Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

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.

Read Full Post »

LOVE LIMITLESS # 1 AMLove Limitless

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows and proclaims His handiwork.

The firmament or the sky declares the glory or the bigness of God, since He created all things, and there is not anything that is made that he has not created. So how big is the universe? This is just one site that tries to estimate the vastness of the universe. http://www.space.com/25303-how-many-galaxies-are-in-the-universe.html

200 Billion Galaxies in the observable universe and what lies beyond that? A galaxy such as the one we are in, called the Milky Way, is big. The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy some 100,000–120,000 light-years in diameter which contains 100–400 billion stars. It may contain at least as many planets as well. Get the picture!

The size of the universe is so vast and beyond our comprehension and this verse says the universe declares the glory or the bigness, wonder, power of God. God is big, and since the bible declares that God is love, then obviously love is limitless; infinite. As God’s love is limitless, so also is His holiness and His justice. So let’s begin at the beginning.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1) God created man in His own image, after His likeness (Gen 1:26) God the Father desired offspring, to have sons and daughters with whom He could have fellowship. As God created the first man Adam, He created him with the capacity to know and understand and communicate with Him. Adam walked with God in the cool of the garden. (Gen 3:8)

To deepen the fellowship and have true love from His offspring, He made man with free will. This was a two edged sword giving man the capacity to walk away from God or come to Him and choose to love Him for who He is. To make room for the bigness of this decision God made a way for redemption and salvation for man should He choose to walk away and then need to return. God in His infinite wisdom choose His only begotten son to give his life as a sacrifice and ransom to pay for the wrongs of the whole of mankind that would come. (Rev 13:8)

In ages past some of the angels, created beings had also chosen to walk away from obedience and had fallen, there was no way back for them since they already possessed their eternal state. This creation of man in mortal attire provides his opportunity on earth to know God, and choose to serve Him before the final judgement that sets his eternity.

And so God created man and in his choices, he chose to disobey God and he was cast out of the garden and he tilled the ground for food and his wife bore children in the pain of childbirth. (Gen 3:16-23) One son murdered another and lawlessness grew, until the time of Noah when God said: Gen 6: 5-7

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.

And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart.

So the Lord said, I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground—not only man, [but] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air—for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them.(AMP)

God is holy. Perfectly Holy, without any sin or blemish. God is righteous, and He is unable to accept wrong doing, sin, and overlook it. If righteous men, as judges, must punish lawless men found guilty; and we expect them not to let off a criminal for his misdeeds, how much more would we expect a Holy and righteous God to punish every wrong man commits? Not only is God just and righteous, He is the judge of all and He sets the standard of what is right and wrong. (Remember how big He is) It is God’s holiness that requires He be just and execute judgement on all wrong doing.

As Noah’s offspring populate the earth again, God promises to never judge the earth in the same manner again – that is, with a flood. He desires to have men choose to follow Him because He is good. Yet again and again man chooses his own way. (Is 53:6) As Moses leads the chosen nation of Israel into a promised land, God is incensed at their rebellion; In Ex 32:9 God chooses judgement;

And the Lord said to Moses, I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people;

10 Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and that I may destroy them; but I will make of you a great nation.(AMP)

And again later after the nation of Israel refused to believe the two faith filled spies who told of the Promised Land, God chooses to destroy all of Israel. Num 14:11-12.

11 And the Lord said to Moses, How long will this people provoke (spurn, despise) Me? And how long will it be before they believe Me [trusting in, relying on, clinging to Me], for all the signs which I have performed among them?

12 I will smite them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and will make of you [Moses] a nation greater and mightier than they. (AMP)

 Again and again God warns Israel; Walk in My ways and obey me and you will be my people; and again and again they rebel.

At this time let me remind you of how the human heart and mind work. How easy it is for us to measure ourselves against one another and for each and every person to come to the conclusion quite wrongly that I am a good person. That God should accept and receive me as I am. The strong deception of pride rules the hearts of men.

Prov 21 :2-4 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts.

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Haughtiness of eyes and a proud heart, even the tillage of the wicked or the lamp [of joy] to them [whatever it may be], are sin [in the eyes of God].

Again and again Israel promise to walk with God only to fall into disobedience again. God warns them continuously,

1 Kings 17:13-14. 13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah through all the prophets and all the seers, saying, Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the Law which I commanded your fathers and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.

14 Yet they would not hear, but hardened their necks as did their fathers who did not believe (trust in, rely on, and remain steadfast to) the Lord their God.

Again and again God promises to forgive and restore them if they would only return to Him with all their hearts.

Zechariah 10:6  And I will strengthen the house of Judah and I will save the house of Joseph [Ephraim]. I will bring them back and cause them to dwell securely, for I have mercy, loving-kindness, and compassion for them. They shall be as though I had not cast them off, for I am the Lord their God, and I will hear them. (AMP)

Why is it that man cannot see the holiness of God, and cannot comprehend His passion for righteousness and holiness and His unending thirst for justice? We stand before Him naked and ashamed with no defence for our many sins. We are fodder for the wrath of God and He will execute His judgment upon all who have disobeyed Him.

2 Thess 1:8-9

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (KJV)

Can you see that, as with all of God’s attributes, His Holiness is infinite? If His thirst for righteousness and justice are infinite, then where do we stand? Just as His holiness and righteousness are infinite, so is His love and mercy. So great was His desire for His offspring to be restored and set free from the power of sin, He sent forth His only begotten Son to take the entire and complete punishment for all our sins. All His wrath against sin was released against Jesus Christ. The wrath of God against sin was born by Jesus Christ as our atoning sacrifice.

Romans 5:8-10

But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.

Therefore, since we are now justified ([f]acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God.

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin’s dominion) through His [[g]resurrection] life.

How vast our God is, His ways are past finding out. How great are His judgements. He is righteous altogether. His holiness is complete to perfection and all His ways are just. When He executes judgement, who can stand before Him? Yet as vast as His justice is; and His desire for all wrongs to be punished, He is full of mercy and loving kindness to all who bow their knee and their hearts to Him. His love limitless compels Him to place our judgment upon Jesus, and to let us go free if we repent and bow our hearts to the living God.

Ps 103:11

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.(AMP)

His love is limitless. His love needed to be limitless to meet the challenge of His perfect justice and wrath against all sin. To the extent of His holiness, is the extent of His great love.

Our Key verse for the month – Ephes 3:17-19.

17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,

18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];

19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, [e]through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses [f]mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] [g]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and[h]become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR URBAN CONNECT GROUPS

1. How can we describe God’s holiness?

2. If God is perfectly just and He knows all things, then what will be His reaction to any sins or wrongful deeds?

3.  Do you think some people, perhaps even Christians, take a casual approach to sin?

4. Knowing all God’s wrath against your sin was endured by Jesus – how do you feel?

5. This justice – limitless; this holiness – limitless; this mercy – limitless; Our thankfulness – ????

Read Full Post »