God’s incredible love for us is referred to in the Old Testament by the word Hesed, over 180 times! This Hebrew word is deep in meaning. It would take pages to just begin to understand the depth of this word. However, a good understanding of the word would be unfailing love. How uplifting to be reminded of how intensely and unchanging is God’s love for us.
I was recently reading in the book of Jonah. There, I found a great reminder of the relentless nature of God’s unfailing love. God commanded Jonah to preach to the city of Nineveh, warning them that if they did not repent, they would be destroyed. Jonah did NOT want God to love the Ninevites, also known as the Assyrians. They were vicious and cruel enemies of his people, the Israelites. After running from God’s command, being swallowed by a large fish and being spewed back out on the beach, Jonah finally does go.
The Ninevites respond to God’s message through Jonah and do repent. Let’s read Jonah’s honest, angry but instructive response in Jonah 4:1-2, But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the LORD and said, "O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.
You guessed it, the phrase “steadfast love” is the Hebrew word Hesed. Even though Jonah, on this occasion, wished it was NOT so…he knew it! He knew it! You can’t stop God’s unfailing love. In fact, the only way to stop His love reaching us, is to reject it!
How about you? Have you received the gift of forgiveness, offered to you through the death of God’s Son, Jesus Christ? Maybe you have received that gift, but you walk through each day, failing to bask in the Joy of knowing His love for you as His child. Let’s never