July 8, 2013

Hesed


My favorite passage of scripture for the last 5-6 years has been Isaiah 54. To give you a little context and background to this chapter, Israel at the time had been exiled to Babylon. Just to state the obvious here, that's never a good or pleasant thing. It just outright sucks. But, in chapter 54 God, through his prophet Isaiah, begins to speak some pretty powerful words over them (which you can read here).

There are two threads to this passage I love the most: God is compassionate, and he has made a covenant with his people. When we look at scripture though, these themes are weaved throughout it's whole. The Hebrew language has many words used in it's speaking and unfolding of covenant, but none so sweet and beautiful (to me personally that is) as that of Hesed. Translated, it's meaning is described as...
God's loving kindness--the consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, one-way love of God. ~Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears, Doctrine
[It (Hesed)] often has that flavor: it is not merely love, but loyal love; not merely kindness, but dependable kindness; not merely affection, but affection that has committed itself. ~Ralph Davis
There's great comfort to be found in covenantal language. Through it we learn so much about the character and heart of God. We learn...

That... He protects and holds us close, out of His everlasting love. It has no end, and it is not merited by anything we do or don't do, but because of how wonderful and gracious He is. Later in the next chapter of Isaiah, God beckons us to trust and act upon His goodness in this (Isaiah 55).

That... He knows us fully, and cherishes us. He redeems us from all our sin and whatever seeks to hold us captive. He rescues us from trouble as a warrior would fight and protect for whom he loves. 

That... His covenant is immovable. It's always constant, it's always solid, it's always persistent, it's always trustworthy. It cannot be broken on His end of it ever.

That... He cherishes us like a husband. He cares for us, shows us great kindness, loves us with much affection, and rejoices (to take delight and joy) over us:
...as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.  ~Isaiah 62:4-5
And That... For all the sin we've done and all the idols we've worshiped, everything that we've put above Him, He still remains steadfast and faithful in His love for us. He still seeks to woo us from all that would hinder us from the wonderful, good, holy things He has for us. He still waits for us to return to Him with our hearts, our everything.

Maybe these are truths you need to soak your soul in today. And as I dwell on these words my mind immediately thinks of the story of Hosea and Gomar. A story that shows us that we're all harlots and whores at heart when it comes to our relationship with the Lord. We cheat on Him. And still He will not break off His covenant. He just pursues, waits, and woos all the more. Spurgeon called the book of Hosea An Eternal Pledge, and I can think of no better way to end this than to share the words of grace and celebration he penned...
And I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the Lord. ~Hosea 2:19-20
Gomer descended into a very dark place. I picture her used up, worn out, disease-ridden, laden with sadness, with nothing left—except Hosea's love... [But] Betrothment unto the Lord! What an honor and joy! My soul, is Jesus indeed thine by His own condescending betrothal? Then, mark, it is forever. He will never break His engagement, much less sue out a divorce against a soul joined to Himself in marriage bonds... He promises to teach the betrothal heart all the sacred knowledge needful for its high destiny. What a promise!
~From Faith's Checkbook

2 comments :

  1. Natalie, this is beautiful! And exactly what my heart needed :) God bless you, dear!

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