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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 136

 

 

Verses 1-26

Let us make this occasion a time of praise and thanksgiving: let our hearts dance at the name of our God: let our lips give expression thereto, in joyful music.

Psalms 136:1. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

That is the beginning of our praise, the essential goodness of God from which all the streams of mercy flow. Oh, deep abyss of infinite love.

Psalms 136:2-3. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

His greatness, which is beyond that of all potentates on earth or principalities in heaven, — this also is to be our joyous theme of song. His greatness and his goodness together make us magnify his name.

Psalms 136:4. To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Nothing is absolutely wonderful except God, and all other things are dwarfed and diminished in wondrousness as compared with him. The Seven Wonders of the World are trifles compared with the seven-million wonders of God.

Psalms 136:5. To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

They boasted of the Colossus that strode across the sea, but what shall we say to the heavens that span not only the earth but all the universe? And in those heavens there is mercy to be seen as well as wisdom, the adaptation of the physical world to the circumstances of man, so that there is a relation between the weight of every dewdrop and the structure of the human body.

Psalms 136:6-9. To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that made great light: for his mercy endureth for ever. The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever. The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.

See how these ancient godly ones loved to dwell upon a thing. When the note was “light” they did not just sing it through and have done with it, but there were choruses and repeats in their music; but the music of today is “rattle through it as fast as ever you can, and have done quickly, with it.” Our forefathers liked to linger a bit on these sweet praises of God. So did the Hebrews.” “Great lights!” Aye, but there must be the sun and the moon and the stars. They could never have enough of it: they rolled these sweet morsels under their tongue and then out upon their lips as they praised God.

Psalms 136:10. To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:

Yet it was an awful judgment, and it needs a reverent, lowly, saintly spirit to sing over even the judgments of God. Had certain theologians of the present time been present at the Red Sea they would have cried in sentimental sympathy over the Egyptians, but instead of that Miriam took a timbrel and said, “Sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously.” The fates of sinful men are of small moment as compared with the glory of God. Jehovah filleth all things, and when the heart is fully taken up with the glory of God, it learns to sing even this stern refrain: “To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalms 136:11-15. And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever: with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever: and made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever: but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.

See how they prolonged the strain: and what blessed exercise this is, to take mercies to pieces and examine all the details, and have a fresh verse for each particular of God’s goodness to us. Glory be unto his blessed name for ever and ever.

Psalms 136:16. To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Therefore he will lead you through the wilderness, and bring you through great droughts, and your manna shall drop from heaven, and your waters flow from the rock. Sing then to his name, ye that are in the wilderness.

Psalms 136:17. To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:

That is a terrible and tragic matter, that smiting of kings. Yes, but these singers did not groan over it. There are no less than four notes over this.

Psalms 136:18-23. And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever: Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever: and Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever: and gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever: even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:

The note descends a little from the martial strain of trumpet, from smitten kings and the drowned chivalry of Egypt; but though it sinks, how it sweetens! What a soft, clear sound there is about it.

Psalms 136:24-26. And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Glorious redemption! That is ever the choicest note of all. Ring that silver bell again.

This is the Christian’s true promised land of great spiritual blessings. May we have faith enough to enter into the full possession of it. It is a very wonderful chapter.

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 136, and Ephesians 1

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 136:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-136.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, December 10th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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