“ ‘For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10).
ONE OF THE GREAT ANCHORS OF OUR CONFIDENCE IN GOD IS THE STEADFASTNESS OF HIS LOVE. Unlike our human love, which is tragically fickle and fluctuating, God’s love will still be there though “the mountains may depart and the hills be removed.”
The Hebrew noun hesed is translated as “steadfast love” by some modern translations. Like many of the most meaningful words in any language, hesed is almost impossible to translate. There is no rendering for it that is entirely satisfactory, so translators have struggled to do it justice. Basically, hesed meant “mercy,” and in many contexts it comes close to the idea of “grace.” And yet it also has the connotation of “kindness.” To make matters even more complicated, when used in reference to God, hesed often connotes the covenantal aspect of God’s love, hence “steadfast love.” God’s love is enduring. It is, as Lois Tverberg says, “long acting love.”
It would often take a sentence in English to say what Hebrew could say in one word, hesed — but for today’s meditation, let’s stick with “steadfast love.” Because God has entered into a “covenant” or “contract” with us, we can count on Him to be loving, kind, merciful, and gracious to us because He promised He would.
The steadfastness of God’s love does not mean He will never discipline us. Indeed it is His love that will move Him to discipline us when that is what we need (Hebrews 12:5–11). Nor does God’s love mean He will not banish us from His presence in eternity if we persist in our earthly resistance to Him and refuse His offer of salvation. But until we have completely exhausted our opportunity to come back to Him and died in our rejection of His forgiveness, He will not give up on us. He will keep His covenant.
I don’t know about you, but I’m mighty glad that God’s love is steadfast. Were it not for His lovingkindness, this weak son of His would have been disinherited long, long ago. And, in Christ, I yearn for the sweet day when I shall be able to thank Him more properly.
“The love of God is consistent and cannot be altered or deterred. His love stands firmly fixed as the motive for all He asks and for all He provides. His love never changes” (Dee Bowman).