Posted by: austend | Monday, June 23, 2008

O Give Thanks unto the Lord

A final thought from David Baron gleaned from Israel in the Plan of God {here} about Israel’s future glorious restoration:

“Hodu la-[Adonai] ki tov, ki l’o’lam chas’do”–“O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good; for His mercy” (His “loving-kindness”) “endures forever.” (Ps. 106.1)

This short refrain, consisting of only seven words, and composed probably in the first instance by the sweet Psalmist of Israel himself [David], formed part of the daily service of praise which accompanied the divinely appointed ritual in the Temple, and in the 16th chapter of the First Book of Chronicles we read of certain Levites, whose chief duty it was to lead the people in the singing of it, and to see to its proper accompaniment by instrumental music.

Ancient Israel never tired of it.  Some of the Psalms have this short refrain as the chief burden of their song–as, for instance, the grand old One Hundredth [Ps. 100]….One Psalm–the 136th–the climax of the Great Hallel–has the refrain not only at the beginning and the end, but the second line…is repeated no fewer than twenty-six times.

During the seventy years’ captivity in Babylon all music ceased in Israel, for how could they sing Jehovah’s song ‘in a strange land’?  But no sooner did a remnant return, and the rebuilding of the House of God commence, than they took up the old refrain again, ‘And they sang one to another in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord, saying, “For He is good, for His lovingkindnedss endures forever toward Israel”‘ (Ezra 3.11).

Now again, during a much longer ‘captivity,’ and universal dispersion, the voice of true praise is silent in Israel.  But not for ever,  for ‘Thus says the Lord, “Yet again there shall be heard in this place whereof you say it is waste,…even in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate,…the voice of joy and the voice of gladness,…the voice of them that say, ‘Give thanks to Jehovah of Hosts, for Jehovah is good, for His loving-kindness endures for ever'”‘ (Jer. 33.10-11).

So this refrain, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His loving-kindness endures forever,” is something of a national anthem of Israel.  It was sung during their days of Jehovah-worship and faithfulness under David.  It became silent in their years of Babylonian captivity.  It was sung again when they returned to Israel from captivity under Ezra.  And now it has become silent again as modern Israel is dispersed and secularized, having forgotten their God.  But someday it will be sounded forth anew when God opens their hearts and eyes, and they are gloriously saved from their darkness by their Messiah!  And it will forevermore be their anthem as it so accurately sums up God’s dealings with them.


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