My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.
This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.
I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.
5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD.
David begins such a wonderful description of our God, with the backdrop of the wicked man, showing our Gods beauties for all of creation in the verses 5 & 6.
This post will spend a few minutes in verse five only, since this description of our God is such a blessing after slugging through the depressing, discouraging, painful description of the wicked man. Necessary, but in no way as edifying as the following passage.
Let’s consider our God.
God’s Goodness to All Creation
David describes four characteristics of the Lord in verses 5 & 6, as he seeks to describe God’s attitude toward all creation. Notice that in verse 6, David speaks of the LORD’s saving of man and beast. Not until the opening of verse 7 does David speak of those who know the love of God.
These verses speak of the universal love God has for His creation.
Mercy, kindness, lovingkindness, goodness. The Hebrew word חֶסֶד cheçed, kheh’-sed describes loyal love, a devotional love extending for life
This love is not an emotional love, as we often think of when we speak of love in our modern society. This is a covenantal love, a love of the will. Hosea uses this word in describing the vows God made to the nation of Israel
And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. – Hosea 2:20 ESV
In my research, I found a wonderful resource (Hebrew Word Lessons) I would like to recommend to my reader if they study the Old Testament. I would like to thank Sarah E. Fisher for this work she has provided. Her comments on Hosea 2:19-20 caught my attention and expresses this devotional loyal love better than I.
“Notice the word Hebrew word for LOVE (ahava) was not in God’s wedding vows, but khesed was. Love is an emotion, and emotions can wax and wane. Khesed reflected a boundless, loyal, everlasting, love in action, and this is the kind of love God has for His people. It’s a much, much, fuller, grander love.” Sarah E. Fisher, Hebrew Word Lessons- Khesed- LOYAL LOVE in Action
David is speaking of a loyal, covenantal love, a love that is dependent on God’s loyalty, His faithfulness to his own word. A sure and steady promise is this love of God, of His will for His people, as the writer in Hebrews reminds us.
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. – Hebrews 6:17-18 ESV
David not only expresses the type of love God has for the creation – that is, a loyal, faithful love, not dependent on emotions or feelings, He expands the concept to include the extent of the loyal love. This is beyond me, since the fact that God has entered into a loyal love should be enough to satisfy creation. But David sees this loyal love extending to the heavens, it is beyond his sight, and beyond his comprehension. It is all he can see and he cannot find its limitations.
Praise to the God Who is loyal.
When the word faith comes up in a conversation, I automatically think of my faith, my belief, my relation to God. In the Old Testament, when faith is mentioned, it was almost universally considered an ongoing commitment, a faithfulness. In this phrase, of course, we are not looking at any of creations faithfulness, for we are sorely lacking in any exercise of faithfulness to our Creator. Truth be told, we are a treacherous, unfaithful, and promise breaking sort.
When push comes to shove, we are a Judas.
When push comes to shove, God is Jesus, the faithful One, who would give up His rights, His glory and power, His honor and dignity in order to be faithful to God, following the Father’s will to the cross. Emotion, as discussed above, was not Jesus friend in the final days, for He cried out to God for a deliverance, and yet He was faithful to the Father.
David again describes this faithfulness as extending to the clouds. When David speaks of clouds in this passage, he refers to a thin cloud, what appeared to him as a fine dust in the skies. A wispy type of cloud.
When I first read this passage this morning, I considered this description of God’s faithfulness to be somewhat less (in extent) than the infinite description of the heavens when he speaks of God’s lovingkindness. I am not convinced that this is David’s intent. I don’t think he is comparing the lovingkindness of God as being greater in extent that God’s faithfulness. David wasn’t an physicist, or a scientist when he penned this beautiful psalm. He was a Hebrew poet. When he looked to the skies, at night, he would see the heavens, during the day, he would recognize the clouds. Both beyond his reach.
This in instructive, as the passage not only speaks of the extent of God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness, but of God’s continual availability. Whether dark or light, God is there to depend on, to relish in His promise of love and faithfulness to His creation.
My friends, when we consider the wicked man as David did in the first four verses, we find a creature that is self centered, internal, taking, plotting, lying and without resistance to evil. Our God has a loyal love and faithfulness, not to ones who deserve it, for then these descriptions of God would be unnecessary. Loyalty and faithfulness is not exercised when both parties are in an enjoyable unbroken relationship. David’s description of God was no less true prior to creation, but when creation fell, and wicked man rose up, the character of God described in these verses became a shining hope, and a benchmark upon which we can know our own state of existence.
Dwell on the lovingkindness and faithfulness of our God this fine day my friend, and rejoice that your very existence came from a loving God, One who is forever faithful.
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.