Resolution vs A Loving Revelation (A 2016 Read)
As the calendar takes on a new year, we flip through the photos, whether it be of puppies, golf images or as mine hangs proudly, beautiful images of South Carolina sent to us by my step-dad. The empty squares indicating days yet to be lived, those 12 pages can either propel us or paralyze us.
The change of the new year has traditionally become a ‘re-setting’ if you will of our life compass. We evaluate the past and plan for the future. For some of us, this means sitting down writing out our Resolutions. Money to be made, exercise routines, diet plans, buy that new house, get that promotion, clean out those closests, get organized. Don’t get me wrong, these are all a good plan of attack for the new year. A New Year’s Resolution can be defined as ‘a firm decision to do or not do something, a course of action designed with intent to keep a vow.’ Statistics claim, one in three Americans make a New Years resolution of some sort, yet only about 75% of these folks stick to their goal … for at least … a week. Head hung, shoulders slumped. Sigh.
At the launch of the new year many in the church have a new (or renewed) goal of reading the Bible through from front to back, (minus the Concordance of course, and YES, there are good things to be found in Leviticus)! A great plan! I feel compelled to challenge us in our reading this year. It can be stated in one word, ‘Hesed’. The term is one of the most important in the vocabulary of the Bible, intrenched deep in theology. Used some 250 times in the Old Testament, yet carries through embodied in Jesus Christ.
I have been studying this word for the past few years, I am amazed and humbled in the process. Hesed, ‘hay-said’ (Hebrew) Lovingkindness and most commonly translated as ‘mercy’. Other words to describe hesed: Steadfast love, grace, faithfulness, strength, justice, goodness and devotion. When unpacking all this, each word is tagged with ‘Our God.’ One commentary says, “It is difficult, if not impossible, to precisely convey the full meaning of the term with just one English word or phrase.” Our God.
God says of Himself: “And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love (‘hesed’) – and faithfulness.” Ex. 34:6
An interesting point, Biblical usage speaks of hesed as “doing, showing, or keeping.” Yet, even with all this action, it is listed as a noun, I might add, a PROPER noun, this aspect of God features His CHARACTER. He is a doing, showing and keeping God!
Three elements interact within hesed – strength – steadfastness – love. It not only is a matter of loyalty but also of mercy, not only of obligation but one of generosity. It operates within the context of covenant and relationship. (read that again) Our God interacts with us with hesed as His motive, relationship the context, and covenant His promise. Hesed implies personal involvement and commitment in a relationship beyond the rule of law. One scholar likened it to marriage, a GOOD marriage, ‘I am bound to you by law, but I stay and honor because of love.’ Our God.
King David penned, “Don’t remember my youthful sins or transgressions; but remember me according to your grace (hesed) for the sake of your goodness, Adonai.” – Ps. 25:7 (Complete Jewish Bible) David KNEW! He knew of God’s lovingkindness, His mercy, His grace!
ALLLL this to say, (You knew there would be bible study!) have we considered that instead of a resolution to do better, get more, perhaps be something other than we are, that we seek … revelation? As we read through our bibles this year, may we see anew God’s gracious character, full of mercy and love, so much so that He sent His covenantal promise in His Son Jesus.
As we stand at the door of 2016, may we truly position ourselves to seek a fresh revelation of our God. Making a firm decision to take action to learn more of His love, trust His hand and bow more in gratitude of the mercy He extends by withholding what we deserve and the grace He freely gives with His favor spilling all over us.
I pray over us as Paul did, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” – Eph. 3:14-21
From our home to yours, Happy New Year, be blessed beyond …
In Him, DeDe & Mark ( “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” ~ Heb. 10:24)
Geeky Resources: Strong’s Hebrew Concordance, Complete Word Dictionary of the Old Testament, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament, Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Word Studies for Key English Bible Words Based on the Hebrew and Greek Texts, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. (and other various ones I forgot to write down) Bible Translations referred to: NIV, KJV, NASB, NLT, HCSB, AMP, ESV, CJB, YLT, Interlinear