Dad upDate/Surely Goodness and Mercy…

Thank you for praying for my dad, Roy. He came thru a 10 hour surgery, and is very strong and stable. The docs will gradually return him to consciousness today. His tumor was larger and deeper than expected, requiring more extensive surgery. The doctors say his recovery will be long and difficult. Can we pray for short and easy? Thank you so much.

shepherd1.jpgI would guess that next to John 3:16, the world’s most popular Bible verse is:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” Psalms 23:6, NKJV.

I’m holding onto this verse today. Here’s what it looks like in Hebrew:

ps263.jpg

If you start at the number 6 and count to the left six characters, you come to what looks like a little 7. That 7 is the word “and”. The next three characters spell out my all time favorite Hebrew word: HESED. Surely goodness and HESED. It is sometimes transliterated CHESED because the initial H sound is rough, like you’re clearing your throat.

What is HESED you ask? It’s the Hebrew word for grace. There has been ongoing debate over the meaning of this word. The translations vary widely: love, loyalty, covenant loyalty, faithfulness, mercy, etc. The best overall translation was actually a new word coined by the translators of the old King James Bible. They had no single word to capture all that HESED conveys. So they made up a new word. Know that it is?

LOVINGKINDNESS.

Even if you don’t know what it means it sounds like something you want, right?

grace.jpegHesed means that God will loyally display his commitment to you day after day; he will provide what you don’t deserve and grant what you haven’t earned. It is his gracious kindness and faithful provision every single day.

How about this to brighten your day:

  • “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3, KJV.
  • “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” Psalms 143:8, KJV.
  • “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23, 24, KJV.

People often say there’s no grace in the Old Testament. That the Old Testament God is a God of judgment; the New Testament God is a God of grace. Craziness. Unfounded ignorance speaking there. Grace is all over the Old Testament.

In fact, do you know what one single phase is the most repeated line in the whole Old Testament? It’s actually became the national anthem for ancient Israel.

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalms 118:1, NKJV.

That stanza is repeated dozens of times in the Old Testament. Guess what Hebrew word is behind the English word “mercy.” You betcha. HESED. His HESED is unto eternity. That was the theme song of the Jews. And it should be the theme song of Christ.

Check out Psalm 136.

One more little note from Psalm 23:6. “Surely goodness and HESED…” shall what? The English says, “follow me” all the days of my life. There’s a better way to translate it:

SURELY GOODNESS AND HESED WILL PURSUE ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE…

How’s that for a worldview? Here’s the standard Hebrew dictionary (BDB) on the word “follow.”

hebrewpursue.jpg

How would you like to wake up every morning believing that God’s goodness and grace would pursue you every day, and that when you run out of days, you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever?

That worldview is the birthright of every child of God.

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7 thoughts on “Dad upDate/Surely Goodness and Mercy…

  1. Wow that is strong. I like being pursued by His hesed. “Pursued” is so much more aggressive than just “followed.” There’s no way I’m going to get away. I don’t even want to try. It seems crazy that we have to be chased by His lovingkindness when it makes so much more sense to run to it at every opportunity. When I start running hard on my works I think I’ll just look over my shoulder.

  2. Beautifully said, Jim. Thanks!!

    I love the fact it’s ALL the days of my life AND then on to eternity!! Yeah! Thanks, Dr. G!

    We are continuing to pray for your dad. Does he still have his tongue? Just wondered.

  3. Also, I love that He sometimes whispers to us while pursuing…

    Isaiah 30:18-21:

    “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!

    O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. how gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.

    Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice BEHIND you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”

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