Genesis 39:21 tells us, “But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love.” This steadfast love is the Hebrew word hesed, one of the most beautiful words I have ever known. When I see that word, my heart jumps and tears sting my eyes. Truly. It’s that special. God’s merciful hesed is an ancient thing (Psalm 25:6). It was with hesed that God led His people out of Egypt, redeeming and guiding them (Exodus 15:13). God promised to show hesed to generations of people who love Him and who keep His commandments (Exodus 20:6). Our God abounds in faithful hesed, showing kindness upon kindness to anyone who chooses Him (Ruth 2:20; 3:10). The Bible reminds us over and over that the LORD is infinitely just, yet forgives the sin of those who belong to Him (Exodus 34:6—7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9—10). God’s hesed endures forever (2 Chronicles 20:21).
Here’s the most amazing thing about hesed: it does not rely on my ability to be good. God’s hesed is about His character. It is about who He is, not about what I do. Because of the gift of salvation I have in Christ, I am free to live a bold, courageous life. I know that God’s steadfast love is with me, no matter what. Even when I mess up, God demonstrates hesed toward me. hesed is my constant companion, even in the face of trials that seem insurmountable. hesed empowers me to take risks, knowing that even when I fail, the steadfast love of the LORD will never leave me. Knowing that God is with me comforts me. Knowing that God’s hesed is with me means that I no longer need to fear rejection or cower in shame. I can trust the steadfast love of the LORD above all else.
In the midst of this pandemic, we need to trust God’s hesed. It can be especially helpful in times like these:
“But I, through the abundance of your hesed, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me” (Psalm 5:7—8).
“Wondrously show your hesed, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings” (Psalm 17: 7—8).
“I will rejoice and be glad in your hesed, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place” (Psalm 31: 7—8).
In the midst of this pandemic, let’s also celebrate God’s hesed. Let gratitude wash over you as you read these verses:
“But I have trusted in your hesed; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:5—6).
“All the paths of the LORD are hesed and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies” (Psalm 25: 10).
“Surely goodness and hesed shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalm 23:6).
Thank you, LORD, for the hesed you never stop showing your children. Thank you that your steadfast love is available to all who trust Christ! Help us to live courageously, empowered by the security of your hesed. It will overflow forever, and we can rest in it every day of this life and into the life beyond this one, which stretches into eternity. Amen.