Lovingkindness. Not a word we use in our colloquial language these days. We banter love around with carelessness, using it for everything from a favorite deodorant to idolizing morally bankrupt entertainment personalities. We seldom use the word kind, we prefer the blazè word nice. But lovingkindness, that is a powerful word. Let’s look at it just a bit.
The Hebrew word is checed, meaning goodness, kindness, faithfulness. Think about good and kind and faithful all rolled into one concrete attribute. The light and power and beauty of it is overwhelming.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Ps 107:1
Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” Ex 34:6-7
God is filled with lovingkindness, to the point of abounding in it.
Abounding is a word that has the feel of overflowing, flowing in waves of abundance. Lovingkindness is so deeply a part of God, He is overflowing with it. And not only that, His lovingkindness is pointed to His children!
How many of us have fallen in and out of love? How often do we side-step being kind to someone that irritates us? Not that we are mean to them, but we are not kind either. Or our faithfulness…does it ever wane when people get hard to cope with? I have to confess honestly that I fail far too often in this regard. But look at Ps 107:1 again — His lovingkindess is EVERLASTING. That means it is without end – but it is also without beginning. It is part of His eternal nature to show His lovingkindness. Nothing can keep us from His lovingkindness. Faithfulness is wrapped up in the definition of the word.
This passage from Romans envelopes the idea of lovingkindness, although it does not use the Hebrew word checid (lovingkindness), it does use the word unconditional love (agape).
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:35, 38-39
His lovingkindess is poured out into our lives, into the lives of those who love Him, who call upon His name for salvation and hope. It is poured out eternally, faithfully and overflowingly. Now THAT is the kind of God who is worthy of all our Praise!
Let’s give thanks for His lovingkindness that is GREAT toward us!
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