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The Love of God (Hesed)

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The Love of God

Psalm 23:6, Hosea 2:15, Luke 15:20

I believe the idea of God or the summation of God in scripture is summed up in this one verse Psalm 23:6. When you see surely, will and AL. in scripture you should pay attention and especially it when they are all in the same verse. Surely Mercy and Goodness will follow me all the days of my life, I want to ask you a serious question this morning, do you really believe that?  That goodness and love follow you all the days of your life.  What about the day you get the worse possible news you could imagine?  What about the day you get the phone call that you feared that you would one day get?  What about the darkest, most difficult day of your life, do you think goodness and love are following you on that day? I have had some dark days in my life, and I’ve wrestled with the question does goodness and love, follow me all the days of my life?  When the sun is shining down on me, and my marriage is good, and my family is good, is obvious then that love and mercy are following, but what about when you’re sick and your marriage is falling apart?  David says surely love and goodness will follow me all the days of my life, but he was human like the rest of us, so if you go to Psalm 22:1, It says my God, My God why have thou forsaken me? David wrote that to.  Let’s be honest this  morning, I know you and you know me, let’s quit acting churchy and be honest, how many have honestly ever felt that you were chasing God, but God wasn’t chasing you! My hands up! And if you will be honest there are times when you are doing all you know to do, your praying, your tithing, your attending church, your loving people the best you know how, but it doesn’t always feel like God is close, it doesn’t always feel like God is right there with you.  But the reality is there hasn’t been a one second, not one instance, not one occasion that God has not seen you or had his eyes upon us, and that is what David is saying, David is not saying, that we walk around and the presence of God consumes us every second of the day, that’s not what he said, he said it’s a fact because God promised us that goodness and love would follow us all the days of our lives, even if you don’t  feel like, even if it don’t look like, David said listen goodness and love is following me all the days of my life.  I want to look at this scripture because I think David was picking up on something that affects all of us and it’s what I call spiritual fatigue.  Spiritual fatigue is the idea that we are pursuing God, trying to be the best people we can be, but it doesn’t seem like God catches up with us enough!  So we get into this idea of being spiritually fatigued tired, worn out, from the pursuit, when all God asks us to do is believe and trust and to rest.  And God does expect us to pursue him and to trust him; in fact he says if you draw close to me, I will draw close to you!  There is something we are supposed to do!  But the idea that goodness and love are following us all the days of our lives. If you will get this one idea, this one passage of scripture you will pray differently, you’ll worship differently, you’ll see God differently, you’ll treat people differently. The first part of the passage says surely goodness and mercy will follow me, or love – it comes from the Hebrew word Hesed, this is one of the most complex words in the Hebrew language, the Hebrew language was for a very rural people, very simple, not very complex at all, but this word is.  In fact there are about 26 different ways to interrupt this word but what it means in essence is its covenantal marriage between God and humanity, it represents the idea that someone who is strong and powerful and has no need of a relationship reaches down to someone who is much weaker and can offer nothing in return and offers friendship, and offers love, even though the weaker one has no right to ask for the love, no right to claim the love, but the stronger reaches down and gives covenant love, do you realize how far God reached to get us? How far out of heaven he reached, he reached down into humanity, offers his hand not just friendship, but love that’s never ending, we can’t offer God anything that he doesn’t already have, but he reaches down and says I want relationship with humanity, covenantal love with people, that’s Hesed.  I want you to look at Hosea, because nowhere in bible better spells out what Hesed is like Hosea, its minor prophet but he had a major word for Israel.  Hosea 2, Now Hosea is a prophet in a time where Israel is totally over run by sin, they had turned their heart away from God, sin was rampant they had temple prostitutes, and Hosea was called by God to show Israel how much God loved them, he was going to demonstrate the idea of Hesed right in front of them.  So you know what God told Hosea to do?  He said go find a prostitute and marry her and bring her home, and so Hosea obeyed God and went and found a woman named Gomer, this is a really good reason to put a lot of thought into naming your child!  He buys her, marries her, and there were children that were born into their home, the bible doesn’t say if they were Hosea’s or from other men, most believe they were from both because in this story of Hosea from time to time Gomer would leave and go back into her life as a prostitute, and God would say go & get here bring her back home, embrace her and love her, because I want Israel to see that is the way I see them as a country.  I want them to know that I am there God and no matter how many times they turn toward sin, no matter how many they run to darkness, I am going to reach my hand down, and embrace them and love them.  Hosea every time Gomer turns her heart from you, you go find her and bring her back.  You can imagine that he probably had to go to some the worse places in town, probably in the arms of another man, and find her and take her back and love her. That’s Hesed, covenant love that God & David are talking about in scripture.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, even when I fail, even I have done the most filthiest of things, and even though I am in the deepest of sin, Hesed will find me, Hesed will rescue me, God’s covenant of love with me  is not being broken, this what God is trying to show through Hosea to the nation of Israel.  You have not run so far away from that I can’t reach down into darkness and bring you back home; you can’t run so far away that God’s love will not find you, and bring you back close to him.   In Hosea 2:19, one of the most powerful promises in scripture is written out for us and I want you to catch this, this is a promise to you and your family. It says, “I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love or Hesed and compassion. 20. I will be faithful to you and make you mine and you will finally know me as Lord.  When David says surely goodness and love, he was talking about covenant love that is so powerful, so rich, so deep, so strong, that we can never fully understand it, the moment you think you can understand it you discover whole new meaning a whole new depth, new width, the moment you think you’ve figured out the depth of the water of God’s love for you, you fall off a cliff and its much deeper than you ever imagined! It’s a mystery, we can never fully understand the depth of God’s love for us, and because the word Hesed says it’s unknowing you will never fully realize how deep and how powerful God’s love is toward us.  No wonder Paul said I pray that you would understand the heighth, the depth and width of God’s love. In the 2nd phrase it says surely goodness and love will follow me, the word follow in the Hebrew means to chase down, to pursue, to capture you, it’s a military term for when they are pursuing their enemies to pursue them to capture them and bring them under their control. It’s a very aggressive word in Hebrew it’s a military term, and David was saying surely goodness and love will pursue you, overtake take you, capture you, bring you under his control.  Can I tell you that God is still pursuing the lost today; I want you to know that God is pursuing each and every one of you right now.  Maybe you here today and you didn’t know that God was chasing after you, and now you know. He says surely goodness and love will follow me, will capture me, pursue me will overtake me all the days of my life.  Now that’s the part that gets us hung up we believe in goodness and love, we can even wrestle with the fact that God is pursuing us, it just doesn’t seem like it’s all the days of our life.  You know the story of the Prodigal Son is one of my favorites stories in the word of God if not the favorite, you know the story son takes his inheritance and wastes all of it living wild, and he winds up with nothing in pig pen feeding pigs, and you have to know for Jewish boy the worse possible place you could be is in a pig pen feeding pigs, and not only that be thinking about eating what pigs would eat.  But the bible says he came to sense and reminded himself even the servants in my father’s house have food to eat and to spare, I’m going home and beg for mercy or hesed even if he won’t take me as his son, maybe I can be a slave, I deserve justice but I’m going to beg for mercy, so this is what he has in his head as he walks home.  The bible says that the father saw him a long way off, and had compassion on him ran to him, hugged and kissed him, the son begins to tell I’m no longer worthy to be called your son, but the Father says there is going to be a party for my son was dead, but now is alive, was lost but is now found.  Understand all the way home the son thought he would be punished, reprimanded, he expected correction, he expected anger and to be sent out to work like a slave, he didn’t expect goodness and love on this day, maybe a few years down the road after a lot of hard work, but no way of imaging the goodness and love he was going to get this day, he stunk, he was dirty, ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, but on that day he got something he never expected he got goodness and love, on the worse day of his life.  Instead of justice he got hesed, goodness and love, this the central theme of the bible, God’s pursuit of his people.  God’s love for his people.  There were probably days that the father was more excited about the choices the son had made, probably days he was more proud of his son.  I have 8 year old son and I have the same emotions, but there is not one single day that my love changes.  God is pursuing you because he wants to adopt you, and no one adopts by accident.  God is after you not to put another trophy on his case he is after you, chasing you, pursuing you, so that he can make you sons and daughters.  It make me want to serve him more when I realize all the effort he’s putting in to my best interest just so he can call me son.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.

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