This is a unique psalm. It is distinguished from all the others by the fact that each verse ends with “for his mercy endureth for ever”. Each of the first three verses begins with “O give thanks”, followed respectively by “unto the Lord”, v. 1, “unto the God of gods”, v. 2, and “unto the Lord of lords”, v. 3. The “great wonders”, v. 4, are then identified in chronological order, namely, the creation, vv. 5-9; the deliverance of the Hebrew slaves from their Egyptian bondage, vv. 10-12; the crossing of the Red Sea, vv. 13-15; and the journey to the borders of the promised land, vv. 16-25. Verse 26 closes with a final appeal, “O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever”.
The psalm was “almost certainly intended for liturgical use in the second temple. (It) is based on Psalm 135 and is antiphonal, the first part of the verse being recited by the precentor and the second part—the refrain—the response by the people” (A. G. Clarke). The recurring refrain emphasizes that all the activities which the psalmist celebrates were motivated by the mercy (the “steadfast love”) of God. Creation itself is seen here as a product of that mercy. “The psalm looks at the story of Creation from an original point of view … that its motive lay in the eternal lovingkindness of Jehovah … That is the deepest truth concerning all things visible. They are the witnesses, as they are the result, of lovingkindness which endures for ever” (Maclaren).
We should remember this when pondering the beauties of creation, when the rain falls as well as when the sun shines. Consider the Saviour’s words, “for he (your Father) maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”, Matt. 5. 45. Observe God’s perfect impartiality there, for the Lord gives priority to “the evil” in the first statement, and to “the just” in the second. This supplements verse 44 R.V., “Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you”. We are required to surround our enemies with love, and to pray down the showers of divine blessing into their parched and thirsty lives.
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”, Matt. 5. 48.