January 28, 2019

A Children's Picture Book that Teaches Psalm 136: His Mercy Endureth Forever



 

As parents, one of the most important things that we can all do for our children is to share the Word of God with them on a regular basis. Not only do I want to show my son how much God loves him, but I want him to always keep His Word close to his heart. One way to really help children develop a close relationship with God is to have them practice scripture memorization. This can help encourage kids as they are reminded of how good our Father is. Also, as they grow in God's Word, their relationship with Him will also grow.

Since repetition is one of the keys to successful scripture memorization, we like to spend a substantial amount of time focusing on one verse or chapter in the Bible before moving on to the next. Sometimes, I will use the whiteboard or create special flash cards with various Bible passages on them to help us with our studies. Another wonderful way to share God's word with children is to use picture books that highlight one or several verses.

Just recently we've been focusing on Psalm 136 and have been reading His Mercy Endureth Forever, the newest children's picture book release from the Reformed Free Publishing Association. This book has been a beautiful teaching resource to help illustrate what is written in Psalm 136.










ABOUT THE BOOK:
God’s mercy endures forever. And the same mercy he displayed in the creation of the world and to his people Israel, he also reveals to his children in Jesus Christ. The words of this psalm and illustrator Kathleen DeJong’s beautiful acrylics and line drawings will inspire covenant children and their parents to thank God each day for his unending mercies.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:
The Reformed Free Publishing Association (RFPA) is an independent, non-profit organization founded in 1924 for the purpose of witnessing to the distinctive Reformed truth. Our mission is to glorify God by making accessible to the broadest possible audience material that testifies to the truth of scripture as understood and developed in the Reformed tradition.



The text included in this book uses Psalm 136 in its entirety and is cited right from the Authorized King James Version (AKJV) translation. Each turn of the page offers one to several lines from the Psalm, and is accompanied by beautiful illustrations that do a wonderful job at bringing the passages to life. As we read about all the ways in which God has shown His love for us, my son can also receive a visual. This is an especially handy feature for younger children or visual learners who rely more on pictures and imagery to help them better understand the message being conveyed in the text.

Kathleen DeJong's illustrations are what really stood out for me. Some show events that have occurred throughout Biblical history, while others simply capture the essence of what a particular passage is saying. 









I have two favorite images from this book, one is the cover illustration (above), which can also be found inside the book accompanying verse five:


TO HIM THAT BY WISDOM MADE THE HEAVENS: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.






Another stunning piece of artwork shown above, is one of a boat sailing past an ocean cave. I love the artist's use of color. This illustration is paired up with verse six:


TO HIM THAT STRETCHED OUT THE EARTH ABOVE THE WATERS: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.




Some of the passages in Psalm 136 refer to sensitive events that may be difficult for younger children to fully understand. The book does include illustrations to go along with these references, particularly verses ten and fifteen, "To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn..." and "but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea...." Having said that, they're not terribly graphic, and I find that it provides us with the opportunity to discuss what these verses actually mean and the events that had occurred in the Bible. I always recommend that parents do a quick scan of any book, beforehand, to see if it's something that they are ready to discuss with younger children, or if it's an area that they'd prefer to temporarily skip.





What I personally enjoy about Psalm 136 is that it's an ode to our Lord, giving Him all the praise and glory for his everlasting love and mercy. He had created the sun and the moon, had brought the people of Israel out of bondage, provides us with food, and alone can do great wonders! I really appreciate how this book uses appropriate imagery coupled with the verses to help engage readers with the turn of each page. Since teaching scripture memorization is a vital component in our Bible studies, His Mercy Endureth Forever has become a tremendous resource to help teach my son all about Psalm 136.














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