Psalm 143:8 (NRSV)
Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 31:7 (NRSV)
I will exult and rejoice in your steadfast love.
Steadfast. The word is everywhere in the Bible. It appears twice in Psalm 143 and three times in Psalm 31. It is a word we do not hear much in daily life. There are seven definitions for steadfast in the Oxford English Dictionary, some meanings in use as early as the 10th century. When referring to persons it is defined as “unshaken, immovable in faith, resolution, friendship etc.” and when applied to God “unchanging.”
It is one of the defining characteristics of God. God is unchangeable, enduring. God’s steadfast love endures forever. He renews His covenant with Israel many times, even after repeated unfaithfulness on the part of the people. God’s care is demonstrated over and over, to the nation and to individuals. It is persistent and unchanging.
Jesus is the embodiment of steadfastness. His early days are spent studying the word of God. After his baptism he is tempted and remains faithful. His ministry is one of constant devotion to God and His message. And in his Passion he holds fast to God’s purpose, though it demands a terrible price.
But there is more than just steadfastness. The word “steadfast” is often partnered with “love.” God’s steadfast love is shown over and over in the Bible. It underlies the covenants. The Law demands care for strangers, widows, and orphans. It touches Hagar and the widow of Zarephath. In the coming of Jesus, God’s steadfast love not only endures but is made plain for all to see. And I can imagine that only the most unshakable faith in, and steadfast love for, God could have supported Jesus on his journey to the cross.
Sometimes life seems like it takes place in a canoe careening rapidly downstream over rapids. Thank God for his steadfast love, a source of comfort, perseverance, and hope, no matter what the journey.
Sing praises to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever. He has sent His son as a light to the world. He shines with God’s perfect love. He keeps me company throughout my life. My heart rejoices to know he walks with me in love, and I love him in return. Praise the Lord.