Whispering Eternity #56

Day 56.

Psalm 117 is the Jewish Doxology, comprising 17 Hebrew words arranged in 2 parallel couplets. This psalm was sung as part of the 6 psalms that Jesus sung at the last supper. Here again ‘chesed’ (Steadfast love NRSV) is prominent along with the word faithfulness(NRSV) or truth (NKJV). This doxology of praise gives us Yahweh’s chief attributes in His dealings with humanity and the chief reason for our praise.
‘Chesed’ is love that stoops, love that departs from the strict lines of descent and retribution. ‘Chesed’ is love that is kind when justice might make it otherwise. ‘Chesed’ is love that condescends to that which is far beneath. Thus the steadfast, or unfailing love of the Old Testament covers the same ground as ‘grace’ in the New Testament. “The law was given through Moses; grace and truth come through Jesus Christ” John 1:17.
Faithfulness(RSV) or truth (KJV) blends with steadfast love (chesed) to become the attribute of God’s fidelity to every obligation under which He has come – faithfulness to the promise. This is His character. Faithfulness will last as long as God himself does!
Why would we not reverence such a God? Why would we not bow down and worship him who “made heaven and earth the sea and all that is in them” Exodus 20:11 Wait a minute – there it is! ‘Chesed in Exodus 20:6 right in the heart of the 10 Commandments!

How significant that Psalm 85:10 says “Steadfast love (chesed) and faithfulness have met together” and are inseparably blended – they have “kissed each other.” Paul said that God, “can be just and yet the justifier of them who have faith in Jesus.” Rom 3: 26(KJV). The NLT translates it as, “for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.” This kiss is a marriage of eternal consequence!
God displays ‘chesed’ in making promises and exhibits truth or faithfulness (KJV/RSV) in fulfilling them. Both meet in the covenant, at the incarnation and on the cross. Both meet in the conversion of sinners and both will be perfected when the saints reach heaven.
‘Chesed’ without faithfulness would be powerless just like truth without grace would be legalism, but together they tell us that God can justify the sinner because His justice has been satisfied by His grace. (read that again!) His justice has been satisfied by His grace!

Remember these words that Yahweh spoke to Moses from the cloud on the mount, after the first set of tables of stone had been smashed (there’s a message even in that!);
6 The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” Exodus 34:6 & 7 NRSV
How can I finish? – there is so much more. My suggestion to you, find out which word your preferred translation uses in the examples I have given for ‘chesed’ and then as you are reading the Bible your spirit will leap when you see the word and say to yourself, “that is the Hebrew word chesed”. It is a rich and amazing word! It is my favourite word in the Bible! 533

God is not so concerned about your ability as He is about your availability.

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