In recent years, I have noticed in many evangelical churches a decline and in some cases the total absence of worship elements that focus our minds on God, and at the same time a loss of the importance of the gospel. 

As we concluded yesterday's study, we noted that what we find in Genesis is God's declaration that everything he made is “good” (vv. 3, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). So not only is God good (Ps. 136:1), everything he makes is good also. This has certain consequences for how we are to regard nature. 

The first verse of Psalm 136 sets the tone for everything that follows, for it gives an overall answer to the question, Why should we thank God? The answer is that we praise him because he is good. We thank him for his many good acts toward us and to all persons. 

In Jewish tradition the psalm we are to study now, Psalm 136, has been called the Great Hallel (or "Great Psalm of Praise”). It does not use the words hallelu jah, but it is called the Great Hallel for the way it rehearses God's goodness in regard to his people and encourages them to praise him for his merciful and steadfast love. 

Are not other gods also to be worshiped? How could they be if God alone is the good, great, gracious, persevering and unchangeable God? Verses 15-18 make this point, contrasting the true God with the impotent gods of the heathen. These verses are repeated from Psalm 115:4-6, 8.