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by Mary Kate Hipp
Verse ten in today's reading is a beautiful depiction of the salvation of the Lord--faithful love and truth joined together.
This phrase "faithful love" in the original Hebrew reads hesed. It translates to mean goodness, kindness, and/or faithfulness and occurs in the Old Testament 239 times. It seems in our culture we have lost the meaning of the word "love"--we say we love tacos but we also love God. Surely the love I have for tacos is different than the love I have for God! We lack words to differentiate our taco loves from our God love.
Hesed, however is much more than an emotion or feeling--it involves an action "on behalf of loved ones and comes to their rescue."* Hesed is a love that persists under all circumstances, that graciously extends forgiveness, is sacrificial and exudes kindness. There is honestly no word equivalent in the English language to express hesed's beauty and potency. Every reference to this type of love in Hebrew Scripture involves a gracious and extreme act of faithfulness of the Lord unto His people to rescue them from their despair--their sin or fallen circumstances.
The epitome of hesed and this act of extreme faithfulness is Jesus Christ and His crucifixion. So how beautiful is it that this Psalmist ascribes Salvation coming from hesed, exemplified by Christ, and Truth (John 14:6), who Jesus Christ tells He is. Jesus Christ IS the way of Salvation. He alone will be the One to return to us, will relinquish His anger, revive us, and ultimately show us His hesed. The hesed and Truth embraced on the cross and forever acted on behalf of those whom He gave the right to become children of God and rescued us from our eternal sin and fallen state.
Praise the Lord for His love so unfathomable and indescribable by our language!
*Quote taken from Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg
*Picture taken at Magdala in Galilee depicting Jesus holding my hand--exemplifying this exchange of Salvation and embrace of hesed and Truth.
Join me in praying this prayer I recently heard inspired by the Prophet Hosea on hesed:
Almighty God, You have loved us first with an everlasting love, showing us what love truly is. You have shown us great mercy, preeminently in the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lived among us, died on the Cross, rose again, and now eternally intercedes on our behalf at Your right hand. You have invited us into loving relationship with You, both in our daily lives now and unto eternity as Your bride. Because of Your hesed – Your steadfast love, mercy, and faithfulness – make us people of hesed, living in love and loving others, receiving Your mercy and showing mercy, held in Your faithfulness and living faithfully, until the day we see You face to face.
All this we pray, through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.