Word Study: Lovingkindness
Yesterday I was reading Jeremiah 30 & 31 (NAS) and I came across the word, “Lovingkindness,” and thought what a wonderful way to describe our Lord. Then, this morning, I was led to Psalm 13 before reading Genesis again.
v 1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
v 3 Enlighten my eyes
v 5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
v 6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
“Lovingkindess” I saw that word yesterday and thought, “What a marvelous word!” — kind of like “scrumdelicious” — a describable way to define the indescribable. It’s a triple-scoop ice cream cone with Father, Son, & Holy Spirit on the scoops and the cross on the cone, with the verse from Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
Then, I drew a picture of a triple-scoop and immediately thought of Psalm 34:8,9 “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack no good thing.”
Loving-kindness n. Tender regard; mercy; favor.
loving-kindness n : tender kindness motivated by a feeling of affection
- kindness, kindliness; loving-kindness, benignity, brotherly [Antonym: malevolence.]
- benevolence, Christian charity; God’s love, God’s grace; good will; philanthropy; unselfishness.
- good nature, good feeling, good wishes; kindness, kindliness; loving-kindness, benignity, brotherly love, charity, humanity, fellow-feeling, sympathy; goodness of heart, warmth of heart; bonhomie; kind-heartedness; amiability, milk of human kindness, tenderness; love; friendship
- toleration, consideration, generosity; mercy (pity)
- charitableness; bounty, almsgiving; good works, beneficence
- acts of kindness, a good turn; good offices, kind offices good treatment, kind treatment.
- good Samaritan, sympathizer, bon enfant; altruist.
- be benevolent; have one’s heart in the right place, bear good will; wish well, wish Godspeed; view with an eye of favor, regard with an eye of favor; take in good part; take an interest in, feel an interest in; be interested in, feel interested in; sympathize with, feel for; fraternize (be friendly)
- enter into the feelings of others, do as you would be done by, meet halfway.
- treat well; give comfort, smooth the bed of death; do good, do a good turn; benefit (goodness); render a service, be of use; aid
- benevolent; kind, kindly; well-meaning; amiable; obliging, accommodating, indulgent, gracious, complacent, good-humored.
- warm-hearted, kind-hearted, tender-hearted, large-hearted, broad- hearted; merciful; charitable, beneficent, humane, benignant; bounteous, bountiful.
- good-natured, well-natured; spleenless; sympathizing, sympathetic; complaisant (courteous); well-meant, well-intentioned.
- fatherly, motherly, brotherly, sisterly; paternal, maternal, fraternal; sororal; friendly
with a good intention, with the best intentions.
Godspeed! Much good may it do!
Law of First Mention – Genesis 19:19 (Lot to the two angels)
Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die;
Strong’s #2617 checed
goodness, kindness, faithfulness, a reproach, shame
mercy 149, kindness 40, lovingkindness 30, goodness 12, kindly 5, merciful 4, favour 3, good 1, goodliness 1, pity 1, reproach 1, wicked thing 1
Note that this word, chesed, is most often used as “mercy”
I subscribe to Skip Moen’s daily word study and was really impressed with today’s word on “Steadfast Love” which is another way to read “Lovingkindness”.
by Skip Moen, D. Phil.
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. Psalm 147:11 ESV
Steadfast love – Once again we discover David’s declaration that hesed is the fundamental description of what it means to have a relationship with YHWH. The ESV uses “steadfast love.” NASB attempts “lovingkindness.” NKJV and NIV make other efforts to communicate hesed in English. But they all fail. Hesed is a uniquely Hebrew word. It has no English (or Greek) equivalent. But that doesn’t mean we can’t understand it because hesed is a word of action, and we can all do what hesed describes.
Notice the Hebraic parallelism in David’s declaration. Those who fear the Lord are the same ones who hope in His hesed. The Hebraic idea of hope is also active. It means “to wait with constant expectation.” It is a verb the expresses confidence in outcome. Those who fear YHWH are in constant anticipation of His hesed. And what does that mean? Well, as we know, hesed expresses four simultaneous actions. It expresses relationship. Whoever experiences hesed has already entered into some connection with the other party in the arrangement. Hesed expresses reciprocal obligation. To fear YHWH is to enter into an obligation to obey Him. Faithful loyalty to God’s purposes and instructions is not optional for those who fear Him. Hesed is also transitive, that is, it must be passed on to another. We owe God obedience and we owe others the same benefit we experienced in God’s favor toward us. This is why forgiveness means nothing unless we also forgive. And finally, hesed is always active. It isn’t good intentions, well wishes or passing praise. Hesed does something. Those who fear the Lord take action to change the world because they must!
Do you hope in His hesed? Do you hope that YHWH will show you favor, include you in His sphere of relationships, be faithfully connected to you, be active on your behalf? If this is what you want, then you fear the Lord – and that means you must exhibit the same actions toward Him and toward others. This is not grace. This is the direct result of grace and without it grace does not apply. You are either living out hesed or you are fooling yourself about your relationship with God. There is no alternative.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. That means that hope in hesed is the beginning of understanding the purposes and plans of the Creator. You can’t know what the world is all about until you enter into this four-part Hebrew expression. Understanding does not come from contemplation or information. It comes from doing hesed. Time to get going.