Have you ever heard of hesed love? I wrote a little about it last week. But in case you missed it, you may be wondering what hesed love is. And I am so glad you are wondering, because we are about to take a look in the book of Ruth (more specifically Naomi’s blessing to Orpah and Ruth), and see one thing this beautiful book teaches us about hesed love.
What Naomi’s Blessing Teaches Us About Hesed Love.
As I shared last week, the Bible translates the word hesed in different ways in the Old Testament. love, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, mercy, devotion, and favor. But this isn’t a word to be thrown around, but understood. Exodus 34:6 says that God abounds in love. He is exceeding in love. There is no lack in His love, it is complete and overflowing. It is a love that shows devotion, steadfastness, and loyalty. It is a covenant love. A forever love, an unshakeable love, and a love that doesn’t sway when altercation finds. It is faithful, even if we are faithless. Unbreakably devoted and protective. It is sacrificial.
Psalm 136 uses the word hesed over and over again, in each verse. The God of gods love endures forever. The Lord of lord’s love endures forever. He who made the heaves and did great wonders love endures forever. The God who brought His people out of Egypt love endures forever. The God who led His people through the wilderness, His love endures forever. The One who remembered us in our weakest state, His love endures forever. The God who freed us from our enemies, His love endures forever.
When looking into the word hesed more, I saw something in Ruth that I never have before. When Naomi asked for God’s hesed love on their life, she was sure that the Lord’s hand had turned against her, and there was no hope for her life. She still believed in His faithfulness in their lives, even if she didn’t think that His hesed love was for her.
God’s love isn’t swayed by our circumstance.
But her life shows that we can look past our circumstances, because we have a God who meets us with hesed love. A love we don’t deserve, but a love that is steadfast and sure, and promised to His children.
And that is the love that restored her life. A love from One who sees beyond our circumstance, who is not against us, but is for us. Just as Ruth clung to Naomi, held fast to her, we can hold fast to God, choosing to not let go, because He won’t let go of us. He is unshakeable. He isn’t swayed by the wind and the waves.
Naomi’s prayer for Ruth was answered. It was answered through a man named Boaz. Who would recognize the hesed love that Ruth had for Naomi. When God answered Naomi’s prayer for Ruth, the blessing extended to her. There was hope. God would provide. Because who He is for, will find His abounding love.
He knew Naomi felt helpless, and that she felt like His hand had turned against her. He also knew that as she prayed a blessing over Orpah and Ruth, and as Ruth clung to her and wouldn’t let go, that this was the beginning of Him restoring her life, even if she couldn’t see it yet.
A love that goes anyway…
As I recently read again about the Resurrection, I noticed something about the women who went to anoint His body with the spices they had prepared. When they arrived at the tomb, they were surprised that the stone had been rolled away. And you get surprised when something happens that you aren’t expecting.
So what were they expecting then? For the tomb to still be sealed by heavy stone, with the guards in front of it so Jesus’ followers couldn’t take Him. Honestly, in thinking about it, that probably seemed like an impossible situation. But they went anyway. And they had to have gone out of the love they had for Christ, and out of devotion to Him.
What is ahead of us can seem impossible sometimes. Like there is a big heavy stone, that we can never move, with 2 Roman guards in front of it, in front of us.
But that isn’t what they found at all. They found the stone rolled away, and the angel that had rolled it away sitting on top of it. His appearance like lightening, and dressed in clothes white as snow. They also probably saw the Roman guards that were supposed to be guarding the tomb, shaken and like dead men. (Matthew 28: 2-4) The thought of that makes me laugh, because well, think about it. Two big “powerful” men in their soldier uniforms shaking in fear like laying on the ground like dead.
They also found that His love overcame the grave. Just as promised.
I experienced this so tangibly last week, when I had to get off the plane and rebook myself on a new flight. Of course, a thought that went through my mind was “how am I going to get on a plane tomorrow?”. This was a moment that I had to “go” anyway, and keep walking, and keep making decisions in trust that God would be there, and meet me where I was at. I saw that His love was there, and tender, and had gone before me yet be with me every step of the way, and strong enough to carry me home.
Just like Naomi went back to Bethlehem when she felt like God’s hand was against her
I bet that Naomi was really thankful she went back anyway, and I bet that these women were thankful that they went to the tomb, anyway.
And we see here that if we don’t go, we may not see His faithfulness, and how deep His love is. We may not see the stone rolled away. So here is my hope. My hope is that we “go” anyway. As He leads, only as He leads, despite the doubts, odds, what ifs and have nots, the reasons that we shouldn’t, and the fears. When we do that, we will see the stone rolled away, tomb empty and abandoned.
May we always believe in His hesed love, even if we can’t see it. Because it is there, and it is strong and sure, promised and eternal, and a love that overcomes the grave.