February 17, 2010

Sitting at the feet of the Instructor

Yesterday’s post, Biblical success manual, included two descriptions of character: steadfast love and faithfulness. Although I have spent much of my life attempting to learn to communicate better and to become a “wordsmith,” I was not really sure that I knew what those two character descriptions meant. So I prayed last night that God would show me the meaning of those terms as he worked in my life to develop those characteristics.

Today, as part of my regularly scheduled bible reading, I read Psalm 36. And look what showed up in verse 5:

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

Why should I ever doubt the One I know is always faithful and always loving?

So I used my Bible software to find the Hebrew words for these terms and to find a definition. My Hebrew lexicon is based on the King James version of the bible and I noticed that the ESV’s steadfast love in Proverbs 3:3 is translated in the King James as mercy. That brought a different nuance.

But a look at the original Hebrew helped me get a better grasp on these terms.

Steadfast love

The Hebrew word chesed (), translated as steadfast love may mean kindness, good deeds, favor, or merciful.


The Hebrew word emunah emunah (), translated faithfulness in my bible may also be translated as moral fidelity. And the word in Proverbs 3:3 (translated as truth in the KJV) is the Hebrew word emeth (). Both of these last two words may be translated as stability or trustworthiness.

Psalms 36:5–8

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

So I’ve been told some of the ways God demonstrates steadfast love and faithfulness. And I have been told that if I demonstrate steadfast love and faithfulness that I will be successful in the eyes of God and men. Now I need to strive to develop kindness and show good deeds toward others. And I need to demonstrate moral fidelity, stability, and trustworthiness. I have a lot of work ahead of me.

And I long to “drink from the river of [His] delights.”



  1. I so appreciate your transparency and your willingness to share what you are learning from God. It's one thing to hear a sermon and know I should..., but quite another when I know someone is co-laboring with me in striving to become what God would want me to be. I, too, have a LOT of work ahead of me. Yet, I can be assured that "He who began a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ." He will continue to produce the fruit as I submit to His truth. Wow. Yup, that submission thing has got to be the hardest...

  2. I recall hearing a preacher say that folks never point to pleasant and peaceful times in their life as the times when they learned a lot and their character was strengthened. The times that strengthen our character are the times of difficulty and hardship. I believe that is true.

    As changes happen around me and I fear for how I will adapt, I am driven to scripture to find out what God wants of me. My motivation in going to scripture is usually to find comfort--but I receive much more than comfort. I also come away with a sense of purpose and a desire to build my personal character so as to become more like Christ.

    I guess it could be said, "give a man comfort and he will be comforted for a moment, but teach the man to comfort others and he will be comforted for a lifetime." At least that's what I'm trying to do in these blogposts. God is speaking to me and I see huge deficiencies of character in my life that I need to work on. But I know the stresses that brought me to this teachable moment are not unique to me. I hope that others may benefit from what God is showing me.


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