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Posts Tagged ‘mercy endures forever’

LOVE UNCONDITIONAL #3AMchesed_etymology

God’s insatiable desire to love you in spite of you can never be quenched.

If I could ask anything of God today it would be that He would reveal to you His mighty loving kindness.

Psalm 69:16

Hear and answer me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is sweet and comforting; according to Your plenteous tender mercy and steadfast love turn to me.

Today I want to reveal to you a secret in the word of God – the revelation of God’s Chesed – His loving kindness, and how it is His everlasting passion to do good to those who are in covenant with Him in spite of their faults and failings.

King David knew and understood God’s loving kindness and how it was there for him as part of God’s covenant promise to him.

Ps 18:50 – strong deliverance came to David through God’s loving kindness.  Vs50  He gives great [a]deliverance to His king, and shows loving kindness to His anointed,
To David and his [b]descendants forever.(NASB)

Ps 31:7 – When in great trouble and adversity, David rejoices in God’s loving kindness. Vs7 I will rejoice and be glad in Your loving kindness, Because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul (NASB)

Ps 51:1 – After great failure, deal with me according to your loving kindness. Vs 1 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your loving kindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.(NKJV)

King David deeply understood the loving kindness of God. 127 times loving kindness is mentioned just in Psalms alone. The phrase “Your mercy and loving kindness endures forever is mentioned 43 times.

Chesed is a Hebrew word commonly translated as “loving-kindness,” “kindness” or “love.” Chesed is central to Jewish ethics and Jewish theology. Many Jewish thinkers view chesed as the primary virtue. Chesed is valued by religious Jews of all denominations. It is considered a virtue on its own, and also for its contribution to tikkun olam (repairing the world)

Loving-kindness” is used as an English translation of chesed, originating with the Coverdale Bible of 1535. Although some consider it to be a somewhat archaic translation,[1] it remains one of the most common translations.[2] “Love” is often used as a shorter English translation. Daniel Elazar has suggested the translation of “covenant-love.”[8] “Grace[9] and “compassion[10] are also occasionally used as translations of chesed. In Greek Eleos (often understood as mercy or pity) is the word used by the Septuagint to translate “chesed” into Greek. Chesed has also been understood as linked with the Greek word agape and its Latin   equivalent, caritas (charity).

Chesed is the core ethical virtue ascribed to God.

A statement by Rabbi Simlai in the Talmud claims that “The Torah (The first 5 books of the bible) begins with chesed and ends with chesed.” This may be understood to mean that “the entire Torah is characterized by chesed, i.e. it sets forth a vision of the ideal life whose goals are behaviour characterized by mercy and compassion.” Alternatively, it may allude to the idea that the giving of the Torah itself is the quintessential act of chesed.[12] The following are actions undertaken in imitation of the qualities of Chesed:[13]

  • love God so completely that one will never forsake His service for any reason
  • provide a child with all the necessities of his sustenance
  • leading a child into covenant relationship with God
  • visiting and healing the sick
  • giving charity to the poor
  • offering hospitality to strangers
  • attending to the dead
  • bringing a bride to the chuppah marriage ceremony
  • making peace between a man and his fellow

In the Torah loving kindness is epitomised by Exodus 34:6-7  And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord! the Lord! a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth,

Keeping mercy and loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but Who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.(AMP)

 

When Miles Coverdale, translated the bible in 1535 it is one of the words he used in the Psalms to translate the Hebrew chesed into loving kindness when it refers to God’s love for his people Israel.

The theological importance of the word chesed is that it stands more than any other word for the attitude which both parties to a covenant ought to maintain towards each other. It combines the twin ideas of love and loyalty, both of which are essential. Yet it must convey the idea of the steadfastness and persistence of God’s sure love for his covenant-people. The etymological core of the word is ‘eagerness, keenness,’ God’s loving-kindness is that sure love which will not let Israel go. Not all Israel’s persistent waywardness could ever destroy it. Though Israel be faithless, yet God remains faithful still. The continual waywardness of Israel has made it inevitable that, if God is never going to let Israel go, then his relation to his people must in the main be one of loving-kindness, mercy, and goodness, all of it entirely undeserved. For this reason the predominant use of the word comes to include mercy and forgiveness as a main constituent in God’s determined faithfulness to his part of the bargain. It is obvious, time and again, from the context that if God is to maintain the covenant he must exercise mercy to an unprecedented degree. The loving-kindness of God towards Israel is therefore wholly undeserved on Israel’s part. If Israel received the proper treatment for her stubborn refusal to walk in God’s way, there would be no prospect for her of anything but destruction, since God’s demand for right action never wavers one whit. Strict, however, as the demands for righteousness are, the prophets were sure that God’s yearnings for the people of his choice are stronger still. Here is the great dilemma of the prophets, and indeed the dilemma of us all to this day. But this much is clear: when we try to estimate the depth and the persistence of God’s loving-kindness and mercy, we must first remember his passion for righteousness. His passion for righteousness is so strong that he could not be more insistent in his demand for it, but God’s persistent love for his people is more insistent still. The story of God’s people throughout the centuries is that their waywardness has been so persistent that, if even a remnant is to be preserved, God has had to show mercy more than anything else. It is important to realize that though the Hebrew chesed can be translated by loving-kindness and mercy without doing violence to the context, yet we must always beware lest we think that God is content with less than righteousness. There is no reference to any sentimental kindness, and no suggestion of mercy apart from repentance, in any case where the Hebrew original is chesed. His demand for righteousness is insistent, and it is always at the maximum intensity. The loving-kindness of God means that his mercy is greater even than that. The word stands for the wonder of his unfailing love for the people of his choice, and the solving of the problem of the relation between his righteousness and his loving-kindness passes beyond human comprehension. One may describe His loving kindness as aggressive kindness, goodness and mercy toward us.

Excerpts from – Bibliography: N.H. Snaith, Distinctive Ideas of the Old Testament, London (1944).

An example of God’s pursuit of Israel is in Hosea.

Psalm 57:10

For Your mercy and lovingkindness are great, reaching to the heavens, and Your truth and faithfulness to the clouds.

Psalm 59:16

But I will sing of Your mighty strength and power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy and lovingkindness in the morning; for You have been to me a defense (a fortress and a high tower) and a refuge in the day of my distress.

Psalm 63:3

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.

Psalm 66:20

Blessed be God, Who has not rejected my prayer nor removed His mercy and lovingkindness from being [as it always is] with me.

Psalm 69:13

But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord. At an acceptable and opportune time, O God, in the multitude of Your mercy and the abundance of Your lovingkindness hear me, and in the truth and faithfulness of Your salvation answer me.

Psalm 85:10

Mercy and lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Psalm 86:5

For You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our trespasses, sending them away, letting them go completely and forever]; and You are abundant in mercy and lovingkindness to all those who call upon You.

Psalm 86:15

But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and lovingkindness and truth.

Psalm 89:2

For I have said, Mercy and lovingkindness shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness will You establish in the very heavens [unchangeable and perpetual].

Psalm 103:4

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercy;

Psalm 103:11

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and lovingkindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.

Psalm 106:7

Our fathers in Egypt understood not nor appreciated Your miracles; they did not [earnestly] remember the multitude of Your mercies nor imprint Your lovingkindness [on their hearts], but they were rebellious and provoked the Lord at the sea, even at the Red Sea.

Psalm 106:45

And He [earnestly] remembered for their sake His covenant and relented their sentence of evil [comforting and easing Himself] according to the abundance of His mercy and lovingkindness[when they cried out to Him].

Psalm 107:8

Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and lovingkindness and His wonderful works to the children of men!

God’s loving kindness is everlasting. He is persistent in desiring your ultimate good. He longs for righteousness but as soon as we turn to Him, He abundantly pardons and then goes into overdrive with mercy, protection, provision, deliverance, peace and life. As you read the Psalms from now on; every time you read loving kindness, stop for a moment and recognise God’s intense desire to love you and show you mercy and kindness.

Never again feel lost, abandoned, alone or without hope. Remember God’s loving kindness. Remember His intense desire to bless you with kindness. As you turn your heart to Him he will abundantly provide for you.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1.  Describe in your own words what you think the Hebrew word Chesed means.

2. So often Christians think that God has abandoned them, or doesn’t care about them because trouble has come their way. Why would that be?

3. But nothing could be further from the truth. God longs to show kindness to those He is in covenant with. List all the ways God shows kindness to us.

4. What qualifies us to receive this kindness?

5. Compare Ephesians 2:4 (AMP)  with this idea of Chesed or covenant love and it’s persistence.

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