Psalm 136 has 26 verses. And every verse has two parts. The first part of the first three verses has an exhortation to thank God. The last part of the first three verses says, “for His steadfast love endures forever.” The first part of the rest (except the last) list many of His glorious attributes: creative powers as seen in the skies, stars, sun, moon, mountains. Some of them talk about the great things He did like delivering Israel from slavery in Egypt. But the last half of every one of the verses says, “For His steadfast love endures forever.” The final verse concludes, “Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.”  It’s obvious that we have so many things to thank God for we should do it for everything; the sky, the stars, the trees, etc. But notice that the reason for our thanksgiving is repeated 26 times in 26 verses, and that is the “steadfast love” that God has for His children. It never ends. It never changes regardless of the circumstances in our life.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks always.” Maybe Paul was referring to this Psalm. Actually the ESV of that verse says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The good and the bad things of life all work out for our best. That’s what Paul tells the Romans. Therefore while we’re in this world both prosperity and adversity will be good for us and therefore are both deserving of our thanks. That’s what God wants for us. He wants us to profit from every experience in our lives, good and/or bad. Although we are not called to thank God for our heartaches and pains, we are called to look above and beyond them to the God who’s “steadfast love endures forever.” We are to recognize and acknowledge that God always has our best interest foremost in mind regardless of our life situation at the moment. Only then can we truly remain thankful in all circumstances as Paul directs.

So “Give thanks to the God of Heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever.”

“We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy, just as servants keep their eyes on their master, as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.” (Psalm 123:2)