hesed

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but My steadfast love shall not depart from you and My covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord who has compassion on you.

– Isaiah 54:10

Steadfast love. Lovingkindness. Grace. Covenantal love.

In the Hebrew this is called hesed.

It refers to faithful love in action, specifically as expressed in God’s covenant relationship with His people. It is a persistent and unconditional tenderness, kindness, and mercy. It describes a relationship in which holy God seeks after sinful man with love and mercy.

Scripture consistently refers to this hesed love of the Lord, reminding us of His loyalty to His covenant, His love for His people, and His faithfulness to His promises. So much of the depth of the Lord’s character is found in this hesed love for His people, and the Lord has been gracious to overwhelm me lately with this truth of His character.

“let me hear in the morning of Your [hesed], for in You I trust”

“the [hesed] of the Lord never ceases, His mercies are new every morning”

 

Here’s some honesty for you. The past few months of my life have been heavy and hard, riddled with indecision and insecurity and doubt and darkness.

It seems like the enemy has tirelessly worked to bring me low and make me believe lies. And I confess, I’ve allowed him to bring me low and I’ve believed the lies.

But like firm ground underfoot that can’t be seen through the thickness of low-settled fog, with every step I have been able to rest firmly in the knowledge that He is sure and steadfast.

In the darkness the Lord has graciously shown me what it looks like to know His character – unshakably and with conviction. Something about the fog of the unknown has rooted in me so deeply the truth that God is very much real and alive and working. That this hesed love of His is true and is what’s constantly upholding me.

In a way that I can only attribute to the power and sanctifying work of the Spirit, my faith has become less blind understanding, less knowledge of seminary-ingrained truths, and more real, concrete, deeply-rooted-in-my-soul knowledge of God.

And isn’t that what Paul says in Philippians is of ultimate and surpassing worth? Knowing God.

What grace. We know Him and can know Him more. Regardless of the fog and darkness of life, we can rest in and find joy in that fact alone. Anything else is even more grace – blessings, trials, sufferings – all are grace because all can lead to even deeper love of, intimacy with, and rest in Him.

And this is one of the most beautiful parts of hesed, covenantal love – the rest that comes with it. The ability to rest in a love that is steadfast and secure, not fickle and fluctuating. We can praise the Lord because we are able to rest in the security of His promised love. In a broken and raw world we can find dependable kindness, committed affection, and devoted love in the covenantal promises of God. And the deeply-rooted knowledge of that love and that God is surpassing in worth to any worldly stability or surety.

“satisfy us in the morning with Your [hesed]”

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