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Something in Everything

When you know what to look for, you see it everywhere.

An exaggeration to make a point?

Yes or no, the idea implies its opposite.

The author of the 136th Psalm seems captured by the thought.

26 times in 26 verses he says things like— To him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever (Psa 26:16).

Some Bible translations read,  “His mercy endures forever”.

As many of us have learned over the years, the Hebrew word expresses thoughts of a many-sidedness of layered mercy, goodness, kindness, and faithfulness.

As we think about this song, though, we might bump into a problem that shows up in the middle.

The lyrics of the first nine verses express thoughts that could be true for anyone. But at verse 10, the song evolves into a self-centered nationalistic celebration— seen through the eyes of Jewish history. Only at verse 25, does the author return to everyone and everywhere when he says, “He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever.”(Psa 26:25)

So what are we to make of such repetition? Does it really illustrate the idea that when you know what to look for— you see it everywhere? Is there something for everyone here—or not?

Seems to me that the love, kindness, mercy, goodness and faithfulness that is clear in the beginning of the song—and in the first few pages of Genesis— becomes inexpressibly hard to see… until we get to the part of the story where the God who loves the whole world so much that his Son dies on the Eve of a Jewish Passover…

One for all and everything.

When we know what to look for… we see it everywhere.

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186 Responses to “Something in Everything”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    More years ago than I want to try and remember now, a writer and teacher at Fairmont State Teachers College had his opinion published in the college newspaper. He suggested we are all, God. Each one of us are our own “god”.

    A friend who had children attending at the time approached me to write an article in rebuttal and I did.

    When I read Psalms 136:1-26 I read it from the point of an author writing to an Israeli audience. While proclaiming God’s mercy also reminding them of His omnipotent power in having His will accomplished.

    In as far as a Israeli view of National pride, I am also reminded not to let my own pride get in the way of God’s work and will in all the earth.

    Also reminding me that Christianity is something of a sect of Judaism. As in the conclusion that when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior we also adopt all of the Scripture language that produced and brought Christ into our lives.

    I wholeheartedly also accept the fact that accepting life as we are forced to live it sometimes makes us wonder where that mercy is.

    But as Mart has expressed so well “when we know what to look for we see it everywhere.” I have also said for quite a while that “whatever it is we look for is what we find”.

    I find a God who is in control of all events and chooses according to His will and desires. And I have learned that we are not God.

    29 degrees and expecting snow soon.


  • poohpity says:

    I do not see the middle as a “self-centered nationalistic celebration” of the Jewish history but as a character description of God by remembering the historical experiences of the Jews interacting with God and yes those could be applied even today maybe not the same circumstances but with the same God who never changes. The same someone in everything, the one who shows “many-sidedness of layered mercy, goodness, kindness, and faithfulness”.

    But you are right we now see it through the lenses of the Cross so we see it looking backward or in hindsight of what the author of Psalm 136 was saying in his time. The same God just different circumstances so “When you know what to look for, you see it everywhere.”. In my life I see the “many-sidedness of layered mercy, goodness, kindness, and faithfulness” maybe not the experiences of the Jewish Nation but in the experiences of my everyday life. I have learned what look for when my eyes were opened.