This introduction serves as an invitation to join in an on-going journey of discovery. You will not need to buy tickets nor make travel plans. All that's required is your Bible and a quiet place to read and meditate. Together we'll explore the Book of Psalms, Israel’s hymnal and longest collection of poetry.  

Psalm 136:17-26

What Is Ours Forever

(17) (Give thanks) to him who struck down great kings – for his steadfast love (endures) forever, (18) …and killed majestic kings – for his steadfast love (endures) forever, (19) …Sihon, king of the Amorites – for his steadfast love (endures) forever, (20) …and Og, king of Bashan – for his steadfast love (endures) forever, (21) …and gave their land as an inheritance – for his steadfast love (endures) forever, (22) …an inheritance to Israel, his servant - for his steadfast love (endures) forever. (23) He remembered us in our low estate – for his steadfast love (endures) forever, (24) …and rescued us from our foes – for his steadfast love (endures) forever, (25) …the one who gives food to all flesh – for his steadfast love (endures) forever. (26) Give thanks to the God of heaven – for his steadfast love (endures) forever.

Two repetitions mark this concluding segment of the psalm apart from the refrain found in the second half of each verse. “King” occurs four times in four verses, twice in the plural, general references to the rulers which Yahweh struck down, and twice in the singular referring to specific monarchs Israel defeated and overthrew (vss. 17-20). “Inheritance” is found twice designating the territories that had been ruled by these deposed kings which Yahweh then gave to his chosen people (vss. 21 & 22).

Yahweh is worthy of praise:
- for the destruction and dispossession of pagan kings in order to give their land as an inheritance to Israel  (17-22)
- for graciously protecting and providing for his chosen people  (23-26)

Yahweh is worthy of praise for delivering us from our enemies and for providing for all our needs.

When I was a child, my parents installed a big sand box in our back yard for me to enjoy. It soon became a gathering place for all the kids in our neighborhood. We would spend our afternoons dividing up the area into “my property” vs. “your property” and play with “my toys” vs. “your toys.” But when the other kids had to go home for dinner and I was called inside to eat, whatever ownership arrangements had been made that afternoon were forgotten. Now was the time to enjoy the real relationship I had with my parents as their son, feasting at their table and enjoying their loving care.

Here on earth, the nations for centuries have divided up territory like children playing in a sand box. They have established their claims, equipped their armies, and defended their rights just like my friends and I used to divide the sand box into “my property” and “your property.” At the end of human history, none of these temporal arrangements will matter. What will count for eternity is the relationship we have with the one who has prepared a place for us in heaven. We will feast at his table and enjoy his glorious presence forever as we worship him with the refrain, “Give thanks to the God of heaven – for his steadfast love (endures) forever.”

Psalm 137

Psalm 136:10-16