Updated: Jul 28
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 NIV)
I just finished listening to Pastor Mark’s sermon on the book of Judges (catch up with the podcast). As a refresher, he mentions the negative cycle of the Israelites and the judges: the people rebel, God is angry, oppression by enemies, the people cry out (repentance), salvation through chosen judge, peace, judge dies, repeat. It’s a prime example of how history repeats itself.
I’ve also been studying Acts and the apostles this school year. In Acts 7, Stephen gives a speech to the Sanhedrin outlining this very cycle of rebellion, oppression, repentance, salvation, peace, repeat—outlining how since Moses, Israel has rebelled: “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” (Acts 7:51).
What stands out to me most is the constancy of God’s love. It’s kind-of jarring to see the words “God is angry” and allowing “oppression by enemies.” But if we accept His sovereignty, we understand that it’s a righteous anger. Likewise, we know that suffering and oppression builds perseverance and character. And God is unchanging; as that cycle repeats, and as Pastor Mark points out gets worse, time and time again God still makes space for salvation.
Finally, out of God’s unchanging love, Jesus is sacrificed once for our salvation. My devotional lays it out so beautifully: “It’s the story of a God of love invading the world in the person of his Son of love to establish his kingdom of love by a radical sacrifice of love, to forgive us in love and draw us into his family of love, and to send us out as ambassadors of the very same love” (New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp).
We are human, and so, so fallen. We do not know constancy outside of this perfect, enduring love God. Our human love is flawed. His sacrifice of love changed the cycle: rebellion, oppression, repentance, salvation, peace, Jesus dies and is resurrected, bringing about redemption and reconciliation. Period. Nothing can change this. We sing songs with refrains like Psalm 136, because they are so true—his love endures forever.