God’s love is steadfast
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of steadfast love for all who ask for your help. – Psalms 86:5
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His steadfast love endures forever.
4 Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles. His steadfast love endures forever.
5 Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully. His steadfast love endures forever.
6 Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters. His steadfast love endures forever.
7 Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights – His steadfast love endures forever.
8 the sun to rule the day, His steadfast love endures forever.
9 and the moon and stars to rule the night. His steadfast love endures forever.
What does it mean to be steadfast? It has two broad categories of meaning. On the one hand, it means fixed, steady, unchanging, or firmly established. This would include things like a resolution we make and keep, or an institution, or an object which doesn’t move like a large boulder stuck in a stream
On the other hand, it also means firmly loyal, unswerving devotion or allegiance, dependable, reliable, unflinching, faithful, constant in affection and interest.
The two meanings intersect and coalesce at the idea of permanence.
Pause for a moment and think how this plays out in the character, nature, and attributes of the Father God. He is overflowing, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The Father’s steadfast love is at the core of who He is.
5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of steadfast love for all who ask for your help.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with steadfast love and faithfulness.
Psalms 136 calls on worshippers to worship and give thanks to the Father. He has shown His steadfast love to children of the King down through the millennia. The same refrain is repeated in each verse, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Could it be that Psalms 136 was sung responsively? Perhaps a priest led reciting the first line of each verse. The people would then respond with the refrain, “His steadfast love endures forever.” This technique used for worship and memorization is found throughout the Old Testament.
Ezra 3:11 They sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
Psalms 136 offers thanksgiving to the One True God. It outlines several bases which become part of the foundation of gratitude and worship. The Father is good, He is the God of gods, He is the Lord of lords, and alone does mighty miracles. The Father is not remote, distant, or unavailable. Rather, He is close and makes His presence known repeatedly.
REFLECT & PRAY
The Father’s enduring character, loyal love, and the fulfillment of His promises to all generations provide confidence and hope for each child of the King..
Father thank You that Your love for me is steadfast and permanent. It never varies or fluctuates. Your loyal love is extraordinary.
Psalms 100:5 For the LORD is good. His steadfast love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Children of the King are assured that the Father God is good and His steadfast love and faithfulness are permanent. Therefore we can depend upon Him. He is always available and responsive to children of the King when we sincerely call upon Him. The Father’s steadfast love for us endures forever. It is the foundation for all of life.
Psalms 86:5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of steadfast love for all who ask for your help.
The Father is good. The Hebrew word translated as good is tov. The Hebrew word tov means pleasant, desirable, merry, it connotes being deserving of esteem and respect. “The Lord is good, i.e., altogether love, and for this very reason also ready to forgive, and great and rich in mercy for all who call upon Him as such” (Keil and Delitzsch).
The Father is forgiving. The Hebrew word translated as forgiving is sallach. Sallach could literally be translated ready to forgive or ready to pardon. This is the only place in the Old Testament where sallach is used as a noun. The verbal form is frequently used. Interestingly, whenever sallach is used as a verb, the subject is always the Lord. Could it be that the reason for this is that the Father God is the only source of true forgiveness? The Father purges our past and truly forgives us.
The Hebrew term translated as steadfast love is hesed. It is often translated as kindness, lovingkindness, reliability, faithfulness, mercy, grace, and loyal love. Hesed one of the most beautiful and fascinating words used in the Old Testament to describe the Father. Hesed is profound and multifaceted. The Father has many wonderful characteristics, personality traits, and attributes. Among the most delightful of all is His steadfast love, lovingkindness.
Steadfast love, hesed is characteristic of the Father’s love for the children of the King. Hesed implies a pledge, a relational love, a true love that is boundless, love that loves no matter what the circumstance or response (Waltner). Hesed has its basis in what is true and dependable. It is closely linked with covenant-keeping (Kidner).
Hesed is used repeatedly in the Old Testament. It is used twenty-six times in Psalm 136 alone! No modern word can fully capture the meaning; we translate it kindness, loving-kindness, mercy, or loyalty. Hesed is a love that is based on covenant commitment; love that is loyal and faithful. Steadfast love is an integral part of the character of God.
Psalms 86:5 is reminiscent of Exodus 34 where the Lord passes before Moses but Moses is only allowed to see His back and not His face.
Exodus 34:6 The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
The Steadfast Love Of The Lord Never Ceases,
His Mercies Never Come To An End,
They Are New Every Morning, New Every Morning.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Oh Lord). Great Is Thy Faithfulness.
(Jim Gilbert, Lamb of God, 1993)
© Dr. H 2022