God's Lovingkindness Defined

Series: God's Lovingkindness

Link to sermon video: God's Lovingkindness Defined - L Siegle

God’s Lovingkindness Defined

(Isaiah 63:7)


Thesis:  What is the meaning of God’s Lovingkindness?



1.    The title of this message is:  God’s Lovingkindness Defined

2.    It is beyond the ability of our limited human comprehension to ever fully understand or appreciate the characteristics

        or attributes of God’s nature.

3.    Some of the greatest books of Systematic Theology have attempted to explain and to describe the vastness of God’s


        a.    It is not possible for the finite to understand or to describe that which is infinite.

               1)    Human limitation prevents the comprehension of what lies outside the realm of what can be experienced

                       with our five senses.

               2)    Even those things that remain unseen within the realm of the material universe are discovered and detected

                       within the scope of “cause” and “effect”

                       a)    It may be impossible to actually “see” the wind, but the effects of the wind can be felt and “seen” in the

                              effect demonstrated on various objects, the leaves of the trees.

                       b)    Evidence for God’s existence is demonstrated also in the relationship of “cause” and “effect” in the

                              relationship of intelligent design of the physical universe.

        b.    The Bible set about to describe the very essence of God’s nature through His “actions” related to people.

4.    The depth of God’s “lovingkindness” is so very difficult to define we have to look at the ‘bigger picture’ of His

        relationship with Israel.


1.    Deuteronomy means ‘second law’ or really a ‘recounting’ or ‘reminder’ of its meaning for Israel, given by Moses in the

        hearing of the people in about 1445 BCE.

2.    They were camped on the eastside of the Jordan River in the plains of Moab, just across from the city of Jericho.

3.    Moses could “see” it but was not allowed to enter into the “land” God had “promised”

        a.    The first “generation” of Israelites had perished in the wilderness because of their unbelief and unfaithfulness to God (Heb. 3:11-19).

        b.    Moses reminds those gathered of how God had rescued them from Egyptian “bondage” and had “carried them” and “sustained them” every step of the way--God was faithful in the keeping of His promises.

4.    In the final chapters of Deuteronomy, Moses gives a prophetic preview of God’s “covenant-faithfulness” as contrasted

        with the “unfaithfulness” of Israel in honoring God and having faith in His “word” in the coming “generations” of

        redemptive history.

5.    The “Song of Moses” (Deut. 32:1-44) and the “Song of the Lamb” (Rev. 15:3-5).

        a.    The “40-years” journey in the “wilderness” (the Exodus)--Old Covenant Israel “according to the flesh” (Moses)

        b.    The “40-years” journey in the “wilderness” (between the Cross and 70 AD)--New Covenant Israel “according to the

               spirit” (Christ).

6.    Redemptive history is the written testimony of God’s “lovingkindness” the purpose, meaning, and extent for how

        God’s “lovingkindness” was manifested on the behalf of His people.


1.    Before we consider the “historical” nature of God’s lovingkindness, we are going to first begin to understand and to

        define what His lovingkindness is as described in the Scriptures.

2.    The Hebrew word Hesed is found 246x in the OT and translated most often as “lovingkindness” as the expression of

        God’s “grace” and “mercy” toward His covenant people--Israel and is rendered in several different ways in the text.

        a.    It reveals the “enduring” (everlasting) nature of God’s patience and tenderness toward His people.

        b.    It reveals the “steadfastness” of God’s “covenant-faithfulness” in keeping His promises and fulfilling His Word.


1.    There is not a single English word that is adequate in giving the depth of meaning when describing the

        “lovingkindness” of God ( love, kindness, lovingkindness, goodness, favor, mercy, unfailing love, faithful love, steadfast

         love and unfailing kindness).

2.    Hesed is who God is (Exod. 34:6, 7; Deut. 32:1-4).  Moses describes God’s nature to the people gathered and ready to

        enter into the promised land.

3.    Hesed is not merely a passive feeling, but rather an expression of God’s proactive faithfulness.  It is not a “mood” or

        “emotion” but how God’s love is demonstrated through action.  The book of Ruth in the OT shows the extent of how

        God’s lovingkindness was being expressed in a real, genuine, and practical way (Psalm 25:10).

        a.    God’s lovingkindness includes His actions FOR us and in responding TO us in those moments of our need.

4.    Hesed is the “undeserved kindness” that come from One IN power toward those who are WEAK (Gen. 32:10; Psalm


5.    Hesed is the ultimate expression of God’s compassion for those times when we fail Him (Isa. 54:10).

6.    The limits of God’s Hesed are beyond our reach--because they increase and abound on our behalf (Psalm 86:5).

        a.    His lovingkindness reaches beyond the limitations of our greatest fears and pain.

7.    It is because of God’s Hesed that we have been “delivered” (saved and set free) from the bondage of sin and death

        (Lam. 3:22; Rom. 8:1, 2).

8.    We are sustained in those moments of suffering by God’s Hesed (Gen. 39:21)--God gave Joseph “favor” in the midst of

        his suffering an trial.

9.    We can pray to be strengthened and sustained by God’s Hesed  (Psalm 44:26).

10.  God’s expression of Hesed gives us the reason to honor and glorify God (Psa. 63:3).  Having a genuine sense of

        gratitude and thankfulness toward God.

11.  God’s Hesed provides the motivation to share the gospel and to tell others of His love and greatness (Psa. 89:1).

12.  God’s call to His people is that of being a genuine reflection of His Hesed (Micah 6:8)

        a.    God’s desire and purpose is to change our hearts and to mold our thoughts and actions to become a reflection of

               His goodness and His nature in all that we say and do.


1.    This is an empty sock (Old Covenant Israel)--a “shadow” of the reality of what God wanted them to be.

        a.    There is not an Old Covenant “sock” set in contrast with the New Covenant “sock” as though they were two

               separate “socks”

        b.    The arrival of the New Covenant as the ultimate expression of God’s lovingkindness was to “fill up” the “empty”

               sock with everything that is represented by His love and presence.

2.    The purpose of redemptive history as traced through the events and history of Israel was to demonstrate the extent of

        God’s love and faithfulness

3.    God filled up what was “lacking” in the depths of our fallen humanity as we wandered away from the presence of God

        on our own (Isa. 59:2).


1.    The people of our world and community need God’s Hesed and we are here to reach out to them (one by one) and to

        show the practical aspect of God’s love and mercy in all that He has done.

2.    Today is Mother’s Day (on the calendar), but in reality our love and appreciation for our mother is a daily celebration

         of all that she means to us.

        a.    When we really evaluate and try to understand the nature of God and His lovingkindness, we soon realize that our

               mother demonstrated those very qualities each day of our lives as we were growing up.

        b.    Honoring the memory and life of our parents is not restricted to one Hallmark Holiday of the year.

3.    People are converted to Christ and the gospel for a variety of reasons, but “fear” as the foundation of relationship

        simply does not endure.

4.    God’s lovingkindness is “better than life” and forms the foundation and basis of genuine relationship.

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