TODAY’S READING: 2 CHRONICLES 5-7
Solomon finished building the temple and gathered all Israel for a feast. It was the seventh month. Therefore, it was the feast of tabernacles, which included the day of atonement. The priests brought the ark of the covenant into the temple. And, when they came out of the Holy Place, a song was raised in praise to the Lord, which said, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 5:13)
This song was sung by all the priests. I believe this is referring to the 288,000, the number of the people of Israel. The song was sung by Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and the 288 who were skillfully trained in singing to the Lord. And, the song was accompanied by the 120 priests who were trumpeters.
When the song was sung “the house, the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)
The glory of the Lord, God’s presence, became so thick, so powerful, that it overwhelmed everyone.
Because those singing the song to the Lord made “themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 5:13)
What were they singing in unison? What was their unity centered upon?
“For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
God’s goodness and love that endures forever.
Their unity was on nothing more than that.
God is good. His love endures forever. Period.
God is good and only good.
His steadfast love endures forever.
In Psalm 136, the phrase “his steadfast love endures forever” occurs 26 times, one time in each verse.
While the number 26 does not appear anywhere in the Bible, it symbolizes the gospel of Jesus Christ. How do we know this?
Psalm 136 is one way.
In Genesis 10:22-31, Shem has 26 descendants. It was the descendants of Shem that were responsible for carrying and preserving the message of the gospel through the generations from Noah to Jesus.
The 26th time Noah’s name appears in the Bible is found in Genesis 8:13, which says, “In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry.”
The key point the 26th time that Noah’s name is used is the covering of the ark was removed. The life inside the ark was revealed. When Jesus was crucified, the veil in the temple, the covering over the ark, was torn providing access for all to God’s life. The love of Jesus on the cross and the goodness of God, his forgiveness, from the cross made that way to God’s presence possible.
The 26th time Abram’s name appears in the Bible is found in Genesis 13:14, which says, “The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward.”
The name Lot means veil or covering. The 26th time that Abram’s name was mentioned the veil, or covering, that was with Abram was separated from him.
2 Corinthians 3:12-18 says, “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But, their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord [hears the gospel], the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
God’s goodness is his glory. When the veil is removed by the gospel, we are transformed from one degree of God’s goodness to another.
The 26th time Isaac’s name appears in the Bible is found in Genesis 25:11, which says, “After the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac his son. And Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi.”
Beer-lahai-roi means something like “the underground well of water of the one who sees me and makes me live.” This is the living water, the gospel, the good news, that Jesus gives through the Spirit to the woman at the well in John 4 and to all those that come to him thirsty.
The 26th time the name Joshua is used is in Deuteronomy 31:23, which says, “And the Lord commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.'” The promised land that Joshua was leading Israel into was a picture of the eternal life that we can have right now through the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is good news.
The 26th time the name Peter is used is in Mark 8:29, which says, “And he asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Christ.'” In Matthew 16:17, Jesus said that Peter was blessed because this was revealed to him not by flesh and blood but by the Father. The gospel was being revealed to Peter.
Also, all Hebrew letters have number values. If you sum the numbers of the letters that spell YHVH in Hebrew the total is 26. In the gospel of John, Jesus repeatedly said he was the “I Am.”
Going back to Psalm 136, I believe if we let the Holy Spirit show us then we would see the number of each verse (I know there weren’t verses in the original Bible, so we could say the number of each statement) aligns an aspect of the gospel, the good news of Jesus, with the meaning of that number.
For me, this is what the inspiration of scripture is about. There is no way any man or men could have planned out the uses of these names, Psalm 136, and how the number 26 relates to the gospel of Jesus being revealed.