Scripture: Exo 34:6-7
6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
To love people is a vital characteristic of the believer. To love others identifies us as people who love God because God is love.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (Jn 13:34)
11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 16 … God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 Jn 4:11, 16)
Khesed - translated as mercy, goodness, lovingkindness, unfailing love, steadfast love.
I. Beyond Duty to Loyalty
Khesed - also known as covenental love or covenant of love.
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isa 54:10)
God is determined to be loyal to His people.
"Khesed is the kind of love that is demonstrated by someone determined to keep a promise, and motivated to endure and maintain a covenant through self-giving generosity." - Dr Tim Mackie, BibleProject
Example of loyal love found in Ruth:
8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband... 16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:8-9, 16-17)
God chose to show LOYAL LOVE to us, so we must love others LOYALLY.
II. Beyond Reciprocity to Generosity
The Reciprocal Nature of Khesed
- Rahab and the spies (Jos 2:12-13)
- Spies of Israel and citizen of Bethel (Jdg 1:24-25)
- Saul and the Kenites (1 Sam 15:6)
The Creation story is not only a declaration of the glory and power of God, but also a demonstration of the generosity of God.
Examples of a generous love:
29 … “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.” “I will do as you say,” he said. (Gen 47:29-30)
- David towards Jonathan's family
14 But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” (1 Sam 20:14-15)
“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” (2 Sam 9:7)
In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. (2 Cor 8:2)
God chose to be GENEROUS to us, so we must love others GENEROUSLY.
III. Beyond Worthiness to Faithfulness
God continually proves His faithful love to Abraham’s family, even as his descendants become less and less deserving.
9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. (Gen 32:9-10)
17 “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: 18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ 19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” (Num 14:17-19)
God’s khesed is never based on the worthiness of any given generation. Instead it is based on His faithfulness Abraham’s family across generations.
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself. (2 Tim 2:13)
Jesus' command to love :-
27 … Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back … 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:27-30, 35-36)
"When the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything." - Michael Card, Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God's Lovingkindness
God chose to be FAITHFUL to us, so we must love others FAITHFULLY.
Now we are to show the same love to others.
- Love others by demonstrating loyalty, just as God is loyally ever by our side.
- Love others by demonstrating generosity, just as God is generous in His love to us.
- Love others by demonstrating faithfulness, just as God is faithful to keep His promises to us.