God’s Steadfast Love
There is a Hebrew word that is often used in the Old Testament that is very important in understanding the character of God. The word is “khesed” (or “checed”). It is translated into English in many different ways: “unfailing love,” “mercy,” “kindness,” “lovingkindness”. The English Standard Version usually translates it as “steadfast love.” What does this word mean?
Because of the many different words used to translate it, you can see that it is a challenge to capture the true meaning of the word in English. The following analogy is a helpful way to explain what the meaning is. It’s like an elderly couple that have been in a loving, committed marriage for many many decades, but in their old age the wife suffers from dementia. She doesn’t remember much of their life together anymore, even forgets that she is married, forgets who her husband is, and becomes unable to take care of herself. Yet through the entire process, her husband cares for her, loves her, tends to her needs, and is tender, gentle, and sacrificial in his love for her. The husband that remains committed to his covenant with his wife with tender and sacrificial love, even when she forgets their relationship and who he is, is showing “khesed,” – steadfast love.
This is the kind of love God has for us. He is tender and caring, sacrificial in His love toward us, even when we are short-sighted and selfish, even when we forget our commitment to Him. God shows this kind of steadfast love toward us even when we do not deserve it. So even when we are forced to wait, we can put our trust in Him. He is where we should place our hope.
Today, we are being encouraged to place and keep our hope in God, who shows us steadfast love and who will keep all of His promises. He has been faithful in the past, and He will remain faithful until the end.
13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.