You cannot read too far in the Bible without running into some version of one of its most popular refrains: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
In fact, an entire psalm was crafted around this marvelous phrase of exhortation. “Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136:26). Twenty-six times in this psalm, once in each verse, the writer proclaims that “God’s mercy endures forever.”
Now, why did God inspire the author to repeat this truth so often? He did it for emphasis, that it might get implanted deep in our hearts and embedded firmly in our minds. Never, ever, ever should we question whether God will be merciful enough to forgive us our sins and pardon our transgressions. His mercy endures forever! His love is without limit! His love will cover you always! In fact, in all situations and under all circumstances, God’s mercy endures forever. You need this truth as much as I do.
Psalm 118 is the last of the Hallel psalms, which faithful Jews sang on their journeys of pilgrimage to Jerusalem. As Jesus made His way to Jerusalem for the Day of Atonement, this would have been the last song on His “must sing” list. For centuries interpreters recognized it as a messianic psalm, a prophecy about the coming Messiah. So as Jesus sang this psalm with His disciples, just hours before His arrest and crucifixion, He knew very well that portions of it referred directly to Him.
I wonder—how would it be to sing such a psalm knowing that it’s talking specifically about you? Jesus knew everything that awaited Him in Jerusalem. He knew of Judas’ treachery. He knew His disciples would desert Him. He knew Peter would deny Him. He knew He would be arrested, falsely accused, condemned to death, beaten, mocked, tortured, and finally crucified. So, knowing all that, can you see why His loving Father would fortify His soul with the words of Psalm 118?
Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good. For His mercy endures forever. Let Israel now say, “His mercy endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron now say, “His mercy endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord now say, “His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 118:1-4).
Jesus recognized that in just a few hours He would become “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He would “become sin” for us all (2 Corinthians 5:21). He would bear our sins in His own body on the tree and through His stripes He would heal us (1 Peter 2:24).
And surely the goodness of God was manifested in the words of Psalm 118, assuring our Savior of God’s eternal love for Him. In our Lord’s darkest hour, God ministered to Him through the truth of His eternal Word: “His mercy endures forever!”
- excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith