His Perfect LOVE

Scripture

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You.

~Psalm 63:3, NRSV

Quote

Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.

~C.S. Lewis

The Hebrew word translated ‘steadfast love’ in the New Revised Standard is checed. It is one of the few words that I remember while studying Hebrew under Slaughter Delaughter at NOBTS. His first name was not Slaughter but that was his nickname because he was brutal. I had him for Hebrew and O.T. Theology in the same semester. He walked up to me one day in the cafeteria and said, “Jack, or you crazy, no one has ever had the courage to take two courses under me at the same time?” I confirmed his suspicion and confessed, “Yes, I am crazy but I will tell you one thing, it will not happen again.” Checed is a mysterious word. It is no more fascinating than Yahweh but it is close. It is translated a multiplicity of ways. The AV and many others translate it Lovingkindness. The NLT reads unfailing love whereas the NET says loyal love. The ESV translates it steadfast love.  The NIV uses only the word love…Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. Strictly defined, checed is God’s grace, mercy, kindness and favor toward mankind; His constant abiding favor. David used this word often to describe God’s favor toward him. It is uses 128 times in the book of Psalms and most of the time by David.


Agape is the Greek word for God’s love. It was coined especially to refer to God’s love. Checed may be the nearest word in OT to agape in the new. God’s love is constant, loyal, unfailing, kind and steadfast. God loves us in a way that we cannot imagine or fathom. All human loves are subject to failure. Phileo {brotherly love} is good but it is not perfect; it has been known to fail. Paternal love {storge} is strong but it too has failed and erotic love is highly conditional. All human loves are imperfect. God’s love is distinguished from our love in that it never fails, it is constant, faithful, perfect and complete. As our LCBS lesson pointed out last Sunday: Peter’s love for Jesus was imperfect. He loved Jesus the best he knew how but his love paled in comparison to the perfect Love Jesus had for him.


David loved worship. He loved to bask in the presence of God. He longed for fellowship and communion with God like a thirsty man longs for water. You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. David’s relationship to God, which was based on God’s unfailing love, was more important than life itself. David had his faults but he understood the depth of God’s love more than most and this came out in his worship.


Some of our ladies went to see Fiddler On A Roof last week and we were discussing that this past Sunday. The Jews know how to celebrate. David was a Jew and he got into worship. I wish we could resurrect him, bring him into our sanctuary and let him lead worship. He could do it and he wouldn’t be the least concerned about what you thought of him. David focused on seeing God’s glory. No body goes to the Grand Canyon or the Niagara Falls to boost their self-esteem, we go to behold the glory of One who is infinitely greater. When you get out of your car at the Falls, they don’t a row of mirrors for folks to behold themselves; there is something there to behold that if far greater. David didn’t look at others when he went to worship, he looked up. He couldn’t wait to get in to the house of worship, we can wait to get out. He sang with his whole heart while our singing in half-hearted at best. Perhaps the key to worship is to understand how much greater God’s love is for us than our love for Him. This may be the reason David could praise God during a crisis. God’s glory eclipsed David’s afflictions. I wish I could tell you how much God loves you but I can’t. I can repeat what Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son.”


John Mark McMillan wrote a song that we sing a lot but I doubt that anyone has really mediated on the words. This kid may be closer to David than we are: this time through, concentrate on the words and see what Glory and understanding God’s unconditional love has to do with worship.


  • Team Guatemala leaves today.
  • Lord willing, I am preaching Sunday. Plan to finish Malachi on Sunday night, not sure about am. No deacon meeting. Donuts and biscuits at 8:45, LCBS at 9:15 and worship at 10:15.
  • BLOCK PARTY is on us: next week is BP week and the festivities begin on Wednesday night with a media blitz. Instead of going door to door this year, we are going to hit population centers like DG, Wallmart, etc. We will go in teams and all you have to do is hand out flyers. It’s like falling off a log. We will have the Pizza before or afterwards, it is up to you. Let me or Mandy know your preference: before is probably better. Then on Thursday evening around 5:00 pm, we begin sitting up the GRACE BARN, putting up fences and cleaning the stage.
  • Eli Meade asked me Tuesday night at the Church game when I was going to put FROSTIE the SNOWMAN up and I told him three more months and trust me, they will go by in a hurry. I can’t believe it BLOCK PARTY time.

 

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