My scripture reading for today was Psalm 138.
1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.[a]
3 On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.[b]
4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.
6 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Only 8 verses but amazing in the amount and kind of love that David is talking about. The word “steadfast” caught my attention so I did a little research.
‘Steadfast love’ appears 219 times in the ESV Bible, 132 of those are in the Psalms. The word ‘steadfast’ has four primary definitions and it is those definition that I will discuss in the rest of this blog. “fixed in direction, firm in purpose, unwavering, firmly established.”
Fixed in direction
God’s love is fixed in one direction, to the eventual reunification of His children with Himself. Since the moment He sent Adam and Eve out of the garden, God has constantly been of the business of bringing His people back to Himself. After calling and calling them, He eventually paid the price Himself as Christ on the cross. The one and only purpose for Christ going to the cross was to pay the full price for our sins, then defeat death by rising afterwards. And what lies at the end of the road in that direction, our personal reunification with the Lord. Paul called this ‘the prize’. “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14)
Firm in purpose
God’s love is perfectly firm in its purpose of grace and forgiveness. Earthly love has bounds and limits and potentially a selfish purpose. As sinful humans, it is easy to love those who love us, but quite difficult to love those who do not love us. God’s love is not like that. The kind of love that God offers is boundless, limitless and selfless. It’s purpose is to draw us near to Him. Jesus even told us that His love in us will shine and serve the same purpose. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
Nothing can remove God’s love, nothing can bend it, weaken it or replace it. There is nothing on this Earth, nor from beyond this Earth that could ever change or alter His love. Paul says it best when writing to the Romans, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39)
God’s love is solid. He offers it without conditions. Some point to conditional statements to say this is not so. But with all of them, it is not His love that is conditional, but our eternal salvation. It is true that if we deny Him, we will not have eternal salvation. But He loves even those who deny Him. This is the kind of love we simply cannot reproduce in human form. Completely firm, without alterations despite what is reciprocated. This love is so firm, that nothing can alter it. “My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:29-30)
So when you read that God’s love is ‘steadfast’, perhaps now you can fully appreciate how incredibly limitless, boundless and unchangeable His love really is.
Even if you have not accepted His love, He loves you. When you accept His love, He will not love you any more than He did before. Your rewards will be greater, always eternal but sometimes even in this world. Only the One True God can love this way.