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Thursday, June 9, 2011
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
~ Psalms 136:1 (NKJV)
In the above passage, the Hebrew word translated "mercy" is chêsêd. Scholars readily agree that its literal meaning is difficult to capture in a single word. Various translations render it with words such as love, steadfast love, faithful love, lovingkindness, kindness, mercy. Though I have represented chêsêd with the word "favor" in the above image, it rarely receives that translation. Chêsêd is "favor" magnified and intensified beyond any word's meaning.
We have those family members or friends whom we honestly love because of our relationship with them—but we don't really like them. We also associate with plenty of nice people whom we genuinely "like," and whom we could say we "love" in the generic way we love all of humanity.
Then there are those favorite people we love from the heart, to whom we give another level of "like" which exceeds love. These are those closest to us—family members or friends to whom we'd deny nothing we own, for whom we'd do anything of which we're capable. They have a level of favor in our souls which propels us to find a way to do what is good for them and will bring pleasure to them.
Biblical Hebrew has no word for "like" in the sense that we look upon someone as pleasant and think, "I like you." The Bible offers only the intensified version of "I don't just love you—I like you" captured by chêsêd.
If you are one of God's people, remember this always:
As intense and sacrificial and overarching as God's love for you is, He doesn't simply love you. He really, genuinely likes you. You are one of His favor-ites.
Lord, we have no way to fully grasp the depth of Your chêsêd for us in this world. But today, would You please give to us a deeper comprehension and appreciation for it? Would You allow us to understand it as fully as we can right now? Please? Thank You, Lord.
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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.