Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (136:1).
The phrase, “For His lovingkindness is everlasting,” is repeated twenty-six times in today’s psalm. Other versions translate Lovingkindness as Love, Steadfast Love, or Mercy.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever, (136:1 NIV).
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever, (136:1 ESV).
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever, (136:1 NKJV).
But every translation absolutely agrees… this is an attribute of God, and it is good!
(Make sure you take time to read the definition of the Hebrew word, “good,” because it is good! Scripture references are included for your further study.)
good: “2896. טוֹב ṭôḇ, טוֹבָה ṭôḇāh, טֹבָה ṭōḇāh: An adjective meaning good, well-pleasing, fruitful, morally correct, proper, convenient. This word is frequently encountered in the Old Testament and is roughly equivalent to the English word good in terms of its function and scope of meaning. It describes that which is appealing and pleasant to the senses (Num. 14:7; Esth. 1:11; Ps. 52:9); is useful and profitable (Gen. 2:18; Zech. 11:12); is abundant and plentiful (Gen. 41:22; Judg. 8:32); is kind and benevolent (1 Sam. 24:18; 2 Chr. 5:13; Nah. 1:7); is good in a moral sense as opposed to evil (Gen. 2:17; Lev. 27:14; Ps. 37:27); is proper and becoming (Deut. 1:14; 1 Sam. 1:23; Ps. 92:1); bears a general state of well-being or happiness (Deut. 6:24; Eccl. 2:24); is the better of two alternatives (Gen. 29:19; Ex. 14:12; Jon. 4:3). The creation narrative of Genesis 1 best embodies all these various elements of meaning when the Lord declares each aspect of His handiwork to be ‘good,’” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
Then I wondered, is this attribute that is so very good, more about His Love, or His Kindness, or His Mercy? As I read the definition and Biblical use of this Hebrew word in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, particularly its significance proclaimed in Psalm 136, my questions were thoroughly answered.
Today, I pray that you will also have any questions you may have thoroughly answered as we are going to examine the definition provided in this wonderful reference. And we have plenty to consider, as Strong’s recounts the history of God’s chosen people in relation to His Everlasting Lovingkindness revealed in His attributes and actions expressed throughout the psalm. The only change I have made is emphasizing in bold the Scripture references in Psalm 136. The other verses that are referenced are also copied below for easy access to guide us as we ponder and meditate on all the goodness He has made manifest through His Everlasting Lovingkindness.
Consider His Everlasting Lovingkindness
Lovingkindness: “2617. חֶסֶד ḥeseḏ: A masculine noun indicating kindness, lovingkindness, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, love, acts of kindness. This aspect of God is one of several important features of His character: truth; faithfulness; mercy; steadfastness; justice; righteousness; goodness. The classic text for understanding the significance of this word is Psalm 136 where it is used twenty-six times to proclaim that God’s kindness and love are eternal.
The psalmist made it clear that God’s kindness and faithfulness serves as the foundation for His actions and His character:
it underlies His goodness (Ps. 136:1);
it supports His unchallenged position as God and Lord (Ps. 136:2, 3);
it is the basis for His great and wondrous acts in creation (Ps. 136:4–9)
and delivering and redeeming His people from Pharaoh and the Red Sea (Ps. 136:10–15);
the reason for His guidance in the desert (Ps. 136:16);
His gift of the land to Israel and defeat of their enemies (Ps. 136:17–22);
His ancient as well as His continuing deliverance of His people (Ps. 136:23–25);
His rulership in heaven (Ps. 136:26).
The entire span of creation to God’s redemption, preservation, and permanent establishment is touched upon in this psalm. It all happened, is happening, and will continue to happen because of the Lord’s covenant faithfulness and kindness.
The other more specific uses of the term develop the ideas contained in Psalm 136 in greater detail. Because of His kindness, He meets the needs of His creation by delivering them from enemies and despair (Gen. 19:19; Ex. 15:13; Ps. 109:26; Jer. 31:3); He preserves their lives and redeems them from sin (Ps. 51:1; 86:13). As Psalm 136 demonstrates, God’s kindness is abundant, exceedingly great, without end, and good (Ex. 34:6; Num. 14:19; Ps. 103:8; 109:21; Jer. 33:11). The plural of the noun indicates the many acts of God on behalf of His people (Gen. 32:10; Isa. 63:7). He is the covenant-keeping God who maintains kindness and mercy (Deut. 7:9) to those who love Him,” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
Genesis 19:19 – “Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life…”
Exodus 15:13 – “In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed;
In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.”
Psalm 109:26 – Help me, O Lord my God;
Save me according to Your lovingkindness.
Jeremiah 31:3 –The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying,
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
Psalm 51:1, 3 –Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions…
3 For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Psalm 86:13 – For Your lovingkindness toward me is great,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol,
Exodus 34:6 – Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth,
Numbers 14:19 – Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”
Psalm 103:8 – The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
Psalm 109:21 – But You, O God, the Lord, deal kindly with me for Your name’s sake;
Because Your lovingkindness is good, deliver me;
Jeremiah 33:11 – the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say,
“Give thanks to the Lord of hosts,
For the Lord is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting”;
and of those who bring a thank offering into the house of the Lord. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,’ says the Lord.
Genesis 32:10-11 – I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies. 11 Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children.
Isaiah 63:7 – I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, the praises of the Lord,
According to all that the Lord has granted us,
And the great goodness toward the house of Israel,
Which He has granted them according to His compassion
And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses.
Deuteronomy 7:9 – Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
How do we respond to His Everlasting Lovingkindness?
Psalm 136 is a walk through the nation of Israel’s history, as a call to remembrance of His Everlasting Lovingkindness. But interestingly, much was left out about their history. Nothing about their chronic failures, rebellious actions or ungrateful murmurings is included. This psalm is only about Him and His Everlasting Lovingkindness. And I so needed to be reminded of this today. It was one of those days when my failures, my weaknesses and inadequacies were attempting to take center stage. And in this psalm, the Lord calls us to look only unto Him and His Everlasting Lovingkindness.
I felt moved to construct my own historical psalm. So, I picked up my journal and wrote to give thanks to Him, for He is good; and to saturate myself with the truth that His Lovingkindness, His Love, His Mercy, and all His Acts of Kindness are Everlasting and have endured throughout my life, and will continue forever. It changed my morning!
It’s soul talk that quiets the voice of our own soul so we can hear His Voice of Truth. I encourage you to try it! And giving thanks to Him is the best place to start.
I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders.
2 I will be glad and exult in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High, (Psalm 9:1-2).
As we remind ourselves of the wonders He has performed throughout our lifetime, as we intentionally bring to mind how truly good He is, we will be filled with such joy and gladness; so glad that we won’t be able to contain the overflow of praise for His Everlasting Lovingkindness.
Today, let’s determine to worship Him with all that we are as we consider His Word and remember His goodness in our past, depend on His faithfulness for our present and rely on His will for our future. For as we do, our thinking will be transformed. As we meditate on His Word and rehearse our own personal history, the remembrance of His constant devotion and love will emphatically prove to us that His will is good and acceptable and perfect, that we may live by faith and filled with thanksgiving because we are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that His Lovingkindness is Everlasting.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:1-2).
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (136:1).