His Love Endures Forever

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1 KINGS 19:1-21 | ACTS 12:1-23 | PSALM 136:1-26 | PROVERBS 17:14-15

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We find a most fascinating account of the life and times of Elijah, the one and only prophet left among the people of Israel who has accomplished the mission that he had been commissioned to by the Lord, but after he takes care of business, he is frightened for his life because he hears that Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, has vowed to kill him.  We see a dejected Elijah on the run who eventually decides to simply lie down and die. 

This is the same man who fearlessly lived in the wilderness for three years and even raised a young man from the dead, but now, Elijah seems to have had enough.  And yet, his work is not completed.  Twice an angel comes to minister to him with food and water when it appears that Elijah has no desire to carry on. 

And then the word of the Lord, i.e., God himself appears to him—not in the storm, the earthquake or even in the fire—but in the small still voice that asks, What are you doing here, Elijah?  as if to say, you still have so much to be done, what are you doing here?

And so, Elijah once more heeds the word of the Lord and does his bidding.  He is to do three things in particular:  anoint Hazael as king over the people of Aram, evidently an independent kingdom in the highlands from which the Aramaic people and the language must have come forth.  Also, Elijah is to anoint Jehu as king of Israel, and finally, he is to find, train, and appoint his own successor, a young man by the name of Elisha. 

With these three appointments, one is given to believe that change is to come to the land, and we shall see how that will play itself out.  But for now, we see Elisha’s calling to be a most startling one.  Elijah approaches Elisha and throws his cloak over him, signifying an honor that is bestowed, and Elisha at once leaves what he is doing and follows him.  But it is endearing to see that no sooner does he do this that he realizes that he must go back and bid his mother and father a proper farewell—which is what he does.  Not only does he go back to say goodbye, but he prepares a meal for his family, sits down to eat with them, and then takes leave in order to follow Elijah for the new chapter that is to begin in his life.

Turning now to our reading in the book of Acts, we find that the persecution of the early believers and the apostles, in particular, continues unabated.  And this time it is Herod Agrippa I, the Roman king of Judea at that time who had James, one of Jesus’ disciples put to death, and now has Peter arrested and thrown into prison.  But a most miraculous thing happens to Peter in prison:  although guarded on both sides, Peter is awakened in the night and led out of prison by an angel. 

This is nothing short of miraculous as Herod discovers the following day that the escape is most unexplainable and yet, he has the guards put to death.  Herod himself meets a most horrific death soon enough, but for now, Peter is free once again– free to move about and preach the gospel, i.e., the good news of Jesus to one and all. 

Peter immediately goes to report his escape from prison, and his friends cannot believe the news!  This was the history of the early church:  it was a most exciting and dangerous time to openly state that you were a Christian!

Turning next to our psalm for the day, we find one which is not unlike many others in that it is a history of the people of Israel and one in which the psalmist is giving praise to the Lord.  But there is something unique about this psalm in how the one refrain ‘His love endures forever’ is one that is as moving today as it was when it was first written many thousands of years ago. 

I reproduce the psalm in its entirety here for this very reason.  Although our present-day circumstances may not be anything similar to that story of the Israelites, this one refrain is still the same:  His love does indeed endure forever!

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.

3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
7 who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
8 the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
9 the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
11
and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
12
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.
14
and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
15
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness;
His love endures forever.

17 to him who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
18
and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.
19
Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
20
and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.
21
and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
22
an inheritance to his servant Israel.
His love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
24
and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
25
He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

Finally, two verses from our reading in the book of Proverbs—the two are unrelated and stand alone in the wisdom that they contain and impart:

14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—
   the LORD detests them both.

7 thoughts on “His Love Endures Forever

  1. That psalm also is one of my favorites. The repitition makes it so memorable. One can almost imagine Peter and James and the other followers praying it during their most difficult moments.

    1. Yes, I couldn’t agree more. Such comforting words they are, and if ever there is a chant that I might wish to adopt, it would be this — a thousand times over. I daresay I could write my own version of this psalm with the refrain “His love endures forever.”

        1. Well, since you put it like that, that is inspiration enough for me to put down some thoughts in that very format. May it be that it draw more attention to God’s enduring love than my own ability to compose this verse.

          1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
          His love endures forever.

          2 To him who knew me even before I was born,
          His love endures forever.

          3 Who by his great magnanimity, gave unto me loving parents,
          His love endures forever.

          4 To him who blessed me with good health in my childhood and my youth,
          His love endures forever.

          5 Who watched over my every step even when I wilfully made a wrong turn,
          His love endures forever.

          6 To him who knows everything within my heart, both the said and the unsaid,
          His love endures forever.

          7 Who listens to my ramblings and my unjustified complaints,
          His love endures forever.

          8 Who gives me breath every morning and awakens me to see a new day,
          His love endures forever.

          9 To him who speaks to me in both the ordinary and extraordinary moments of my day,
          His love endures forever.

          10 Who comforts me and wipes my tears, and allows me to speak again when I choke upon my words,
          His love endures forever.

          11 To him who is the source of my unspeakable joy and makes me want to tell the world about him,
          His love endures forever.

          12 This is the LORD of the universe who resides in my heart,
          His love endures forever.

          13 Give thanks to the LORD, all ye who read these words,
          His love endures forever.

          1. SO BEAUTIFUL! Wow, you were truly inspired! You should totally make that an entry on your blog.

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