“Give Thanks to the Lord, For His Steadfast Love Endures Forever”

The phrase “give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever” appears exactly like this 10 times in the Old Testament but appears in part and sentiment throughout scripture. The eternally enduring love of God should inspire thanksgiving in everyone.

The Appearance to Moses in Exodus 34

Moses descended Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments, breaking the tablets in anger as the people worshiped idols, disobeying the command they heard from God’s thundering voice. After Moses made new tablets God allowed Moses to see His glory pass, both His presence and a description of His glorious nature. Exodus 34:5-8 declare God’s mercy and justice upon generations arising from his steadfast love and faithfulness.

What Does “Steadfast” Mean?

“Steadfast” means something firmly fixed in place or “standing fast” and immovable.  Considering the eternal nature of God, this means His love outlives our short earthly existence. Our children and future generations will know it as did  our parents, grandparents, and ancestors.

“Throughout the OT the Hebrews [word] is used most often to convey the idea of something being established…or standing firm. This quality of steadfastness or firmness often has a moral character to it; a heart that is steadfast towards God is a faithful heart that trusts Him under all circumstances.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

His steadfast love for us should produce steadfast love for Him in our hearts.

The Ark and the Tabernacle

When the Ark of the Covenant is placed in the tabernacle, in 1 Chronicles 16, David fed the people, the priests offered sacrifices, and Levites offered praise before the Ark. The steadfast love of God was the theme of the praise offered morning and evening.

David offered a song of thanksgiving, 1 Chronicles 16:8-34. As we summarize this song, note that we can pray and praise the same theme.

  • Give thanks to God because of all of His wondrous works and mighty power for His people.
  • Let those who seek the Lord seek His strength.
  • God is judge of all the earth.
  • God and His people have made a covenant together.
  • God protected His people when they were few and vulnerable.
  • The righteous should remind each other to praise God in the greatest ways for “splendor and majesty are before him and strength and joy are in His place.”
  • Let all creation give God the glory, honor, and thanksgiving due Him.
  • The saved should give thanks to the God of salvation.

The song closes with “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!”

Jehosophat’s battle song

The phrase arises in a darker period of Jewish history when the tribes divided into two confederations, Israel and Judah. The people of Judah emerged from a period of unfaithfulness, but soon after the reforms of Jehoshaphat enemies gathered against them. Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast, telling the assembly to seek God.

Jehoshaphat appealed to God’s steadfastness, listing the great deeds performed for His people in times past, expressing anxiety about the enemies but their trust in Him (1 Chronicles 20). God promised to deliver them if they remained steadfast (hold their position) and trusted in the Lord, 1 Chronicles 20:15-17. They put the enemy to flight by singing praise of God’s steadfast love, 1 Chronicles 20:20-22.

It Is The Theme of Several Psalms

Psalm 106

The psalm begins with the praise of God’s steadfast love and His works and salvation. However, the psalm confesses sin and lack of faith among God’s people, His merciful deliverance, and their quick return to unfaithfulness, 106:6-13. The psalm resounds with God’s people forgetting what He had done, their lack of trust in His future deliverance despite the past victories, and turning from God despite His mercy. Rebellion after rebellion is detailed but the psalm concludes with the steadfast love and mercy of the Lord, 106:44-48. The steadfast love of the Lord endures even when God’s people do not remain faithful to Him but is ready when they humbly return to Him.

Psalm 107

The phrase begins the psalm with an exhortation “let the redeemed of the Lord say so!” The psalm praises God’s gathering His people from times of trial and exile.

  • God conveyed them from deserted places, hungry and thirsty, to their own city.
  • Some were exiled and prisoners, enduring hard labor, because they rebelled against God but cried for deliverance when they came to their senses.
  • Those who were foolish through sinful ways repented and cried to God who delivered them from destruction.
  • The proud, distressed seeing the mighty power of God in stormy seas, and cried to God who delivered them.
  • When Israel was wicked, God made a fruitful land a desert, but when they repented brought bounty on the land and protected the livestock.
  • God punished His people, thorough love, to bring them back, humble their pride, and wake them from wickedness.
    • Proverbs 3:11-12 – “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”
    • Hebrews 12:6 – “”For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

Psalm 118

The psalmist opened with praise to God’s steadfast love and salvation, followed by an apparent hopeless situation as enemies surrounded him and “pushed him hard” so that he was falling, but God helped Him. Deliverance is not always immediate. We must endure trials to see if we will trust God. Jesus told the parable of the unjust judge to teach His followers to “pray always and not lose heart” especially when it appears that God is not listening or doing anything about our situation.

The psalm ends with praise for deliverance, confidently entering the gates of God,  victorious because they trusted God when it seemed hope was lost.  You are my God and give thanks for His steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 136

It appears the priest would say the first part and the audience would answer “for His steadfast love endures forever.” The psalm praises God’s superiority, His mighty works in creation, delivering Israel from Egypt, and conquest of Israel’s enemies to give them a home in the Promised Land.

The Darkness of Exile

Finally,  in the darkness of Judah’s exile, after God destroyed Jerusalem to punish the wickedness of Judah, the praise of God’s enduring steadfast love appears as a light. Jeremiah 33 records the promise of Judah’s escape from exile to return to their land, filling God’s house with praise and rebuilding Jerusalem. They would return because His steadfast love endures forever. This thought comforted Jeremiah even in the midst of the pain of exile, Lamentations 3:19-26.

Taking into account all of these things when should we “give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever?”

  • In good times when food is plentiful and we are healthy.
  • In hard times when food is scarce and we are sick and in pain.
  • When our rulers are good, justice pervades the land, and the people are righteous.
  • When our rulers are corrupt, injustice prevails, and the people are wicked.
  • When our faith is strong and we are active in His service and confident in His word.
  • When our faith is weak, we struggle in prayers and service, and doubts arise.
  • When we enjoy the fruits of a faithful life to God.
  • When we have been humbled by the discipline of God and must deal with the consequences of our sin that woke us up to our unfaithfulness or spiritual sleep.
  • When, like Jehoshaphat, enemies surround us and it appears that Satan is prevailing, we can stand our ground in the confidence and hope of the Lord, praying and singing.
  • When we are at death’s door and eternity awaits on the other side.

Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever?”

Moved Fatherhood Articles to My Personal Site

Over the years I’ve written several articles and reflections on raising 6 children, including two we “adopted” as teenagers, and plan to write more in the future.  I’ve moved these articles to my personal website rhodesdavis.com. You can reach those categories by clicking this link.

How To Write A Memorable Eulogy — Example Memorial Service Included

The eulogy is one of the most important speeches one could deliver as it pays tribute to the meaning of a life in the presence of those mourning the loss. It is a solemn occasion as friends and family, often separated by hundreds of miles and many years, gather to pay a final tribute to a loved one. In most cases it is a celebratory time of a life well lived. Tragic situations can provide an opportunity to develop sympathy for the deceased or remember Man Sitting At Gravesitethe important lessons a life cut short. It is the final public reflection of the life that has passed and a means of providing comfort and closure for the survivors. We do disservice when we pull out a standard funeral service from a book of stock event speeches. A vague speech about death and remembrance is equally lacking. A eulogy should memorialize the end of life with an exclamation point, not a whimper.

Why A Good Eulogy Is Important

Preparing the eulogy or tribute

Gathering material on the deceased

Choose material that fits the narrative

Choose an organizational method

Organization types

Ending the eulogy

Concluding observations

Example Memorial Service

Contentment is a Prayer of Thankfulness

Our contentment tells God thank you for taking care of our needs and overfilling our cup. We tell Him that we are enough with Him and we are satisfied with how “all things dockhave worked together for good” in our lives, Romans 8:28. We do not sulk or whine about what others have nor live discontent because of their blessings because we are blessed with a loving Father: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” Hebrews 13:5. Even though we want to grow and improve our skills and ability to serve, we are not discontent with our life now. Instead of searching for life’s meaning in the things of life, we find that “godliness with contentment is great gain,” 1 Timothy 6:6.

A content Christian is a prayer of thankfulness to God for satisfying our deepest needs beyond our ability to measure.

Proverbs 27:2 and Social Media Self-Promotion

“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2 (ESV)

The popularity of social media has outpaced the ability of users to wisely use this communication technology and warped our perception of ourselves. Prior to this age, only celebrities of sports, media, and politics had a following and a platform in which to express their thoughts and influence how they are perceived. They had paparazzi following them to take pictures of mundane events like shopping, eating, and family outings and commenting on their purchases, acquaintances, and vacations. With social media, users are their own paparazzi sharing pictures, stories of mundane daily events, and who they are with while doing what.

There is a fine line between what is sharing and what is self-promotion.

The proverb above, and similar admonitions not to brag, were regular parts of my mother’s admonition to a son who often could be too full of himself. “No one likes a braggart” I would hear, and she was right. On the other hand, much of business success today depends on getting your name and skills in front of potential employers and reminding your supervisors of the value you bring to the company. We have to stand out from the crowd of other candidates and, during times of downsizing and layoffs, make sure our employers know that we are doing important work for the company when we are one of many people they manage in addition to the many tasks they perform. And so the modern worker in the business arena must walk a fine line between bragging and making the case for being a valuable employee.

Building a professional platform without bragging

One of the distinctions for the professional is that bragging or boasting involves exaggerating one’s worth and skills beyond reality or hyping mundane abilities. When hiring administrators, I was often amused at the resumes that touted the ability to operate copiers, shredders, and browsers from diverse manufacturers. If you cannot operate any of these without a couple of minutes of training, you are in the wrong field. Likewise, I have seen interviewees who touted computer programming language skills melt when a real programmer asked them to explain some of the simple things about the language, commenting later that the applicant must have “walked by some programmers talking and felt he was qualified.” When crafting a resume, emphasize the real skills you have (and get valuable skills to add to your qualifications) and demonstrate the value you have provided to your employers.

Professional social networks such as LinkedIn (my profile is here) allow you to post a digital resume and have others recommend you for skills they observe and write testimonies (really, its a review!) of your work with them. This allows others, as the proverb says, to praise you. By expressing what you have done in quantitative ways (“I increased revenues 25% and added 5 new clients per year as a sales representative.”) or describing your skills (“I have developed several computer programs and two apps in the Apple iStore.”) you are not bragging but showing to employers what you have done. Writing “I’m the best salesperson (programmer) in the city” is bragging and is probably easy to disprove.

On personal social media, managing this takes additional thought. Are you bragging about your work or is posting what you have accomplished your work? One of the criteria is probably, are you trying to build an audience for your business or just trying to get attention for yourself. I know a Christian lady who publishes posts and videos of her recipes and dietary advice frequently. It is her business and social media is how she builds an audience with which she can approach advertisers and gain presentation opportunities. Posting is her business. I know insurance agents, restaurant owners, and others who sell to individuals who post relevant information and business promotions to get business. Bloggers post links to their work to get readers. These seem to be valid uses though they can be abused.

However, I’ve always been curious about “checking in” at work. Aren’t you supposed to be there? There are other posts where it seems like the person could be bragging “see what I get to do” or “can you can imagine how much I’m paid to do this?” Worse is the “oh how hard my job is” posts to a bunch of people who probably are working as hard, or harder, than the person posting. And don’t complain about your boss, co-workers, or customers ever. Not only may it cause problems, including unemployment, but future employers may see your posts and fear what you might say about them.

Boasting about doing God’s work

This is one of those fine line issues for Christians and especially those who are fully-supported by Christians to preach or do other work in the kingdom. On the one hand, I’ve seen discussions among Christians who note that discussions of spiritual work is encouraging as they see things being done in other places and have gotten ideas for evangelism or service from things other people are doing. Also, we can find out about events, such as gospel meetings and opportunities to learn or serve. Some posts demonstrate to non-Christians that we are serious about our faith and active in service to others, traits needed in a world that is increasingly hostile to Christ and His followers.

On the other hand, when does our announcing a work, discussing how tired but joyous we are having just finished a work, or sharing that we are doing some devotional service cross the line into bragging? Here is a picture of how pious I am, or the study I’m doing, or the good work I’m involved with. The “humble brag” is a term coined to describe the post where the person wants to shout how great they are but the nature of the event is such that they shouldn’t brag about it: “I am humbled and honored to be invited to speak at this lectureship knowing the other speakers are much more qualified to present” or “I am humbly thankful to have been part of this charity effort today.” We can even brag about what our church is doing. I’m not making a blanket condemnation on such posts but ask what are we trying to gain with the post? If you walked up to a casual acquaintance and said the same thing how do you think it would sound or how would you hope or expect them to respond?

Jesus devoted significant attention in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:1-18, chiding those who gave, prayed, and fasted in order to be seen by others. In the rebuke of the givers he condemned those who literally “tooted their own horn” to draw attention to themselves though the givers probably rationalized it by saying they sounded the horn to make sure those in need knew where the alms were. Regarding fasting and praying, Jesus said not to bring attention to yourself in this service.  In fact, in Luke 17:10 Jesus said we should conclude such service recognizing this is what is expected of us: “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’.” Our challenge is to be content with God’s observation of our service and to let all things be done to His glory and not ours.

I’m not offering hard and fast rules, only suggestions that we check and double-check our motives for our social media posts. Is the good that can be performed improved by informing others about this? Are we trying to draw a crowd to where we are preaching or let people know we are in demand? Are we wanting people to think we are hard-working and generous people in case they have their doubts? Do we just need attention and validation?  As I’ve asked myself and others before, can you live without Internet celebrity?

 

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