Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 5 - Grace in the Old Testament - 30 Days of Grace

I want to take a bit of time and think about the concept of grace back in the Old Testament, then I want to look at the idea of grace in the New.  So first, grace in the Old!

It seems like the word grace isn't used much in the Old Testament.  the Hebrew word 'hen' means grace and it's use is not so much.  But I found as a studied that the word that most closely resembles the New Testament concept of grace back in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word 'hesed.'  Wow, what a rich word!  It is translated in many ways, like mercy, loveingkindness, steadfast love, faithful love, and loyal love.  It is very often linked with the work 'emet' which means truth or faithfulness.  These two words put together show us something of the character of God.  What do they show us?  That He has a love for us that is loyal and that He is faithful and committed to us!  We can trust this God to love us, to keep on loving us, and to be there for us and keep His word to us!

21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

Lam. 3:21-24

These wonderful verses help me to understand the meaning of hesed better.  Here hesed is translated as steadfast love.  It's linked with God's compassions, or mercies.  What do these verses say about God's love and compassion?  

First, they say that His steadfast love never ceases.  So if we are seeing this word as an Old Testament way of talking about grace, we see that grace is God's steadfast love that never stops.  It goes on and on. It keeps on going no matter what.  It goes on, no matter what we do, think, say, believe, or become.  It goes on no matter what bad choices we make, no matter how many times we run away or rebel.

Second, I see that His grace is so immense in scope that it never comes to an end.  It is unending.  It is so big and vast that there is no end to it.  We can't reach the end of it or run out of it.  We'll never come to a place where there is no more grace for us. No matter what dark alley we find ourselves in, whether by enemy attack or our own wrong turns, no matter how far we fall or how far we run away from God, wherever we end up, His grace is right there for us!

Third, I see that His grace is new every morning, it keeps coming to us fresh and new each day.  It doesn't matter what we did yesterday, it doesn't matter what confusion we had yesterday, it doesn't matter what failure or doubt we had  yesterday, today His grace is right there for us, fresh and new and the same as always, as if nothing happened between us!  We can't outsin, outrun, or outlive this grace, love and compassion of God!

Then these verses put the word faithfulness in, which is so common in the Old Testament. What is God telling us about His steadfast love/grace?  He is telling us He will be faithful to always be gracious toward us.  His love won't fail us.  His love won't leave us.  His love won't be deterred.  His love for us will always be there for us.  His love will always find us.  His love will always care for us.  His love will always hold us up.  His love will always work to bless us.  His work will always woo us to turn to Him.  His love will always be fresh and new and unchanged.  No matter what happens on our end, NOTHING is ever going to happen on His end to change His heart of love and His commitment to us!  He will be loyal to and loving toward us no matter what the cost to Himself!!

So what does the presence of this love and the knowledge of this faithfulness toward us do for us?  The verses say it gives us hope!!  It gives us hope because it means we're never too far gone, we're never out of His reach, we're never out of His love.  There is no place where love won't find us.  There is no pit so deep but God is not deeper still, as Corrie ten Boom liked to say.  God grace is bigger than our sin. God's love is deeper than our rebellion. God's faithfulness is stronger than our unbelief.  That gives us hope that no matter what, we can't get away from this love.  That no matter what, there is hope of a new day with God, that nothing can shake His favor and love toward us.  That we can really be free of our sin and in a perfect relationship with Him, no matter what our problems or failures.  

This love won't fail us.  This love just won't let us go!  This kind of love is called grace!  It is unmerited, unearned, freely given, given because of God's nature of love and not needing to be initiated, earned, or brought about by anything on our end. We don't have to be good enough, faithful enough, strong enough, perfect enough, or any other 'enough' to get this love.  It is ALREADY ours!  It is God's heart toward us!  

And more than that, it isn't just an emotion He feels, it isn't just His heart toward us - it is something that moves Him to ACT on our behalf, to bless us and do us good!  It's an active kind of love, this wonderful grace of God!  Let's talk more about how that is so next time..
 

2 comments:

  1. Thanks sparrow . I have been enjoying your new 30 days of grace .your such a blessing to me and to all who read . thanks so Much! Mathew

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  2. Thank you, Matthew, it has been such a blessing for me to do this study on Grace! It is so exciting that it may go over 30 Days, lol! God is so wonderful, isn't He? Hope you are doing well these days!
    In Him, Sparrow

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14