I was reading this morning and came across something I just had to share. The book is “Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus” by Lois Tverberg. Here is the excerpt:
Hesed: Long-Acting Love
Hebrew has a word for lifelong love that is richer and deeper than English has ever conceived of: hesed (HEH-sed). . . Based in a covenantal relationship, hesed is a steadfast, rock-solid faithfulness that endures to eternity: “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love (hesed) for you will not be shaken” (Isaiah 54:10).
Hesed is a love so enduring that it persists beyond any sin or betrayal to mend brokenness and graciously extend forgiveness: “No one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love (hesed)” (Lam 3:31-32)
Hesed is to love as God loves. When God’s presence passed by Moses on Mount Sinai and revealed his very essence, God proclaimed his great hesed (Ex 34:6). Biblical scholar John Oswalt describes it this way:The word hesed . . . (is) the descriptor par excellence of God in the Old Testament. The word speaks of a completely undeserved kindness and generosity done by a person who is in a position of power. This was the Israelites’ experience of God. He revealed himself to them when they were not looking for him, and he kept his covenant with them long after their persistent breaking of it had destroyed any reason for his continued keeping of it . . . Unlike humans, this deity was not fickle, undependable, self-serving, and grasping. Instead he was faithful, true, upright, and generous — always. (John Oswalt, The Bible among the Myths (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 71.))
Like other Hebrew words, hesed is not just a feeling but an action. It intervenes on behalf of loved ones and comes to their rescue. After Abraham’s servant miraculously found a wife for Isaac by bumping into her at a well, he praised God ‘who has not abandoned his kindness (hesed) and faithfulness to my master” (Gen 24:27). Because hesed is often active, it is translated as ‘mercy” or “loving-kindness,” but neither of these words fully conveys that hesed acts out of unswerving loyalty even to the most undeserving.
(I added the color to that Lamentations quote.)
There’s more, and it’s very good, but out of fairness to the author I’ll stop here. This is in chapter 3. Alas, I can’t tell you the page number; it’s on my Kindle.
So what do YOU think? IS God’s love different from human love? In my opinion, ABSOLUTELY YES! God’s love is so much more patient, forebearing, kind, merciful, self-sacrificing, unending, never-giving-up that we can’t even begin to fathom it. When we say He is good, can any of us fully understand how very, very good He truly is?