Archive for April 24th, 2007

Steadfast

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 118:26-29 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Tyler Connoley):

The Hebrew word at the end of this text, hesed, is translated “steadfast love” in the NRSV and “love” in The Message Bible, but it actually means something more like loyalty or fidelity. This word represents the relationship of someone who has the power to help you or not, and who then chooses to help. It could also refer to someone who has the choice to leave you or not, and who chooses to stay. In her book on hesed, Katherine Doob Sakenfeld calls it “faithfulness in action.”

One of my friends recently rescued a pit bull. Max, the dog, was abused by breeders who used him as “bait” to teach other dogs to fight. Those breeders perpetrated the worst kind of disloyalty and infidelity on this beautiful animal, and he is understandably skittish of new acquaintances. However, in just the few short weeks that he’s lived with my friend, Max has begun to relax. With consistent kindness and loyalty, Max’s new family believes they’ll be able to help him recover from the trauma of his past.

This is how God works with us. We may have experienced people who treated us wickedly in the past, but God practices active faithfulness with us. God is patient, loyal, kind, steadfastly loving, and willing to spend however long it takes to win back our confidence. All of these actions of God are encompassed in the phrase, “God’s hesed endures forever.”

This is also one of the ways we can be the face of God to one another. Verse 26 says, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” When we practice “faithfulness in action,” we are fulfilling that mandate. As I said, verse 29 refers to the fact that God has the power to stay or go, the power to help or not, and God chooses to stay and help. By emulating God’s hesed, and practicing this kind of loyalty with our friends and loved ones, we bless those we are staying and helping, but we also find ourselves blessed in return. That’s the promise of verse 26.

Thought for the day: Have you had someone abandon you in the past? Rest in the fact that God will never abandon you. Is there someone who needs your loyalty? Be the face of God to them today.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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