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God's Hesed

The renewal for women in ministry that I attended near the capital two weeks ago was fantastic.  We studied the composition and the 5 divisions of the Psalms and specifically delved into Psalm 103. Personally, I love the Psalms; there is one written for almost every emotion.  When I am down I read them, when I'm upset or doubting God or needing forgiveness I read them.  When I am joyful and thankful I read them.

What stood out to me in our in depth look at Psalm 103, a covenant Psalm, is the Hebrew word, Hesed. Hesed is loving-kindness; it is faithful, steadfast love and loyal commitment.  It describes who God is and how he deals with us.  Even though we are uncommitted, faithless and full of sin, God's love for us is permanent and unconditional.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, 
slow to anger, abounding in love.  
He will not always accuse, 
nor will he harbor his anger forever; 
he does not treat us as our sins deserve 
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, 
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, 
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
-Psalm 103:8-12

Wow.  Because of God's great love (Hesed) toward us, we have the freedom to show loving kindness to others, even when they don't return it.  As God's child, I too am filled with Hesed, His loving kindness, goodness and faithfulness. 

As I prayed and reflected during the week, I knew that I had not been reflecting God's Hesed to a few folks in my life.  Instead of showing grace and compassion to people that have hurt me, I have pulled away and built walls of distrust.  Because God's love flows like a fountain, fresh and new all the time, I have been asking God to fill me to overflowing with his love so that I too can pour out his life-giving love to those that have wounded me in the past. 

What a gift it is to move beyond the requirement of living in Hesed to experiencing the joy and honor it is to share it!

image credit:  http://www.thebibleistrue.org/2009/04/hesed-hebrew-word-study/

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