Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens!
It is beyond difficult to attempt to describe the character of God. We might start out by saying something like “God is Love”, and then face up to defining what we really mean by love. (And what a huge variety of ideas that will bring out!)
There is one word in the Hebrew language – transcribed as CHESED- that covers a whole multitude of words that we might use in English. All the Bible translators have struggled to find words to convey what a Jew would understand by it. There are even Jewish congregations that take that word to describe themselves much as an English group might call themselves Baptists, or Methodists. One in Florida calls itself Congregation Ahavath Chesed with an identity phrase “We do things better when we do them together! “ Sounds to me what we aim to be in our community. It is this idea of the generous love of God being formed in our character as His people that we explore this week.
v 5 Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Standing at the top of a really high mountain, with the ground falling away on every side and no other peaks to compare with, the sky seems endless and the horizon a million miles away. And when you have been got out of bed early to be on the summit at dawn, the feeling of being stretched to the limit and detached from earth and its trivialities, with nothing but the endlessness of sky above and around you, this has a spiritual quality of experience about it. Above and beyond even that is the overwhelming awareness of the unfailing love of a heavenly Father, particularly when failure and uselessness has been knocking at your door. The chesed love of God is unfailing and so inexplicably vast that even poetic imagery can never get close to impressing it on your soul. Breath taking. Mind bending. Heart melting. Soul captivating. Brain stalling. Depth defying. Fire fanning. All-consuming chesed love. Got that? Or even got a small fraction of its meaning? God’s love is generous to the power of ten – and more!
To announce to a broken and disturbed world that God is love is to hold out hope to people who are caught in a cycle of sin and failure. It is God’s love that breaks into the circle of human misery and despair to whisper daringly – ‘Yes, even so, I love you.’
It is this quality of love that God wants to put into our hearts, so that we too can love as He loves. The amazing thing is that the Holy Spirit can do that in us and through us.
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