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Read:  Psalm 136

You have (hopefully) just read Psalm 136, all twenty-six verses worth.  It is worth reading, so if you thought you’d skip that and get to the devotional – I’d go back and read it, if I were you.  …  See, I told you.  Verse 1 is our Old Testament Word Verse for the month of August; hear it is again:

“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”    Psalm 36:1

Remember that, we’ll come back to it in a moment.  First, a short story:  When I was a youth in senior high MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) one of my friends showed me 1John 4:7-12, and the universe began to make a lot more sense to me.  What was this amazing insight?  Simply this:  that God is love.  This passage states it twice, in fact.  John goes to great lengths to emphasize how important it is to realize this truth; he even equates the ability to love others with being “born of God”.  That Bible passage remains one of my favorite verses and it is one of the verse that I call a “pillar verses” for our faith.

Pillar verses are those verses that support our faith in definitive ways; teaching a timeless truth.  For me, this teaching by John in his first letter, that God is love, and that all love comes from God, is life-giving.  It rings true in my soul.  I don’t think there is any other word that can better describe God than the word “love”.  It is God’s nature and it is God’s very essence.

With that in mind I turn to the psalmist’s poem of praise.  In all twenty-six verses there is an affirmation that God’s “steadfast love endures forever.”  Whatever else we may say of God, it cannot change that proclamation.  That God has a love for us that is steadfast and endures forever is always true.  And that phrase is one of the most frequent in the Bible.  It is from that basis that we begin to identify spiritual truths and form our theological understandings of God.  It is from this good foundation that health faith is built.

Shalom, Pastor Rob Nystrom