Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
You’ll notice a theme as we worship this morning. It’s one we find repeatedly throughout the Scriptures in places like Psalm 106:1; 107:1; 118:1-3; 2 Chronicles 7:3; Ezra 3:11, etc. It’s a bold statement of faith declaring our confidence in the faithful steadfastness of God’s love – “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” In one song, Psalm 136, this statement is a refrain that is repeated like a cymbal crash at the end of each verse. God is praised 26 times for his steadfast love to His people! Clearly this declaration of faith had great meaning for the worshiping community of Israel, just as it ought to have great meaning for us!
So what does it mean to declare God’s praise by saying “his steadfast love endures for ever?” The heart of this statement is a Hebrew word, hesed, translated here by two English words “steadfast love.” It’s a rich word that is translated in various ways by different English versions. In the NASB, it is given as “lovingkindness”. The NIV translates it simply as “love,” while the KJV renders it “mercy” and the NET Bible gives it as “loyal love”. All of these translations are good, yet none of them fully communicates the rich meaning behind this word, hesed. So what does it mean? While the hesed of God does refer to God’s love, it is not the love of mere feeling or affection. The hesed of God is better understood as his absolute commitment to keep showing love and kindness and mercy to those whom he has chosen to be his own by covenant. Therefore it is the assurance of his covenant faithfulness to those he has chosen to redeem. It is his unbreakable commitment to save them and bring them home to enjoy his presence and kindness forever! That’s the kind of love that is our in Jesus Christ. And that’s a love worth celebrating!
Giving thanks to God for His steadfast love forever!