The Depth of Love: Family, Faithfulness, and Hesed

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about love. And not so much the gooey, lovey-dovey feeling of love. Instead I’ve been thinking about love in the faithful, committed, covenanted, never give up, type of love.

In our church family there have been new babies born recently and each group of parents talk about how quickly they love their new little ones. Not just a “feeling” but also a firm resolve to protect them, care for them, be with them, guide them, and walk alongside them. I know that feeling from when Hudson was born, and I look forward to that experience again with our new baby due any day.

The amazing thing is that this idea of love as, deep loyalty, unending commitment, patient endurance, faithfulness, is what is found in the Bible. The idea of love in the Bible isn’t just a feeling but a commitment and a covenant – that never ends.

In the Old Testament when the Bible often uses the word “loving-kindness, mercy, steadfast love.” The word is “hesed” in Hebrew. It speaks of God’s commitment to his promises, to his people, and his plans because of his deep love, commitment and fidelity.

The idea is simple: love isn’t simply a feeling or a contract. Love, or Hesed, is a covenant promise that cannot be broken. This is why when the Bible speaks of God as love (1 John 4) the point isn’t just that God has loving-feelings towards us. No, it is so much more than that. God being love means that he is defined by a passionate commitment, unfailing fidelity, a covenant of mercy, and a faithful promise to keep choosing to love you each and every day. This gets to the heart of God, and the scandal of God’s love. God’s love goes beyond just feelings and moves into action and deep commitment. So when we speak of God’s unconditional love for us, it isn’t just never-ending, good feelings about his people. God’s unconditional love means that his posture to us is one of faithful grace, active commitment, purposeful mercy, and consistent care because that is his promise to us.

In 1 John 4:8b – 9 we read, “God is love. God showed us how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have true life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to rescue us from our brokenness”

This is love. Love that is about action. Love that is about commitment. Love that is about sacrifice, fidelity, and a decision to reach out and give while we don’t deserve it. And this is what makes God so beautiful.

And this is also what makes me excited, because soon I will have a new son or daughter. That deep connection and desire to be committed to them for life I now know isn’t a biological evolution thing, it isn’t a psychological phenomenon thing, it isn’t even a socially prescribed thing. That deep desire for life-long love and commitment is a God thing. It starts with God, comes from God, is modeled by God, and is given by God.

And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing….

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