Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34
The parallel passage for today’s verse is Psalm 106:1. And it says, “Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” In this psalm the psalmist is recounting Israel’s repeated pattern of rebellion against God and his Word. It is a confession of their unfaithfulness and a prayer that God will once again restore his salvation-his relationship with them-and renew his blessings to those who turn from their sins and return to him. When God’s people-individually and as a group-confess their spiritual faults and failures to God and truly change their ways to line up with his plans, then revival and reform can take place.
The psalmist starts Psalm 106:1 with this phrase “Praise the LORD” or as some translations put it “Halleljah”. Which is compound word in Hebrew. It is the compounding of the word “halal”, which means “to praise, celebrate, glory, sing (praise) or boast” and the formal Hebrew name for God “Yahweh”. What the psalmist is doing here is starting out by giving glory and honor to God for everything that he has done and is going to do. Because the very next phrase is “Give thanks to the LORD”.
The word “thanks” in Hebrew means “to express praise, give thanks, extol, make a public confession, make an admission; to praise is to speak of the excellence of someone or something; to give thanks has a focus on the gratitude of the speaker”. The usual context for this seems to be public worship, where the worshipers affirm and renew their relationship with God. The subject is not primarily the isolated individual, but the congregation. Especially in the hymns and thanksgivings of the Psalter (the book of Psalms), it is evident that yadah (“to give thanks” in Hebrew) is a recital of, and thanksgiving for, Yahweh’s mighty acts of salvation. And why are we to be recalling and publicly retelling God’s mighty acts of salvation, because of the next phrase the psalmist writes “for he is good”.
The Hebrew word for good is “tob” which literally means good. It is used some 500 times in the Bible. Its first occurrence is in Genesis 1:4 “God saw that the light was good”. God appraises each day’s creative work as being “good”, climaxing it with a “very good” on the sixth day. And as a positive term, the word is used to express many nuances of that which is “good”, such as a “glad” heart, “pleasing” words and a “cheerful” face. And how do we know that God is “good”. Because the last phrase that the psalmist writes “his love endures forever”.
The Hebrew word that psalmist used here for love is “checed” which means: “loving-kindness; steadfast love; grace; mercy; faithfulness; goodness; devotion”. This word is used 240 times in the Old Testament, and is used frequently throughout the Psalms. The term is one of the most important in the vocabulary of Old Testament theology and ethics.
The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) nearly always renders “checed” with “eleos” (mercy), and that usage is reflected in the New Testament. Modern translations, in contrast, generally prefer renditions close to the word “grace”. The King James Version usually has “mercy”, although “loving-kindness”, “favor”, and other translations also occur. The Revised Standard Version generally prefers “steadfast love” and the New International Version often offers simply “love”.
In general, one may identify three basic meanings of the word, which always interact: “strength”, “steadfastness”, and “love”. Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness. “Love” by itself easily becomes sentimentalized or universalized part from the covenant. Yet “strength” or “steadfastness” suggests only the fulfillment of a legal or other obligation.
The word refers primarily to mutual and reciprocal rights and obligations between the parties of a relationship. But “checed” is not only a matter of obligation; it is also a matter of generosity. It is not only a matter of loyalty, but is also a matter of mercy. The weaker party seeks the protection and blessing of the patron and protector, but he may not lay absolute claim to it. The stronger party remains committed to his promise, but retains his freedom, especially with regard to the manner in which he will implement those promises. “Checed” implies personal involvement and commitment in a relationship beyond the rule of law.
We praise and thank God for everything that he has done for us and is going to continue to do for us, because he is a good and loving God. And shows us the fact that he is good by personally being involved in our lives and by being personally committed to us. And this is how he showed us his personal involvement and commitment. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)