The 12 Things the Old Testament Teaches Us About God’s Grace (Part 4/4)

In this last part of this 4-part series, we are going to examine the last three things that the Old Testament teaches us about God’s chesed [or grace].

CHESED [GRACE] IS ASSOCIATED WITH GOD’S BLESSINGS.

Since by God’s grace, His chesed, and His redemptive acts is the way God brings us into a relationship with Him, and it is also by His grace that we are able to continue in our relationship to Him, which includes our obedience to His commandments, then it is only logical that grace [God’s chesed] should also be associated with God’s blessings.  For example,

Surely goodness and MERCY [Heb. chesed] shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.  (Psalm 23:6)

For the word of the LORD is right; and all His works are done in truth.  He loves righteousness and judgment:  the earth is full of the GOODNESS [Heb. chesed] of the LORD.  (Psalm 33:4-5; Emphasis mine)

In both of these psalms, David is praising God for His blessings, His “goodness and chesed (‘mercy’),” which he said would “follow me all the days of my life,” as well as to connect God’s “goodness,” His chesed, with the Torah, “the word of the LORD,” i.e., God’s law.

SOME OF THE THINGS GOD’S CHESED [GRACE] DOES FOR US

Here are a few specific things that God’s chesed [grace] does for us in our lives:

GOD’S CHESED [GRACE] QUICKENS MEN.

Psalm 119:88.  “Quicken me after Your LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed]; so shall I keep Your testimony of Your mouth.”

Psalm 119:159.  “Consider how I love Your precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to Your LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed; grace].”

GOD’S CHESED [GRACE] COMFORTS.

Psalm 119:76.  “Let, I pray You, Your MERCIFUL KINDNESS [Heb. chesed] be for my comfort, according to Your word unto Your servant.”

GOD’S CHESED [GRACE] PRESERVES.

You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] and Your truth will continually preserve me. (Psalm 40:11; Emphasis mine)

You will prolong the king’s life; His years will be as many generations.  He will abide before God forever; appoint LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] and truth, that they may preserve him.  (Psalm 61:6-7; Emphasis mine)

LOYALTY [Heb. chesed] and truth preserve the king, and he upholds his throne by righteousness.  (Proverbs 20:28; Emphasis mine)

GOD’S CHESED [GRACE] IS POURED OUT UPON INDIVIDUALS.

God pours His chesed [grace] out on individuals, for example, Lot, Joseph, David, and Ezra.

Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed], which you have shown by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. (Genesis 19:19; emphasis mine)

But the LORD was with Joseph and extended KINDNESS [Heb. chesed] to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.  (Genesis 39:21; emphasis mine)

Then Solomon said, “You have shown great LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have reserved for him this great LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed], that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.  (I Kings 3:6; emphasis mine)

Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to adorn the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem, and has extended LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] to me before the king and his counselors and before all the king’s mighty princes.  Thus I was strengthened according tothe hand of the LORD my God upon me, and I gathered leading men from Isael to go up with me.  (Ezra 7:27-28; emphasis mine)

In the next examples, David is asking God about His chesed that he had experienced before.  In other words, he’s going through a difficult time, and he wants to experience those times of blessings again in his life.

Psalm 89:49.  “Lord, where are Your former LOVINGKINDNESSES [Heb. chesed], which You swore unto David in Your truth?”

Psalm 90:13-14.   “Return, O LORD, how long?  and let it repent You concerning Your servants.  O satisfy us early with Your MERCY [Heb. chesed]; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”

Perhaps, you’ve gone through (or are currently going through) some really hard times, and you, like David, have asked God, “Where are those former times of blessing that I experienced before?  Why can’t I experience them again?”  And God does respond with a blessing, by giving us His grace, which helps us through those difficult times.

GOD’S CHESED [GRACE] IS POURED OUT UPON ISRAEL AS A NATION.

But not only does God pour out His chesed [grace] upon individuals, but also upon the nation of Israel.

In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] I will have compassion on you.  (Isaiah 54: 8, 10; emphasis mine)

I shall make mention of the LOVINGKNDNESSES [Heb. chesed] of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has granted them according to His compassion.  (Isaiah 63: 7; emphasis mine)

The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed].   (Jeremiah 31: 3; Emphasis Mine)

In the next examples, David is asking God about His chesed that he had experienced before.  In other words, he’s going through a difficult time, and he wants to experience those times of blessings again in his life.

SHARING GOD’S CHESED [GRACE]

Not only is chesed [grace] associated with God’s blessing, but we are encouraged to praise God for His blessings which He gives to us, among which is His chesed [or grace].

But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] in the morning, for You have been my stronghold, and a refuge in the day of my distress.  O my strength, I will sing praises to You; for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me LOVINGKNESS [Heb. chesed].   (Psalm 59:16-17; Emphasis mine)

I will sing of the LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] of the LORD forever; for what vanity You have created all the sons of men.  (Psalm 89:1; Emphasis Mine)

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Your name, O Most High.  To show forth Your LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night.  (Psalm 92:1-2; Emphasis Mine)

I will sing LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] and justice, To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.  (Psalm 101:1; Emphasis Mine)

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name…Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] and tender mercies.  (Psalm 103:1, 4; Emphasis Mine)

Let them give thanks to the LORD for His LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed], and for His wonders to the sons of men!  (Psalm 107: 8, 15, 21, 31; Emphasis Mine)

I will bow down toward Your holy temple, and give thanks to Your name for Your LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] and Your truth.   (Psalm 138:2; Emphasis Mine)

GOD’S CHESED [GRACE] IS A PLACE OF REFUGE

God’s chesed [grace] is also something that we can rely on and turn to when we are in trouble, or when we need God’s forgiveness or protection.

Psalm 130:7.  “Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is MERCY [Heb. chesed; grace], and with Him is plenteous redemption.”

Psalm 144: 1-2.  “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.  My GOODNESS [Heb. chesed], and My fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and He in whom I trust; who subdues my people under me.”

SHARING GOD’S CHESED [GRACE] WITH OTHERS.

God’s chesed [grace] is not only something that we receive for ourselves, nor is it something that’s only for the nation of Israel, but it’s also something that we can share with others.

I have NOT hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] and Your truth from the great congregation.  (Psalm 40:10; Emphasis mine)

Because Your LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] is better than life, My lips will praise You.  (Psalm 63:3; Emphasis mine)

I believe this is one of the reasons why Paul begins his letters with greetings of “peace and grace.”  It not only combines typical Jewish and Gentile greetings of the time, but it also fulfills Scriptural teaching about sharing God’s chesed [grace] with others, and not “concealing” it “from the great congregation.”

GOD WILL JUDGE THOSE WHO DO NOT WALK IN HIS CHESED [GRACE].

And finally, the last thing that the Old Testament teaches us about God’s chesed [grace] is that God will judge those who do not follow His example and walk in it.

Our fathers in Egypt did NOT understand Your wonders; They did not remember Your abundant KINDNESSES [Heb. chesed], but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.  (Psalm 106:7; Emphasis Mine)

For this says the LORD, “Do not enter a house of mourning, or go to lament or to console them; for I have withdrawn My peace from this people, declares the LORD, “My LOVINGKINDNESS [Heb. chesed] and compassion.  (Jeremiah 16:5; Emphasis Mine)

Those who regard vain idols forsake their FAITHFULNESS [Heb. chesed].  (Jonah 2:8; Emphasis Mine)

Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel, for the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness or KINDNESS [Heb. chesed] or knowledge of God in the land.   (Hosea 4:1; Emphasis Mine)

What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?  What shall I do with you, O Judah?  For your LOYALTY [Heb. chesed] is like a morning cloud, and like the dew which goes away early.   (Hosea 6:4; Emphasis Mine)

CONCLUSION

In summary, then, in this four-part series, we’ve discovered that the Old Testament, like many things, has a much broader scope to God’s chesed [grace] than what we see in the New Testament.  The New Testament highlights those aspects of grace that deal with sin and redemption, but this is not the only aspect and views that the Bible has regarding God’s chesed [grace].  And I believe when we consider these twelve things that the Old Testament has to say about His chesed [grace], then we should realize what a large disservice we are doing when we focus on only what the New Testament teaches about it, instead of what ALL of the Bible has to say about it.

 

 

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