• Pastor Bill Kirkemo

Give Thanks: God’s Love Endures Forever




I will confess to you, I am sometimes anxious about the future.  Not the ultimate future, I can’t wait to see Jesus face to face, and I can’t wait for the Kingdom of God to come down out of heaven in all of its fullness and remake this world.  I’m excited about that ultimate future.


​It’s the “close” future I am tempted to get anxious about.  That close future when I hear how much it will cost to fix the brakes on my car.  That close future when the next round of political campaigns get in full gear.  That close future when my body no longer recovers from a hard day’s work in the yard in just one day, but I find I’m still sore two and three days later. That close future when I am tempted, not to believe God’s not at work, but when I am tempted to become anxious and live as if God is not at work. That close future when I wonder if my weaknesses have finally exhausted God’s grace.  


​It is times like those (that I’m sure you all never experience), I need to hear anew and afresh the truth: God’s love is a forever kind of love.  “His love endures forever.”

 

If you’ll humor me for a minute, go ahead and open a new browser window, or grab that Bible you have right by your computer, and navigate to Psalm 136.  Humor me again, and read the entire Psalm out loud (unless you’re at work and your boss will wonder why you’re reading personal emails on the clock!). As you read Psalm 136, you’re going to hear this constant refrain “His love endures forever.”  I have to warn you though, you are not just going to say it six or seven times. You are going to say it 26 times.  And so here will be your temptation: you’ll get bored. Sometimes repeating the same thing over and over again can be boring and tedious. But sometimes it can be deeply moving as you reflect more and more on what you are saying. So, before you begin your assignment of saying “His love endures forever” 26 times, let me give you some context here.


​We don't know who wrote this Psalm or for what occasion it was written. We do know however, this Psalm has been used throughout the last few thousand years to recall a very special event.  This Psalm is read and responded to on the eighth and final night of the Passover Feast. The Passover Feast recalls how the Israelites cried out to God for rescue from their life as slaves to the Egyptians, and God’s answering their cries with a mighty deliverance through great miracles. As the Jews gather around the table to complete their celebration, this is the Psalm they say together.  

​So as you read this Psalm, I invite you to reflect on the ways in which God has rescued you from slavery.  Slavery to sin, slavery to guilt, slavery to selfishness and pride, slavery to all kinds of destructive thoughts, habits, and relationships.  But do not just reflect on what God has saved you from in the past, but also on the fact that God is a God whose love and salvation stretches from the past, into the present, and into the forever future.  

Now go, read!

 

God’s love is the kind of love that “endures forever.” In the original Hebrew, there is just one Hebrew word here for this two-word English phrase, “endures forever.”  And so, strictly translated, it would just read as “forever.” But just about every translation you can find in English has this addition put onto forever, the verb “endures.” In other words, the translators are signaling for us that in the Hebrew language, this “forever” is understood as a forever that is acted upon.  God does not just generically “love forever”.  We might be tempted to believe love is just an abstract thing, kind of like “forever” is often an abstract concept for us. No, God’s love endures forever. This is no small thing, for it is a 26-time reminder in this Psalm that God’s love acts.  And not only does it act, but thanks be to God, it has great endurance.  And not only that, but in Jesus Christ, we see that God’s love lives and breathes and moves and heals and changes lives.  

So if you are feeling a little beat up and bruised from life, I want to remind you: the love of God endures forever.  Forever meaning today, and every day until forever ends. There is grace and healing and hope for you today because we serve a God whose love endures forever.


If you are anxious about what the future holds for you, I want to remind you: the love of God endures forever.  Forever meaning today, and every day until forever ends. There is grace and healing and hope for you today because we serve a God whose love endures forever.

If you are experiencing conflict in your relationships, I want to remind you: the love of God endures forever.  Forever meaning today, and every day until forever ends. There is grace and healing and hope for you today because we serve a God whose love endures forever.

If you are filled with doubts and questions and fears, I want to remind you: the love of God endures forever.  Forever meaning today, and every day until forever ends. There is grace and healing and hope for you today because we serve a God whose love endures forever.

If you are being tempted right now to doubt God’s love for you, I want to remind you: the love of God endures forever.  Forever meaning today, and every day until forever ends. There is grace and healing and hope for you today because we serve a God whose love endures forever.


I won’t attempt to be like the Psalmist and give you another 20 reasons why you should give thanks.  Because that is now your job.  This Thanksgiving season, write down another 20 reasons why you can give thanks to God.  


Give Thanks: God’s love is a forever love.

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