important? Well, let us face it, quite often we feel less than loveable. At one time or another we have all done something. We have all sinned in some shameful way and when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we wonder how anyone could ever love us much less God. These words stated over and over again are to stand in contrast to our feelings. Sure, I may not feel very loveable, but God’s Word says repeatedly that His love is everlasting. It endures. To be honest, what either you or I feel about the matter is inconsequential. All that matters is what God says time after time.
God’s love for us does endure forever. It does so because of another message the Scriptures repeats: Christ Jesus died for us sinners. Jesus death removed any and all strife that stood between us and the love of God. His death removed the shame of our sin so that now all God has for us is his enduring love. This is why we repeat the message of Jesus and Him crucified over and over again. This is why you hear it every Sunday. Our Lord wants us to be steeped in that message so that it permeates our entire being so that if ever asked, “Why do you believe God loves you?” you can respond instantaneously, “Because Jesus died for me!”
As you read through the Scriptures take special note of what is repeated. These are the things God wants you to know about Him. These are the things He wants you to read, mark and inwardly digest.
O Most High, what You have done for me is wonderful beyond all telling. Assist me to give You thanks and to praise Your name in this life until I worship You in glory hereafter; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.