Reading the Psalms, I noticed over and over the phrase steadfast love (NRSV) that kept jumping off the page. It seems like the psalmist really liked to use this word (ches-ed) as it shows up over 120 times in the Psalms. Something about the word keeps drawing me into thinking about the goodness of God and His goodness toward me despite my human deficits.
It turns out that the Hebrew ches-ed is a rich term, translated mercy in KJV and lovingkindness in NASB, both of which capture only part of what it is meant to convey. Perhaps the only way to grasp its meaning is to think of ches-ed as an attribute of God that is outwardly expressed in His goodness toward His fragile creatures. As an attribute, it is steadfast, unshakable, everlasting — adjectives the psalmist uses all the time in speaking of God’s lovingkindness toward us. But it is more than an attribute, because it finds expression in our redemption and God’s activity on our behalf (Ex.15:13; Jer.31:3; Ps.36:7-10; 59:16; and many others).
God’s love toward us is not just one of many options open to Him or a choice He made one day in spite of how we live. His love and His direct intervention for our good come from deep within His very character. Lovingkindness toward us is part of who He is. He wants to do everything He can to restore us to who He designed us to be, and to be with us forever.
Amazing love! I cannot imagine anything more compelling to draw me to Him and to want to know His love (Eph.3).