“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You” (Psalm 63:3).
GOD’S “LOVINGKINDNESS” IS HIS COVENANT FAITHFULNESS. Having promised, in effect, never to harm us, His lovingkindness is the quality that keeps Him from breaking that promise.
In Genesis 31, there is the story of the covenant that Jacob and Laban entered into in the mountains of Gilead. After they had set up a memorial pillar and heap of stones, Laban said, “This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not pass beyond this heap to you, and you will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me, for harm” (v.52). Among human beings, such covenants are of little value if those who enter into them don’t keep their promises, but God can be counted on never to violate the covenant He has entered into with His people. He has promised never to act in anything less than our best interests, and we can rest our hopes completely on His faithfulness to that promise.
David saw God’s lovingkindness as being “better than life.” More than any blessing that life might hold for him, indeed more than the goodness of life itself, was the promise of God’s dependable love. With or without any “thorn in the flesh,” God is always saying to us, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
It’s unfortunate that we sometimes define God’s goodness in terms of how consistently He grants our wishes. For example, a friend recently told me that, in answer to many prayers, a relative’s cancer surgery had been completely “successful.” He ended the conversation by saying, “God is so good!” Well, yes. God is good. But is He good only when things turn out as we want them to? No, God’s lovingkindness is better than life, and Job had the right idea: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).
God’s lovingkindness should be a compelling force. How can we realize the faithfulness with which God has loved us and not love Him? “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15).
“The love of God is no mere sentimental feeling; it is redemptive power” (Charles Clayton Morrison).