We can preach with such freedom because we know the One who wrote the story. In the Old Testament, the character of God is profiled for us in the multiplied occurrences of the description of God as the God of hesed and ‘emet. Hesed means “lovingkindness”—love and kindness in thought, intention, attitude, word, and action. (Some define hesed as “covenant loyalty.” “Covenant loyalty” certainly is included within God’s hesed, but it barely begins to express the width, breadth, height, and depth of God’s hesed toward us.) Think again of the ever-springing, overflowing, everlasting, overgenerous love and grace of God, and you will begin to get the first glimpse, the first delicious taste, of God’s hesed, which is for you as surely as for anyone.
God’s hesed would not mean much if it were either temporary or unreliable, switched on and off according to God’s mood—assuming momentarily for the sake of the picture that God would have good and bad moods as we do. This is where the assurance of God’s ‘emet comes in. ‘Emet means faithfulness, reliability. In the nature and character of God, God’s ‘emet is eternal, everlasting, absolutely incapable of change or diminution. Since God’s faithfulness cannot cease, falter, or waver neither can God’s lovingkindness.
God’s hesed and ‘emet, His eternally faithful lovingkindness, are our guarantee that the gospel of the Kingdom always has been, is, and always will be good news for any and all who will receive it. Nothing is more certain, because God’s faithful lovingkindness is rooted in the very holiness and integrity of God, in God’s nature and character, in who God is. If God ceased to be the God of eternally faithful lovingkindness, God would cease to be God, and we, at least, would cease to exist. — Joseph Coleson, ed., Passion, Power, and Purpose: Essays on the Art of Contemporary Preaching (Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2006), 22–23.
I have just completed a seven-part Bible Study called Ancient Words. It explores seven key Hebrew words we need to understand in order to really understand the gospel. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.
This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.