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Daily Reader for Day 297: Psalms 136 - 140

Dave Moore

Your name, O LORD, endures forever, Your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages.  For the LORD will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants.  – Psalm 135:13-14

Psalm 135 opened the subject of the LORD’s steadfastness, especially toward the children of Israel.  This will be explored more thoroughly in our first three Psalms today. 

You will notice that Psalm 136 has a unique structure, as the steadfast love of the LORD is drilled home in a call and response pattern.  This faith will be critical to the audience of Psalm 137, a lament from the exiles in Babylon who ask, “How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?”  They pray to the LORD, hoping that His love is indeed steadfast, as they long for justice toward Edom and Babylon.    

This is followed by a Psalm “Of David” that rejoices that All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD, for they have heard the words of Your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.  For though the LORD is high, He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar. 

Did you notice what happened there?  Three Psalms, which could have been written hundreds of years apart, have been compiled in such a way that they form a complete message.  In the universe and in Israel’s experience, the LORD has shown His steadfast love.  In the particular, personal life of King David, the LORD has shown His steadfast love.  To the exile then, and to all who would cry out, “How shall we sing the LORD’s song?...” there is a hope-filled answer. 

The final two Psalms are again of David.  Psalm 139 is notable as a contemplation on the all-present God from Whom there is no escape.  Rather than despair on anger, the writer settles on grateful yielding: “Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way of life everlasting!”  Its successor, Psalm 140,

Our verse for this week is James 5:16: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Psalms 136 through 140.  Now let’s read it!

Psalms 136 - 140

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James 5:16

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

(ESV)

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