One of the most unusually repetitive Psalms is Psalm 136. Every single verse, and there are 26 of them, ends with the exact same phrase: “for his steadfast love endures forever

God’s “steadfast love” is His “gesed” (that’s the Hebrew word), a very special word referring to the great combination of promise keeping faithfulness and intense, active, love. Hence it is translated with two words in the ESV, “steadfast love”.

When you read the rest of Psalm 136, you soon realise that this rather overwhelming repetition in every second half of each verse is not some emotional hype, but rather the perfect complement to each first half of the verse. If you were to read only the first part of every verse, you will find a neat, concise retelling of the Psalmist’s history. He starts with God’s greatness (vv. 1-4), Creation (vv. 5-9), the Exodus (vv. 10-16), the conquest of the Promised Land (vv. 17-22), and he ends with some more recent personal stories (vv. 23-25). The point of this history lesson is ultimately to thank God (v. 26) for everything from His Godness (v. 2), to his daily provision of food (v. 25).

When you reflect on another year gone by, make some time to prepare your recounting of it the way this Psalmist has.