Andrew Fountain - Chesed - A kind of love we have no English word for

  • Through stories of how God relates to humans we learn of a different kind of love that is at the core of who God is.
  • Chesed is utterly faithful, loyal to the very end, a love that will never let you go.
  • When you understand it, there is no word that is more beautiful.


Sermon Outline - Chesed — A kind of love we have no English word for


That we should grasp the depth of this kind of love,
and feel the security and joy that comes from understanding it.

Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament

God reveals himself to us through stories

  • Humankind constantly fails
  • How can God have a relationship with them?
  • A new theme comes into the Bible
  • Stories of God loving very broken people
  • There is a word for it, the most beautiful word there can ever be:

Chesed – Psalm 103:11

  1. For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
          so great is his chesed toward those who fear him;
  • The most beautiful word in any language
  • faithful love, loyal love, love that will never let you go
  • 247 times in Old Testament
  • 127 (more than half) found in the Psalms
  • how to pronounce it...

Chesed—A kind of love we have no English word for

  1. What Chesed is and is not
  2. Some stories about it from the Old Testament
  3. Our experience of Chesed

1. What Chesed is and is not

Hold me Tight

  • fundamental human need to know someone is there for you
  • someone who will never let us go, no matter how bad it gets
  • we belong, we are safe, we are secure
  • “If the sun refuse to shine,
          I would still be loving you.
    When mountains crumble to the sea,
          there will still be you and me.”
                (Robert Plant, late 1970’s)
  • but the best human friend is weak and imperfect

What Chesed is:

  • faithful love
  • e.g. Jacob made them promise not to bury him in Egypt but to take his bones back to the Promised Land—“promise this chesed to me” Gen 47:29
  • love that never gives up, but hangs on to the end
  • loyal love that will never betray us
  • love we can count on, that will never let us down
  • even when we have nothing to give in return!

What Chesed is not:

  • Opposite: “What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
          What shall I do with you, O Judah?
    Your chesed is like a morning cloud,
          like the dew that goes early away.” Hos 6:4
  • Difference between chesed and agape (love)
  • agape is undeserved giving, like giving a banquet to a homeless person
  • chesed is a relationship
  • chesed is taking them home for the rest of their life
  • chesed is committing to care for them to the bitter end—a love that will “never let them go”

2. Stories: Joseph (Genesis 39)

  • Sold by his brothers into slavery (not much chesed!)
  • Slave in Egypt, betrayed by his master’s wife (…) -ditto
  1. Joseph’s master took him and threw him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. So he was there in the prison.
  2. But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him chesed. He granted him favor in the sight of the prison warden.
  3. The warden put all the prisoners under Joseph’s care. He was in charge of whatever they were doing.
  4. The warden did not concern himself with anything that was in Joseph’s care because the LORD was with him and whatever he was doing the LORD was making successful.

David’s Story

  • There is no need for chesed if there are no problems!
  • The story of David as he tells it in his songs
  • a story of chesed

Psalm 59 (Saul tried to ambush him)

  1. Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
          protect me from those who rise up against me;
  2. deliver me from those who work evil,
          and save me from bloodthirsty men.
  3. My God in his chesed will meet me;
          God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.
  4. But I will sing of your strength;
          I will sing aloud of your chesed in the morning.
    For you have been to me a fortress
          and a refuge in the day of my distress.
  5. O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
          for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me chesed.

Psalm 52 (Doeg was a traitor who betrayed him)

  1. A Song of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, “David has come to the house of Ahimelech.”
    Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?
          The chesed of God endures all the day.
  2. Your tongue plots destruction,
          like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.
  3. See the man who would not make God his refuge,
          but trusted in the abundance of his riches
                and sought refuge in his own destruction!
  4. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.
          I trust in the chesed of God forever and ever.

Psalm 63 (being hunted by Saul)

  1. A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
    O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
          my soul thirsts for you;
    my flesh faints for you,
          as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
  2. Because your chesed is better than life,
          my lips will praise you.

Psalm 18 (Finally he had rest)

  1. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD rescued him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:
    I love you, O LORD, my strength.
  2. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
          my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
          my stronghold.
  3. Great salvation he brings to his king,
          and shows chesed to his anointed,
                to David and his offspring forever.

2 Samuel 9 (David showed the same chesed)

  1. And David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him chesed for Jonathan’s sake?”
  2. And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the chesed of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.”
  3. And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you chesed for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.”
  4. So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.

3. Our experience of Chesed

God loves to be praised for chesed

  • The Psalms were Vocal and Public
  • God saved me from a car accident. Praise him!
  • God restored my 90 year old mother from Covid. Praise him!
  • Ps 136 “Give thanks to the LORD for he is good, his chesed endures forever”
  • It is the best news we can have

Isaiah 54:10

  1. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,
          but my chesed shall not depart from you,
    and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
          says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

It is the best news we can possibly have:

  • Ps 51:1 David sinned with murder and adultery
  • Have mercy on me, O God, according to your chesed
    According to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
  • It is based on a covenant with God
  • He offers it to us: Isa 55:3:
  • “Incline your ear, and come to me;
          hear, that your soul may live;
    and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
          my steadfast, sure chesed for David.”

Updated on 2021-01-10 by Andrew Fountain