Psalm 118 starts: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever. Psalm 118 finishes: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever. Psalm 118 is top and tailed with the same refrain: Give thanks to the LORD... and give thanks to the LORD for at least two reasons:
Firstly, give thanks to him because he is good
Our God always has been and our God always will be good. Good through and through. Totally good. And the LORD is good whatever our circumstances. In Psalm 118 the Psalmist describes something of his struggle. He says: I was hard pressed and I was crying (v5). I have enemies (v7) - enemies that surrounded me on every side - enemies that swarmed around me like bees (v12). The Psalmist describes something of his struggle and says: I was pushed back and about to fall... (v13). However, then he says: ...but the LORD helped me (v13). In the middle of his struggle: The LORD is with me; he is my helper (v7).
And whatever our circumstances - even if we’re struggling, even if we’re feeling pushed back and about to fall - the LORD is with us too, by his Spirit. It’s the good LORD who is with us. We take refuge in a good God. He is our strength and our salvation. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good…
Secondly, give thanks to him because his love endures for ever
God has something to say to his people, and it’s this: “I always have and I always will love you!” It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? God always has and God always will love us. But if you’re anything like me you might be quick to question that…
When you’re struggling do you sometimes question God’s love? Does God really love me? Really?! Because he just seems so distant. Or when you’re struggling with sin do you sometimes question God’s love? Does God really love me? Me?! Because I just seem so disobedient. Maybe you’ve fallen into sin this week. Maybe you’ve failed, and you’ve failed, and you’ve failed again. Well, this is the word of God to you: …his love for you endures... it perseveres. God’s love for us is a persevering love, and it will persevere through thick and thin. God knows we struggle. God knows we sin. But he still loves us. His love for us endures…
And the Psalmist says at the beginning and the end of Psalm 118: …his love for us endures for ever. God always has loved us, from eternity past. And God always will love us, for eternity future. And in the present - today - God loves us. Even if today is a bad day - even if your mind is full of sin and your mouth is full of sin - even on your worst days, God still loves us. And his love for us is the powerful, passionate love of a Saviour, who sent his one and only Son for us.
God always has and God always will love us. And we need to hear that again and again. I think that’s partly why the Psalmist includes verses 2 to 4. He needs people to remind him, and people need him to remind them: His love for his people endures for ever. We all need people to remind us of this. I need you to remind me and you need me to remind you. We need people to speak this truth to us.
But we also need to speak this truth together. When we’re together - on Sunday morning, or on Tuesday and Wednesday evening - we give thanks to the LORD, and we give thanks to the LORD for his love for us. Let the Village Church say: ‘His love endures for ever’ (v2-4).