“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace removed,” says the Lord who has compassion on you” (Isa. 54:10).
Unfailing love. God’s unfailing love. How do we define it?
Unfortunately, we read God’s Truth through the lens of our experience. Our knowledge of love. Our language. And what we expect and what we read is often distorted because of our reality of love.
If we can’t trust our reality, what does “unfailing love” look like through God’s lens?
The first place we should look is in the original language. What is the Hebrew word from the original text that has been translated into English as “unfailing love”?
The Hebrew word is Hesed.
Hesed involves two parties. It is reserved for close friends and family members, but it could be demonstrated in any kind of relationship. According to my Key-Word study Bible commentary, “An act of hesed presupposes the existence of a relationship between the parties involved, but where no formal relationship has previously been recognized, the person exercising hesed has chosen to treat the recipient as if such a relationship does exist. Hesed is usually expected to be reciprocated. But God’s hesed is not bound by the covenant itself, and though men prove unfaithful to this relationship, His hesed is everlasting.”
Hesed is not an emotion. It is an action. It is a favor. It is grace with a tangible gift.
Maybe a picture will help.
There was an old prophet named Simeon who had waited all his long life to hold the manifistation of God’s hesed. Simeon knew that one day he would hold the Savior of the world.
The other day I saw a painting that captures the moment of Simeon holding baby Jesus as I’ve never seen it painted before. The artist’s vision painted on canvas sent chills down my arms and tears streaming down my face.
Simeon knew and understood God’s hesed. But the reality of His unfailing love brought unspeakable joy and pain and knowledge to the prophet.
This is hesed.
|Simeon’s Moment, by Ron diCianni