When we are in the middle of something difficult, sometimes it is hard to know if God loves us. This may be especially true if we fell like we’ve been doing the right thing. I’ve been trying to live the right way, so why is this happening to me? we might think.
Psalm 118 is filled with warfare. The writer mentions distress (v.5), being surrounded by enemies (v.10) and his need for salvation (v. 21). What I never noticed before was that the Psalm begins and ends by talking about the “steadfast love” of the Lord. I’m no Hebrew scholar, but I do know that our English Bibles translate the Hebrew word “hesed” as steadfast love, everlasting love or lovingkindness. Hesed is covenant love. That is, it is God’s love for us when we are in a covenant relationship with him. People who are not yet in relationship with Him do not have access to hesed love in the same way.
The Psalm begins:
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (v.1)
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (vv.28-29)
- He cried out to God. “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” (v.5)
- He took refuge in the Lord (vv.8-9).
- He used God’s spiritual weapons (vv.10-12).
- He allowed God to discipline him (v.18)