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Psalm 136

Talks for Growing Christians

The Great Hallel

Psalm 136

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Lesson Number 97

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Believers should praise the Lord for His lovingkindness in creation.
  2. Believers should praise the Lord for His lovingkindness in history.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t forget the obvious proof of the Lord’s love.
  2. Pray through your history.

Questions

  1. What is The Great Hallel?
  2. Is Psalm 136 a psalm of praise or a historical psalm?
  3. There is a common refrain repeated throughout Psalm 136, although this refrain may appear quite different in various translations. Explain this.
  4. What is the subject of Psalm 136:10-22?
  5. Why does the land of Israel belong to the Jewish people?

Answers

  1. While Psalms 120-136, all psalms of great praise, are collectively referred to as The Great Hallel, Psalm 136 itself is called The Great Hallel. Hallel is the Hebrew word for “praise.”
  2. Both! In this great praise psalm the Lord is praised for His great acts throughout history.
  3. Each of the 26 verses ends with the phrase “for His mercy endures forever,” or “His love endures forever,” or “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” The variant translations are due to the Hebrew word “hesed,” which is very difficult to translate with one English word. Hesed can best be described as God’s loyal, covenant love for His people.
  4. In these verses the psalmist prays through Israel’s history – especially the Exodus and the Conquest, and praises the Lord for every event. The psalmist sees the sovereign hand of God behind all of these events working on behalf of His people
  5. Because the land was given to Israel as an inheritance by God Himself (verses 21-22).

Discuss/Consider

  1. Discuss the Lord’s “hesed,” His loyal, covenant love for His people. Does He have this sort of love for you? How do you respond to this lovingkindness?
  2. Have you ever prayed through your history as a way to praise the Lord? We can all look back at our lives and see the Lord’s hand at work. Why not use this as a way to praise Him.

Challenge

  1. Israel was challenged to remember how the Lord has saved us, protected us, and provided for us in His loyal love. You can look to the same as obvious proof of the Lord’s love.

Key Verses

  • “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136:1
  • “Oh, give thanks to the God of heaven! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136:26

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