Don’t you love it when you’re rushing through your daily quiet time, expecting … well, nothing (how sad is that?) – you’re just trying to get it done so you can get on with the important things on your to-do list – when a particular scripture jumps off the page of your Bible and emblazons itself on your heart in neon letters?
Such a God-smack happened to me recently. Mind if I share it with you?
It was actually nighttime and I was leafing through the Psalms before bed. Suddenly I hit what I call an eyeball wall – you know, when something arrests your attention and you have to stop and reread it ten times to soak in the full meaning.
I should mention here that my backstory had been a week full of bad things happening to good people I know and love, and me questioning Papa God about why He seemed to be ignoring my prayers for them.
They were still in trouble. They were still hurting. Are you hearing my pleas, Lord?
So He answered me right then and there through the words of the psalmist who must’ve felt the same way I did: “Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor His lovingkindness from me” (Psalm 66:20, NIV).
Lovingkindness. Wow. I just love that. What a loaded word. One that we don’t use often enough these days but it sure says it all in four syllables. It acknowledges not only heart-feelings (loving) but also action based on those feelings (kindness).
That beautiful word echoed through my head all night, so the next morning, I did a little research. I learned that the word lovingkindness here is actually the Hebrew word “hesed,” which may also be translated “mercy”, “love”, or even “grace” (the typical New Testament translation). Ancient scriptural translations like the Septuagint and the Vulgate usually translate hesed as “mercy,” but in this particular verse, the KJV prefers “lovingkindness,” the facet of love associated with loyalty.
So do I. The word is stuffed and oozing with the unconditional, dependable, faithful kind of love we all crave. The kind of love that listens to us and sticks by us no matter what. Loyal love.
Hesed is found quite often throughout the Bible, sometimes within the context of person-to-person relationships involving loyalty such as between Esther and her king (Esther 2:17), Saul and his men (2 Sam 2:5) and lovers Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 3:10). But hesed is mostly used in describing God-to-man relationships, and by that I mean God the Creator offering hesed (lovingkindness or loyal love) to His creation (us).
Even when our own loyalty blows right out the window.
For example, hesed is notably present in the Lord’s description of Himself in the Ten Commandment passage (Ex 20:5-6) and during His displeasure at the display of Israelite disloyalty in worshipping the golden calf (Ex 34: 6-7). In both passages, Yahweh pointedly states that although His weak, fickle people may not remain loyal to Him, He will ALWAYS show loyal love (hesed) to those who love Him and strive to show it by keeping His commandments.
So therein is my answer. Yahweh’s is a stubborn, loyal love. It’s lovingkindness. A deep, resonating type of love forged of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. This loyal love hears. It sees. It knows. And it will never leave us stranded.
When have you experienced hesed (Papa God’s lovingkindness) in your faith-walk, my BBFF (Blessed Blog Friend Forever)? We would love to hear your story. (Hey, sharing our stories encourages us all and stocks us with ammo for our own life trenches; that’s what this community of sisters is all about.)
*Would you be kind enough to share your fave fall blessings by photo or words with your Too Blessed to be Stressed community? We love hearing from you! In return, your name will be entered in my Blessings Fall Your Way giveaway going on right now.
This giveaway features my new book Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms + a terrific Blessed Mom tee + a lovely Too Blessed to be Stressed 2019 Planner. You can find details right here at my website, DeboraCoty.com; just click on “Freebies” and look for the giveaway.
I just LOVE giving stuff away to my peeps!