Daily Devotions are published Tuesday-Saturday during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Psalm 36: 5-10 (NRSV)
“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgments are like the great deep,
You save humans and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow
of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the rivers
of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
In your light we see light.
O continue your steadfast love to those who know you
and your salvation to the upright of heart.”
My favorite Old Testament word to describe God is the Hebrew word hesed. Various Bible translations define hesed as unfailing love, faithful love, loyal love, constant love or steadfast love. I personally prefer the NRSV translation of steadfast love. Steadfast love conveys to me a love that is grounded and dependable. It is a love that is totally trustworthy. In the midst of these anxious and unsettling times, I am drawn to a love in which I can place my confident trust.
The psalmist of Psalm 36 goes on to describe God’s steadfast love with several powerful word images. In verse 5 he declares that God’s steadfast love “extends to the heavens.”Today we would probably declare that God’s love extends to the furthest galaxy but for the psalmist the heavens are the most distant realm he can imagine. Hence he is asserting that God’s love is boundless; it is limitless; it is accessible anywhere.
In verse 7, the psalmist further declares that God’s steadfast love is precious. A precious love is one of such worth that like the Pearl of Great Value (Matthew 13:46), it is a love that we should cherish, desire, and be willing to seek with our total being. A precious love is an unconditional saving love that can daily remind us that God is with and for us. Such a precious love has the power to comfort and strengthen us in all times and circumstances.
Finally, the psalmist prays for God, “to continue God’s steadfast love to those who know you” (v10) to which I would add, to those who don’t know God. Such a boundless, precious, steadfast love is one that we should readily seek to proclaim and gladly share with others, particularly in these days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Let us also pray that God will abundantly pour out this steadfast love on God’s children everywhere.
All caring God, there is nothing more powerful or precious in all of life than your boundless steadfast love. As your Easter people, help us to place our total trust in this saving love that we may face life without crippling anxiety or fear. And grant us a deep and loving desire to share your steadfast love with others. In the name of Jesus our loving Lord and Savior, Amen.
(Another great psalm extoling God’s steadfast love is Psalm 136.)