GIVE THANKS TO יהוה! - Psalm 136

18th of the 5th month 2016/2017

Shabbat shalom all,

Tehillah/Psalm 107:1 “Give thanks to יהוה! For He is good, for His loving-commitment is everlasting.

This phrase is certainly a well-known phrase and is a phrase that is used 6 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, and it is this phrase that I would like us to look at and consider the clear call being given to give thanks to יהוה. So, in a message tonight called, “GIVE THANKS TO יהוה!” let us all hear this call and make sure we are doing just that!

We will certainly break down this phrase and look at some key words and phrases being used within this well-known sentence, and to do this I would you to turn with me to Tehillah/Psalm 136 (read). Once again we see the opening of this Tehillah giving us the same call in verse 1, and in the Hebrew text it is written as follows:

 Tehillah 136verse1

 

You will notice that I have inserted the Paleo and ancient pictographic scripts for those who are interested to see how it looks and match up lettering! Transliterated into English it would read as follows:

 

hôḏu laYAHWEH ki-toḇ ki lᵉ‘ôlam ḥăsdo

 

As already mentioned this phrase is used 6 times in Scripture and the other 4 verses we can see this phrase being used is in:

Tehillah/Psalm 106:1; Tehillah/Psalm 118:1; Tehillah/Psalm 118:29; Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 16:34.

We will look at these verses along with some others shortly, which will give us insight into understanding the need to hear the call to give thanks to יהוה with the obvious reasons why we should!

This Tehillah/Psalm 136 is a psalm of praise unto יהוה for His power as Creator of all; and praise for Him being the Saviour and protector of His people. The second line of each verse may have been sung by the entire assembly or choir in a response to the first line of each verse, possibly sung by a priest, Lĕwite or a choir leader. As mentioned, this Tehillah opens up with a call to give thanks to יהוה (YAHWEH) in the first 3 verses, making a clear statement of who יהוה is, as He is the Elohim of mighty ones, as the call is given to give thanks to the Eloah of Elohim or Elohim of mighty ones:

tehillah 136 verse 2

Transliterated into English lettering it reads as follows:

hôḏu lēlohey haelohiym

 

We are to give to give thanks to the Master of masters:

Tehillah 136 verse 3

Transliterated into English lettering it reads as follows:

hôḏu la’aḏonay ha’aḏoniym

 

Why all the Hebrew texts and scripts? Simply to show you in the Hebrew the clear call to give thanks to the Only One True Master and Elohim, יהוה our Saviour!!!  

The phrase, “Give thanks to יהוה” –in Hebrew, as already seen, is – הוֹדוּ לַיהוהhôḏu laYAHWEH and is a phrase that is used 11 times in Scripture and I would like us to look at each of these verses as it gives us a fuller understanding of the call that is being given and the clear necessity of why we are to respond correctly to this call that should cause us to give thanks to יהוה. Before we look at each I want to highlight this word הוֹדוּ – ‘hôḏu’ which is translated as ‘give thanks’. This word comes from the root word יָדָה yaḏahStrong’s H3034 which literally means ‘to throw, shoot or cast, to confess, laud with praise, extol, i.e., make a public confession of the attributes and acts of power of a person’ and comes from the word יָד yaḏStrong’s H3027 which means ‘hand’ and so the expression of giving thanks is understood in the Hebrew as ‘extending the hands in praise’.

That is why Sha’ul tells us in Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 2:8 that men everywhere should lift up their hands that are set-apart in prayer – our expression of giving thanks with the extended hands that are set-apart is in our willing obedience to working unto Elohim (extending the hand) in all we do – and at the same time giving Him esteem and praise. Giving thanks is not a silent matter and it must be seen in our work ethic too, as our actions may often speak louder than words!

With the Torah of Elohim written on the tablets of our heart – our giving thanks to Him with all our heart is a bold declaration of our loving-commitment to walking in total obedience and guarding to do all He has commanded us!

Here this word is written in the ‘hiphil imperitive’ verb tense. What does that mean? Without going in to the technicalities of Hebrew grammar I simply want to highlight that the main use of the imperative is in direct commands and the hiphil tense usually expresses the causative action, which highlights for us what is being commanded here! The command or instruction is clear – give thanks to יהוה! It is not a suggestion but a clear instruction and in essence it can be understood as being called to be caused to give thanks to יהוה! When hearing this clear command some may respond with a negative answer such as, “Why should I give thanks to יהוה?” While many may feel this way, especially when they are being hard pressed and persecuted, we realise that we are to give thanks to יהוה because we are instructed to. What the psalmist does here in this very interactive song is express the clear answer to those who might say, ‘why should I?

In this song of praise and thanks, יהוה is praised for who He is; He is praised for having created the universe and its perfect order (verses 4-9); He is praised for delivering Yisra’ĕl, His chosen people, from Mitsrayim (verses 10-15); He is praised for leading Yisra’ĕl safely into the Promised Land (verses 16-22). Then in verses 22-25 יהוה is remembered and praised for His continuing care, protection and provision, with the Psalm ending with a clear call to praise יהוה the El of the heavens!

As one goes through this Tehillah and recites these verses we are able to clearly identify with our Master and Elohim, who has called us out of darkness and we are caused to remember what He has done for us, which should naturally cause us to give Him thanks and praise His mighty Name!

This word הוֹדוּ – ‘hôḏu’ could also be understood as ‘acknowledge, which I think helps us recognise the need for us to truly acknowledge our Master and Elohim, for who He is and what He has done and what He continues to do for us, so that we do not find ourselves not being able to give Him the praise and thanksgiving that is continually due to His Name!

The first verse of this powerful song of praise tells us very clear why we are to be caused to acknowledge and give thanks to יהוה – and that is because He is good! There is only One who is good!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 19:16-17 “And see, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good shall I do to have everlasting life?” 17 And He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except One – Elohim. But if you wish to enter into life, guard the commands.

The man who came to Messiah was the young man who had many possessions and wanted to have everlasting life and claimed to have kept all the commands from his youth and asked what else he had to do. Messiah tested his heart and told him to go and sell all his possessions and give it to the poor and then follow the one this rich man called ‘Good Teacher’.

Messiah asked this rich young man why he called Him good and then tested the young man to see if he would obey the command given to go and sell all his possessions, which he refused to do and went away grieved by the Word of the Master. After teaching His taught ones in Luqas/Luke 6 Messiah asks the question of why would we call Him Master, Master and not do what He says (verse 46). Many may want to call Messiah their Master and Elohim, or even desire to praise Him for He is good, yet they do not do what He commands!

In this call to give thanks to יהוה because He is good, must teach us that we must acknowledge this fact, not just by lip service but by obeying His commands, for how can we call Him good yet not obey Him! We can boldly give Him thanks and praise as we acknowledge who He is and submit to His clear commands as we guard to do all that He commands us to, rendering our praise in a proper manner of righteousness! How are you giving thanks? Is it because you acknowledge that He is good and therefore obey with all your heart, or do you find yourself saddened by His word and grieved at His instructions that may often call for you to get rid of or let go of those things that you think you are unable to let go of?

We can praise Him for He is good and perfect! The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘good’ is טוֹב to – Strong’s H2896 and carries the meaning, pleasant, good, agreeable, beautiful, to be pleasing, done well. In the true understanding of this word טוֹב to we can see that it may best be translated in most cases as ‘functional’, for when יהוה said in Berěshith/Genesis 1:31 that when He saw all that He had made, that He said it was very good. What He saw was His creation functioning properly and working the way it should and this is why it was ‘good’.

יהוה is good because He is perfect and everything that exists and functions is because He is… good… He is the greatest … the Mightiest... the Highest and there is nothing that compares to Him! He is therefore the Good Teacher whom we are to listen to, obey and follow in order that we can be properly functional as a Bride that is making herself ready!

Tehillah/Psalm 147:1 tells us that it is good to sing praises to our Elohim and that praise in pleasant and fitting! How are you giving thanks to the One who is good? Does your life reflect a song of praise in both the words you sing as well as the way you walk in set-apartness, always being equipped to give thanks to יהוה in all circumstances?

Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in all circumstances give thanks, for this is the desire of Elohim in Messiah יהושע for you.

The Greek word that is used here for ‘give thanks’ is εὐχαριστέω  eucharisteō – Strong’s G2168  which means, give thanks, be thankful and comes from the word εὐχάριστος  eucharistos – Strong’s G2170 meaning, thankful which is made up of two words:

 1 - εὖ eu – Strong’s G2095 which is an adverb meaning, good, well done and 2 – χαρίζομαι charizomai – Strong’s G5483 meaning, forgive, deliver, to show favour, give freely from the primitive root word χάρις charis – Strong’s G5485 meaning, grace, favour, kindness.

There is another word in the Greek that is also translated as ‘give thanks’, and is the word that is used in the LXX (Septuagint) in Tehillah/Psalm 136, which is the word ἐξομολογέω exomologeō – Strong’s G1843 which means, to agree, confess, give praise, give thanks and comes from two words: 1 - ἐκ ek – Strong’s G1537 which means, from, from out of and is used as a preposition denoting the origin or point from where the action proceeds; and 2 - ὁμολογέω homologeō - Strong’s G3670 and means ‘to acknowledge, admit, to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of’ and also means ‘to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with’.  

 

Why I am sharing all these words here is simply for the fact that we can clearly see that our giving thanks to Elohim is a surrendered response of obedience to His perfect will for our lives, as we acknowledge and accept that which He has freely given us in Messiah – and by giving thanks we commit to walking in His ways and forsake all sin! How are you giving thanks?

Let us take a closer look at the other 9 passages where we see the term הוֹדוּ לַיהוהhôḏu laYAHWEH – ‘give thanks to יהוה:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 12:4 “And in that day you shall say, “Praise יהוה, call upon His Name; make known His deeds among the peoples, make mention that His Name is exalted.

Tehillah/Psalm 33:2 “Praise יהוה with the lyre; sing to Him with an instrument of ten strings.

Tehillah/Psalm 105:1 “Give thanks to יהוה! Call upon His Name, make known His deeds among the peoples.

Tehillah/Psalm 106:1 “Praise Yah! Oh, give thanks to יהוה, for He is good! For His loving-commitment  is everlasting.

Tehillah/Psalm 118:1 “Oh, give thanks to יהוה, for He is good! Because His loving-commitment  is everlasting.

Tehillah/Psalm 118:29 “Give thanks to יהוה, for He is good! For His loving-commitment is everlasting.

Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 16:8Give thanks to יהוה, call upon His Name, make known His deeds among the peoples!

Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 16:34Give thanks to יהוה, for He is good, for His loving-commitment is everlasting!”

Diḇre haYamim Bět/2 Chronicles 20:21And after consulting with the people, he appointed those who should sing to יהוה, and who should praise the splendour of set-apartness, as they went out before the army and were saying, “Give thanks to יהוה, for His loving-commitment is everlasting. 

Tehillah/Psalm 12 is powerful song of thanksgiving for deliverance and teaches us the clear reason why we are to give thanks to יהוה and our responsibility of making His deeds known and making His Name great! Tehillah/Psalm 33 teaches us that we are to also give Him thanks with stringed instruments! In Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 16 the call to give thanks is given after the Ark of Elohim had returned and been set up in the tent that Dawiḏ had made. Dawiḏ appointed Lěwites to give praise and order was restored as Dawiḏ was the first to give thanks and acknowledge the loving –commitment of יהוה and then called for all to acknowledge and give thanks to יהוה.

In Diḇre haYamim Bět/2 Chronicles 20 we are given the account of when Mo’aḇ and Ammon had come up against Yehoshaphat. Yehoshaphat cried out to יהוה in prayer and then called all the people to trust in יהוה and be steadfast and to trust in His prophets and prosper. He then appointed those who should sing and declare thanks to יהוה. They went out in the proper instructed order and when they began singing and praising יהוה, יהוה set ambushes against Mo’aḇ and Ammon and they were smitten and when Yehuḏah came to the lookout in the wilderness all they saw was dead bodies and they took a great spoil and plundered the enemy for 3 days and returned with much joy and singing for יהוה had made them rejoice over their enemies. Many may often find it easy to praise יהוה after the victories have been won yet here we learn the vital lesson of going out with praise and the need to give thanks to יהוה before the battle is even faced!

How are you giving thanks to יהוה?

We are called to praise and give thanks to יהוה for He is good and His loving-commitment is everlasting!

The Hebrew word translated as ‘is everlasting’ is לְעוֹלָםlᵉ‘ôlam which comes from the root word עוֹלָם ôlam – Strong’s H5769 which means, long duration, antiquity, continual, all successive, everlasting, forever, permanent, unending, perpetual, and clearly represents for us that which pertains to an unlimited duration of time, with a focus of no anticipated end!

The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘His loving-commitment’ is חַסְדּוֹḥasdo, which comes from the root word חֶסֶד ḥeseḏStrong’s H2617 and means, goodness, kindness, deeds of devotion, faithfulness, and loving-commitment.

While we broke covenant, we know that יהוה does not and He remains lovingly committed to the Covenants of Promise and this is a great reason that we are able to give thanks to יהוה. For more on the Hebrew word חֶסֶד ḥeseḏStrong’s H2617 I encourage you to go through the notes of a message I gave called,

I SING OF THE ḤESEḎ OF יהוה FOREVER!which you can find under the sermons 2014/2015 menu on our site (http://atfotc.com) or by clicking on the following link:

http://atfotc.com/index.php/our-sermons/sermons-2014-2015/569-i-sing-of-the-esed-of-forever-a-true-life-of-praise

In that message I explore the relationship between loving-commitment and favour (grace), along with truth and take a look at the ancient pictographic rendering of חֶסֶד ḥeseḏ along with a couple of other words.

For the purposes of the message tonight my call is an echo of what we are given in Scripture – and that is to give thanks to

יהוה for He is good and His loving-commitment is everlasting!

As we consider the power of giving true and proper thanks to יהוה, both in jubilant song and praise as well as in word and deed, we ought to be caused to give thanks in a powerful response of loving obedience as a faithful ambassador that has been delivered from that which defiles, causing us to pursue set-apartness with much joy and thanksgiving, no matter the circumstances we may find ourselves in! Let us be bold like Yehoshaphat and his priests and army were, by going out and being the set-apart royal priesthood that earnestly gives thanks to יהוה, even in the face of some very frightening battles and circumstances that may try to steal away the true joy of our Master and the proper thanks that we are called and instructed to give unto our Mighty Master and Elohim!

Ěḵah/Lamentations 3:21-25 “This I recall to my mind, therefore I wait: 22 the loving-commitments of יהוה! For we have not been consumed, for His compassions have not ended. 23 They are new every morning, great is Your trustworthiness. 24יהוה is my Portion,” says my being, “Therefore I wait for Him!” 25 יהוה is good to those waiting for Him, to the being who seeks Him.

Can you, like Yirmeyahu, recall to mind the ḥeseḏ of יהוה, and in turn be ready to give praise and thanks unto to Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light?

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a people for a possession, that you should proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light, 10 who once were not a people, but now the people of Elohim; who had not obtained compassion, but now obtained compassion.

הוֹדוּ לַיהוה כִּי־טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ

 

hôḏu laYAHWEH ki-toḇ ki lᵉ‘ôlam ḥăsdo

Give thanks to יהוה, for He is good! For His loving-commitment is everlasting.

This is a clear call and instruction given to all of us, His set-apart Bride! Let us read again this Tehillah/Psalm 136 together, and after I read the first line all of you proclaim the second, which is – ‘For His loving-commitment is everlasting’… (Read)

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!