We live in an age that is increasingly critical of, well, everything. There are few things that are not questioned these days, and many of them for good reason. We can’t be sure about the inter- net, our news sources, our social media, and apparently even our government. And the more that we know about all that could possibly go wrong in the world, the more we become unsure of the future. I’m not trying to make you depressed, but the fact of the matter is that we have very little that we can be sure of. Then we hear the words of Psalm 23:6 …
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me …”
Surely? How can David know this? How can he be so sure? And more importantly, can we be sure of this as well?
We absolutely can! Especially when we realize exactly what David’s source of assurance is. The word that David uses for “mercy” (or “love” in the NIV, or “lovingkindness” in the NASB) is one of the most important words in the Hebrew scriptures. It is the word, hesed (the h is pronounced with a hard ch sound, so it is also fun to say). Hesed is God’s gracious commitment to love us as if we were worthy of love, even when we are not. This is God’s never-stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love! And the key is that this love is not based on anything that we do. It is based fully and 100% on Who God is. In fact, when God proclaims his name to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7, this is the only word that is used twice: “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love (hesed) and faithfulness, maintaining love (hesed) to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.’” What this means is that hesed is a part of God’s nature. This is the reason that John can proclaim, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16).
Since God is and has always been hesed, we can have full assur- ance that God will continue to be hesed towards us. So, the reason that David was so sure of God’s hesed is because it is a part of God’s never changing nature. And while we can’t always be sure of everything, we have great reason to be sure of this. In fact, even if this is the only thing that we can be sure of in this world, it is enough.
By Josh Rose
Pastor of Adult Ministries