WRIGHT WAY: The God of lovingkindness
by WILLIAM WRIGHT
Sep 10, 2014 | 3576 views | 0 0 comments | 166 166 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It’s been said that you should treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude — not because they are nice, but because you are.

Is that the type of person you want to be? If so, we don’t have to wait for people to be friendly, we can show them how. In fact, the Bible encourages us to become kind to one another at Ephesians 4:32.

While most dictionaries define kindness as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate, the Bible uses a more elevated word to describe the kindness of God. It is the Hebrew word “chesedh” which is translated in English as “lovingkindness” at Psalm 107:43 — King James Version. It is also translated as “loyal love.”

Here's why: The expression “chesedh” means more than loving to be kind. When it comes to God, “A Theological Word Book of the Bible,” says, “The theological importance of the word ‘chesed’ is that it stands more than any other word for the attitude which both parties to a covenant ought to maintain towards each other.

"The word stands for the wonder of his unfailing love for the people of his choice, and the solving of the problem of the relation between his righteousness and his loving-kindness passes beyond human comprehension.”

This indefinable word that’s associated with being true to one’s promise, loyal to love — even if it causes difficulties — is seen in the Bible’s account at 2Samuel 9:1-13: It reads, “One day David asked, “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive — anyone to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” He summoned a man named Ziba, who had been one of Saul’s servants. “Are you Ziba?” the king asked.

“Yes sir, I am,” Ziba replied.

The king then asked him, “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness (chesedh) to them.”

Ziba replied, “Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.”

“Where is he?” the king asked.

“In Lo-debar,” Ziba told him, “at the home of Makir son of Ammiel.”

“So David sent for him and brought him from Makir’s home. His name was Mephibosheth; he was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.”

Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.”

“Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!

"Mephibosheth bowed respectfully and exclaimed, “Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?”

Then the king summoned Saul’s servant Ziba and said, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and servants are to farm the land for him to produce food for your master’s household. But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, will eat here at my table. (Ziba had 15 sons and 20 servants.)

Ziba replied, “Yes, my lord the king; I am your servant, and I will do all that you have commanded.” And from that time on, Mephibosheth ate regularly at David’s table, like one of the king’s own sons.

Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica. From then on, all the members of Ziba’s household were Mephibosheth’s servants. And Mephibosheth, who was crippled in both feet, lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king’s table.” — New Living Translation.

This act of love and mercy was an undeserved kindness by God through David to poor Mephibosheth, who had fallen as a child and was crippled, according to 2Samuel 4:4. Now he is granted to feed at the table with the king and his family for as long as he live. He is also given three dozen servants and a land inheritance. Try to imagine this destitute cripple now seated with the royal family. Feeling so inadequate, he likened himself to a “dead dog.”

Yet, when he sat at the king’s table, his disability was hidden underneath. He could now sit honorably with everyone else — not because he was so deserving, but because “lovingkindness” was at work. God and David proved true to their word. In a sense, we are like that cripple. We became invalids through our first parents, according to Romans 5:12. But God sent someone to bring us back to His table.

Like Mephibosheth, many of us feel unworthy to be seated at this table. Because God sent forth His only-begotten Son to die for our sins, we can sit, dine and not be viewed as “crippled” anymore.

You see, no one in heaven is watching our frailties, hidden under the table. God is always true to His word. When we turn around and seek His forgiveness through Christ, it is as Nehemiah 9:17 says: God is “Ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness.” — King James Version.

While Mephibosheth was given land and servants to assist him, we have been given a helper in Jesus Christ, holy angels, holy spirit and a spiritual family supporting us, so that we can sit at this table, eat generously and feel dearly loved. Our lesson?

Be kind to others daily, keep your promises, show loyal love and imitate the kindness of God, because Psalms 63:3 says of Jehovah, “Your lovingkindness is better than life.” — New King James Version. Better than life? Oh, yes. If you ever experience it, you know — even better than life.