This week, we had the privilege of hearing from a mama in our house, Carrie Jones, on the Hesed love of God. Motherhood (and life in general) can feel difficult and overwhelming, filled with great days, but also really hard day. Carrie encouraged us that even on our hardest days, God’s deep, steadfast love covers us and Jesus’ blood bridges the gap between us and God. This is good news for all of us!

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is … and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”

— Donna Ball in “At Home on Ladybug Farm”


This word proved difficult for English translators. Sometimes it is translated as mercy, or
grace, or favor, or kindness, or steadfast love.

“When a person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything.”
-Michael Card

“Hesed indicates an exceptional favor from God, something that has not been earned but graciously given.”

Do you remember the criminal who hung on the cross next to Jesus in Luke 23? The criminal asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus came into his Kingdom. What was Jesus’ response? “I assure you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” This moment illustrates hesed. The Criminal had earned nothing. He deserved nothing. And yet, he asked Jesus for everything AND JESUS GAVE IT. This is hesed.

In Exodus 34, when God is declaring himself to Moses, he describes Himself as “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in hesed and faithfulness, and keeping hesed for thousands…”

One translation says God is holding hesed love for a thousand generations. A thousand generations is over 37,000 years!

If someone is abounding in joy, we’d think that joy was spilling out of them, in an uncontainable way. I think of God having hesed all bottled up, like a can of shaken soda. He wants the hesed to escape. I’m suggesting that it brings God relief to exercise this aspect of who he is.

Hesed in Scripture:
Hesed is used 248 times in the Hebrew Bible. The majority of those times (127) are in the Psalms. In Psalm 23, David concludes this Psalm with “Surely goodness and hesed will follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Psalm 51 was written by David after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed her husband. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your hesed; according to your abundant mercy blots out my transgressions.”

When David frames his request “according to your hesed” he is recognizing that he does not deserve what he is asking for. In the middle of his conviction and repentance he’s saying, ‘Please give me an exceptional favor by forgiving me, even though I do not deserve it. Please forgive me.”

This is important for a few reasons. 1. David knows God’s character 2. David leans on God’s character. He doesn’t just know it intellectually, he is cashing in on it practically. He’s calling hesed out in God. As if to say, “remember, you said you were abounding in hesed.” And 3. David asks for what he wants.

Bridge Illustration:

The right side represents God, relationship with God and eternal life. We are on the left side, with a large gap in between.

God, in the ultimate expression of hesed, made a way by giving his Only Son to die in our place. Jesus died so that our sins could be forgive. He rose again from the grave so that we can have eternal life. Forgiveness and life are an “exceptional favor from God, one that has not been earned but graciously given.” Jesus, His Son, was an exceptional favor from God.

God provided Jesus to fill the gap. The cross is the bridge to our salvation.

If by definition, hesed is a generous act when we don’t deserve it. In order for us to
experience the hesed of God, we have to be undeserving.

In motherhood, on the left side of the illustration is us: imperfect parents. It is impossible to be the perfect parent.

The truth is: There is no way for you or me to be the perfect mother (or father). A perfect
mother does not exist. Because every mother has fallen short-we have all sinned.

Just like in the Salvation Illustration it requires FAITH to crossover to God, with any imperfect/flawed area in our lives, it requires FAITH to trust in, or lean on God’s hesed —to ask him for help, even when we don’t deserve it.

The invitation is to TRUST God, not to CONTROL Him. When you cross the hesed bridge and get to the other side, the fruit may end up looking different than you thought, or may take longer than you thought, but God is at work— both in you and in your children.

In the essence of hesed, God declares that he will rescue us- even when we least deserve it. In announcing that he was abounding in hesed and would keep it for a thousand generations, he declares that He joyfully anticipates the opportunity to show you hesed.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Are there any area you feel you don’t measure up (in parenting, in school, in your marriage, ext.)? Share with your group.
  2. Carrie invited us to trust God, not control God. Are there times you have tried to control God? How can you better trust Him with you circumstances?
  3. Under the “Hesed in Scripture” heading above, reread David’s understanding of God’s character and hesed love. What can you learn from David and how can you apply it to you own life?

Application Questions:

  1. Spend time this week rereading Psalm 13 (Carrie used the Message version). Ask the Lord if there are ways you can “throw yourself headlong into His arms” afresh today. Have you been overwhelmed? Or frustrated? Or anxious over your kids? Let the Lord show you His hesed love!

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Sundays at 9am + 11am