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Give Thanks for the Lord’s Loving Kindness

Are you familiar with the Hebrew term chesed that is translated in English as “loving kindness?” Chesed happens to be one of my favorite Hebrew words because of the richness and depth of its meaning. Chesed means “kindness, goodness, favor, mercy.” As such, chesed is a demonstration of the irrevocable covenant love, loyalty, and commitment that God shares with His covenant partners. The concept of God’s chesed is unfathomable. One can only attempt to comprehend the length and breadth and depth and height of God’s loving kindness because it is simply immeasurable:

17 …so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Eph 3:17

Comprehend: (Greek) katalamba,nw katalambano = “to lay hold of, to seize, to understand”

The bond of covenant partnership in Bible times was stronger than a marriage covenant which, according to the Law of Moses, could be dissolved by divorce under certain circumstances. Covenantal loyalty was also stronger than blood relationships. Brothers are born of water. Covenant partnerships were born of blood, hence the expression, “Blood is thicker than water.” Friendship was not a casual matter in antiquity. God was not known as the “God of Abraham” and Abraham was not known as “friend of God” until after they cut covenant together (Gen 15; James 2:23). Prior to cutting covenant, two individuals were regarded as enemies. Through the sacrificial blood of an innocent animal the two partners became as one. Such is the unbreakable bond that God shares with His redeemed people.

During this holy season of Thanksgiving I encourage you to prayerfully meditate on the words of gratitude that the psalmist offered to the Lord in Psalm 136. The term “loving kindness” appears in every one of the twenty-six verses of the passage. This is an extraordinary Hebraic example of emphatic repetition intended to get the worshiper’s undivided attention. Twenty-six times the psalmist, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, reminds true believers of the Lord’s enduring love for them, while giving Him glory for the great things He has done.

I suggest you turn to Psalm 136 and dwell on the holy attributes of God that the psalmist expressed from his heart as you ponder the words. Write down your own thoughts as the Holy Spirit inspires you, ending each of them with the phrase, “For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Allow the Lord to unveil the psalmist that dwells within you as you offer Him thanks and praise this holiday (holy day) season. Perhaps everyone at your Thanksgiving table can repeat a verse or two from the psalm. As you bless the Lord, He will certainly bless you. Happy Thanksgiving!