Bottom Line Message
The Eighth Benefit of Studying the Bible:
Receive God's Unfailing Love and Salvation
The sketch to the right is of an olive tree that grows
in the City of Jerusalem.
In the first benefits article, we looked at the real purpose and value of Bible codes. The purpose of Bible codes is to serve as another witness to the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible as a text that was authored by God. Now if God is the author, then what He wrote must have great value and pertinence to everyone. So its content conveys usages that far exceed the vain hope of receiving a few reliable predictions via Bible codes. Given that, we continue our review of the benefits of studying the Bible. In this article, we look at the benefit of receiving God's unfailing love and salvation.
May your unfailing love come to me, O LORD,
your salvation according to your promise.
—Psalm 119:41 (NIV)
God's Unfailing Love
In the Psalms, God's unfailing love is spoken of repeatedly. In Hebrew, the word is chehsehd (chet, samech, dalet from right to left).
The ch is pronounced as in Bach. The word chehsehd is rich in meaning and can also be translated as: grace, mercy, favor, charity, kindness, benevolence, or loving-kindness.
This covers a lot of territory. Several of the words seem to imply an unmerited act (i.e., grace, mercy, charity), while the other words have more to do with acts of love, kindness, or benevolence, which do not carry any implication of the act being merited or unmerited (in English). We found ourselves wondering if the word in Hebrew carries these sort of connotations, so we contacted one of our Hebrew scholars, Nathan Jacobi, Ph.D., for his take on the word. Here are his comments:
It does mean all of the above, all of those things that are too good to be true. In any given passage it is usually one or two of those aspects that are the most relevant, depending on the context.
One famous quote from Hosea says,
In which the prophet expresses God's clear preference of being kind with each other over the practice of any ritual.
Another famous term is , Hassidic, for the Jewish religious interpretation and movement that emphasizes joy, spontaneity, and righteousness.
The passage Jacobi is referring to is part of the prophet's exhortation of Israel and Judah. The phrase is from the first part of the following verse,
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
—Hosea 6:6 (NIV)
In Psalm 51, David cries out to God for His mercy. Nathan the prophet has confronted David about his adultery with Bathsheba and his part in the death of her husband Uriah. Bathsheba has borne David's child, and Nathan tells David that the child will die.
As we walk through portions of this Psalm, David asks God to blot out his transgressions and cleanse him from his sin based on God's chehsehd, his unfailing love. As you read the passages, repeat them slowly and meditate on the enormity of God's unfailing love and salvation.
1. Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
[In this passage, mercy is translated from the word (chahnahn) meaning grace. Unfailing love and great compassion are both translated from forms of the word chehsehd.]
In the beginning of this psalm, David cries out for God's mercy based on God's character, not on his need. He continues by expressing how deeply rooted his sin is and how justified God is to judge his sin. He asks to be cleansed from sin.
2. Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3. For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4. Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
5. Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
After David fully confesses his sin and fully recognizes the extent of sin's hold on his life dating from birth, he continues by expressing confidence in God, in His teaching, in His ability to cleanse the sin away, and in His ability to restore joy where there is only a grief-stricken spirit.
6. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
7. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8. Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Let crushed bones rejoice. David is confident in God's healing ways, but is once again overcome with a desire to be free from sin and to have God create a pure heart and a steadfast spirit within him. He asks for God not to cast him away or take the Holy Spirit from him, but to restore the joy of salvation and a willing heart, so that he will be sustained and be able to teach others of God's ways.
9. Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10. Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11. Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12. Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13. Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you. — Psalm 51 (NIV)
To read and study all of Psalm 51 visit BibleGateway.com.
As we continue to explore the richness of Scriptures on God's unfailing love and salvation, we will touch on
- Placing our hope in His unfailing love
- His unfailing love and salvation
- His unfailing love and redemption
- Having gratitude for His unfailing love
- Ways in which we flourish by placing our trust in God and his unfailing love
Let's begin with placing our hope in His unfailing love.
Our Hope in His Unfailing Love
The following Scriptures encourage us to place our hope in God's unfailing love. First, we are encouraged to pray for God's unfailing love to rest upon us as we hope in Him.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
—Psalm 33:22 (NIV)
Second, the Scriptures promise that God's eyes are upon those who hope in his unfailing love.
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.
—Psalm 33:18 (NIV)
And third, God is delighted when we place our hope in His unfailing love.
The LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
—Psalm 147:11 (NIV)
Where better to place our hope knowing that it brings a promise of God watching over us and delighting in us.
God's Unfailing Love and Salvation
The following Scriptures all focus on God's unfailing love and His salvation. Together, they almost tell a story of one crying out to God, expressing trust in Him, asking for His "face to shine" on us, and culminating in a desire to see God's unfailing love and to be granted His salvation.
As you read each of these, consider making each verse your personal prayer this day.
Cry out to God by praying . . .
Turn, O LORD, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
—Psalm 6:4 (NIV)
Express your trust in God's unfailing love and salvation by praying . . .
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
—Psalm 13:5 (NIV)
Implore God by praying . . .
Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
—Psalm 31:16 (NIV)
Call upon God by praying . . .
Show us your unfailing love, O LORD,
and grant us your salvation.
—Psalm 85:7 (NIV)
God's Unfailing Love and Redemption
The following Scriptures focus on calling out to God for redemption according to his unfailing love. As we study the Bible, we become better acquainted with God's character, and the better we know His character, the more confident we can be in our prayers.
Because we know of His unfailing love, we can call out . . .
Rise up and help us;
redeem us because of your unfailing love.
—Psalm 44:26 (NIV)
Because we know He is compassionate and loving, we can pray as David did . . .
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
—Psalm 51:1 (NIV)
Redeem us, blot out our transgressions, have mercy on us, help us. We can call out for all these things, because of God's unfailing love.
Gratitude for God's Unfailing Love
As we read God's Word and begin to understand his unfailing love, a very natural response is gratitude. In fact, we are exhorted in the Word to give thanks for God's love.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
—Psalm 107:1 (NIV)
In the New King James Version it reads,
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
—Psalm 107:1 (NKJV)
In Psalm 107, the following verse appears four times.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.
—Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 (NIV)
Part of the purpose of repetition in the Psalms is that they were songs. Think of the repeated verses as the chorus of a song. The other aspect of repetition is letting the importance of the verse sink in. As you are studying, it's easy to miss a thought that is expressed only once, but certainly the importance of our gratitude in response to God's love cannot be missed in this Psalm.
Flourish Like an Olive Tree
The next three verses will prompt us to action: meditate on God's unfailing love, trust in Him, and sow righteousness. Many people associate meditation with Eastern religion, but the Scriptures frequently call upon us to meditate on God's Word. To meditate is simply to think deeply and quietly, to contemplate. It means to take a Scripture and focus carefully on it and let the meaning of it sink in.
Meditate . . .
Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
—Psalm 48:9 (NIV)
The Scriptures teach that placing our trust in God causes Him to surround and protect us with his unfailing love.
Trust . . .
Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD's unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him.
—Psalm 32:10 (NIV)
The following Scripture is rich in imagery. It begins with sowing righteousness (acts of righteousness or right living in our lives), reaping the harvest (reaping the result of those righteous acts, the fruit of unfailing love) and breaking up the unplowed ground (symbolizing our hardened hearts or areas of our life that we have not given to God). One might ask, don't you need to break up the unplowed ground before you plant and reap? Yes. But we imagine that this Scripture is a reminder that even in a fruitful garden, untended areas become hardened. That we must not become complacent. We must remember to break up the unplowed ground, even after a bountiful harvest. Even after seeing wonderful things happen because of the work of God in our lives, we must remain vigilant to keep the soil of our hearts prepared for God's unfailing love to work in us and through us.
The remarkable thing is that the Scripture begins with us sowing righteousness, and ends with God showering righteousness upon us. He is our source. Therefore, we can:
Sow . . .
Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD,
until he comes and showers righteousness on you.
—Hosea 10:12 (NIV)
The following verse is filled with great comfort about the steadfastness of God's unfailing love. We can know and be certain that regardless of the circumstances in our lives, God's unfailing love for us is unshaken.
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,"
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
—Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)
Once we are confident in God's unfailing love, the immediate response is joy and gladness.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
—Psalm 90:14 (NIV)
Many blessings to you as you meditate on God's unfailing love and salvation, and may you flourish like an olive tree in God's house.
But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever.
—Psalm 52:8 (NIV)
Scripture quotations marked "NIV" are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked "NKJVTM" are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Bombshell examines two massive, recently discovered clusters of codes in the Hebrew Old Testament. To read more about Bombshell, click here, or click below to order from Amazon today!