I mined a nice little gem from my sermon preparation last week. I’m preaching a six-week sermon series from Exodus 34:6-7 titled “The Autobiography of God.” Jehovah reveals Himself as merciful and gracious; slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness in v. 6. This is significant when you consider that this self-disclosure follows on the heels of the Golden Calf event in Exodus 32, one of the many occasions that nation sinned and broke faith with God. By the way, this is an early indicator of an important theme that runs through the Bible, namely, our inability to satisfy God’s righteous demands.
I spent a few moments developing “steadfast love”. The Hebrew word translated “steadfast love” (ESV) is hesed. It is an important word in the Hebrew Old Testament. The New Testament equivalent is “grace”. Hesed is found 244 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Of these 244 uses, over half of them are in the Psalms (about 126 times).
So here’s the little gem. The steadfast love of God is a significant theme in Israel’s hymnal. It seems to me that if the steadfast love of God is a prevailing theme in Israel’s hymnal it should be a theme that dominates our singing as well. This is rich gospel content for us to sing about! The more fully we recognize that we are unable to satisfy God’s righteous demands but that He has dealt with us according to His steadfast love/grace in Jesus Christ, it will fuel a robust, heart-felt, rejoicing in God’s gracious disposition to us. The steadfast love of God will also generate the kind of corporate singing that is not manufactured but genuine overflow from grateful and humble hearts!
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end” (Lamentations 3:22, ESV)