Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #329 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalm 135 and 136 today and our focus A Wonderful Psalm of Thanksgiving + What is the Most Often Repeated Bible verse? We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in .  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

Let’s begin with some Bible trivia that isn’t actually trivial at all. What is the most repeated Bible verse? Unless I am much mistaken, it is, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever,” Which first appears in 1st Chronicles 16:34, and also in Psalm 106:1, Psalm 107:1, Psalm 118:1, Psalm 118:29, and Psalm 136:1. The phrase “His faithful love endures forever,” appears around 44 times in the Bible, making it one of the most often repeated phrases in the Bible. This is not trivial, because this repeated verse tells us a great, great deal about who God is, ultimately. Yes, He is holy. Yes, He is just. Yes, He is a consuming fire. Yes, He is jealous. Yes, He is kind. But the most repeated phrase description of God in the Bible is that His faithful love endures forever.

When the CSB Bible says God’s faithful love endures forever, it is translating the word “chesed,” into two words, “faithful love,” because our English is inadequate to fully express the meaning of that Hebrew word. Chesed is translated a myriad of ways, but always seems to carry with it the idea of kindness, love, mercy and benevolence. Though it is an archaic term, “lovingkindness” is proposed as the best translation, as it best encompasses all of the nuances called for by the contexts listed above, if one were to use two words, perhaps “loving mercy” would be even more appropriate. There is at least one instance, perhaps more (see Jonah 2:8), where chesed substitutes as a name for God. Psalm 144:2 declares, “He is my loving God (chesed) and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” The NIV here adds “God” to the passage, translating chesed as “loving God”.

Spiritual application of meaning of this description of God is two-fold. Primarily, when we study chesed, we see a God who is abounding in grace, love and mercy. His kindness is everlasting, and His mercy is sure.  Secondly, this truth can be used apologetically, particularly with the one who denies the truth of the Bible, because of the false assumption that the God of the Old Testament was only wrathful and different from the God of the New Testament, who is more merciful. Careful analysis of chesed shows that this isn’t true at all. Chesed therefore is a most important word to understand if one desires to understand the attributes of God and His relationship with His people. God’s lovingkindness does not spring out of obligation, nor is it only available to a select few, nor is it only open to those who are pure hearted and lovers of God. Lovingkindness is an aspect of God’s being, independent of His relationship with man, but informing every facet of that relationship.

So, how do we respond to God’s lovingkindness and His mercy? The Psalmist tells us quite clearly: WE THANK HIM! Look how Psalm 136 begins:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His faithful love endures forever.

and, how it ends:

Give thanks to the God of heaven!
His faithful love endures forever.

And that, Charlie Brown, is what Thanksgiving is all about! It’s not about the turkey, it’s not about family. It’s not about getting together and eating too much. It’s not about watching the Detroit Lions lose on tv. It’s not about that great game of two hand touch football with the relatives either before the meal, or after. Thanksgiving is about one simple thing: Giving thanks to God – because His is GOOD. and His faithful love endures forever. Sing it, pray it, write it, say it, think it – live it – Let this be your constant thought today whether your country is celebrating an official Thanksgiving holiday like mine, or it’s just a regular old workday. Today is a marvelous day to give thanks to God!

Let’s close with a Thanksgiving Meditation from pastor Tony Evans:

On tomorrow tables will be filled with all manner of food and homes will be filled with all manner of family, friends, and fellowship. People who haven’t prayed all year long are going to pray tomorrow because after all it’s Thanksgiving. Places that normally don’t have much reverence for God will find reasons for moments of silence or utterances that seem to recognize God because it’s Thanksgiving. But making Thanksgiving a holiday as though it somehow should be elevated above every day. It’s sort of like remembering Jesus’s resurrection on Easter only or giving your wife a gift only on the anniversary date. Oops, moving right along. While those days are fine and special and to be appreciated, most people I know would rather have a little regular than a lot occasionally because that means that you’re always on their mind. He says in everything give thanks. Now you’re always doing something and you’re always somewhere doing something. So, if you are giving thanks in everything that means you are giving thanks twenty-four seven. It means you’re giving thanks in perpetuity, ongoingly.

Jehoshaphat was being invaded by the enemy and the Bible says  he was in terror. But he fell to his knees and Israel with him and gave thanks. [I know a man who] was robbed at knifepoint. After he was robbed, he fell to his knees and he said, I thank you God. Number one, I thank you that I was never robbed before. This was the first time. So, I want to thank you for all the years you kept me from being robbed. Then, I want to thank you that he took my money and not my life. Then, I want to thank you that I was the rob’ee and not the robber, “in the midst of it.” He wasn’t thankful for being robbed. That would be thankful for everything. He was thankful in the midst of having been robbed. He found a reason to praise God. So, then we are to give thanks in every circumstance. And there is always a reason to give thanks, always. It’s just that we’re so used to not doing it when things aren’t going like we want to do it….

And of course, [think about] Jesus Christ, He is there with five thousand men not counting women and children and everybody hungry. And all He has got is a couple of sardines and crackers. He has got a few fish and barley loaves. Two fish, five barley loaves and they raised a very fundamental question. What are these? What is this little boy’s lunch among so many? But you got to read the text. It says, Jesus says, bring the fish and the bread to me. They brought the fish and the bread to Jesus and the Bible says He gave thanks. How you going to give thanks over two sardines and five barley loaves and you’re trying to feed five thousand men not counting women and children. Jesus understood something. You give thanks for what you have, even though you don’t have what you need and you don’t have what you want, you give thanks for what you have. So, He gave thanks for what He had and the Bible says, and when they opened up their eyes after the prayer, Moby Dick was laying on the beach. God had invaded it. But He didn’t just invade it to feed them, He invaded it to teach His disciples then and His disciples now a lesson. You give thanks for what you have so that you can see God take a little and do a lot.

Tony Evans, “‘Thankful Always,’” in Tony Evans Sermon Archive (Tony Evans, 2015), 1 Th 5:20.


Bible Memory passage for the month of November:  John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church A Baptist Church in Salinas, California.

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