Encouragement for Today
Sharon Jaynes - Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author, speaker
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10 NIV).
2002 was a year of transition for me. I changed positions at the ministry where I work, my son packed up to go away to college, my thyroid went out of control and had to be purposely destroyed with radioactive iodide, my first book went out of print, the grocery store quit carrying my favorite coffee, and Revlon discontinued my eyeliner that I’d been using for ten years. Like a little girl who had lost her best friend, I whined, “Doesn’t anything ever stay the same? Isn’t there one thing I can count on being the same tomorrow as it is today!”
Then I heard that gentle whisper I’ve grown to love, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10).
Yes, there is one thing that will never change, God’s unfailing love for His children. The word compassion in Isaiah 54:10 is the Hebrew word racham, which means “to soothe; to cherish; to love deeply like parents; to be compassionate, be tender…This verb usually refers to a strong love which is rooted in some kind of natural bond, often from a superior one to an inferior. (Now here’s the best part.) Small babies evoke this feeling.”
When my son, Steven, came into the world, a love was birthed in my heart that I never thought possible. Elizabeth Stone said it well: “To make a decision to have a child, it’s momentous. It is to decide to have your heart go walking around outside of your body for the rest of your life.” That is how our Heavenly Father feels about His children!
The beautiful Hebrew word, hesed, is translated unfailing love in Isaiah 54:10. It is often translated loving-kindness, steadfast love, grace, mercy, faithfulness, goodness, and devotion. This word is used 240 times in the Old Testament and is considered one of the most important in the vocabulary of the Old Testament. Why? Because God’s unfailing love is one of the most important themes of the entire Bible. It is who He is and what He does (I John 4:8).
How would you like to memorize half of a psalm in the next sixty seconds? Want to give it a try? Turn to Psalm 136. After each sentence, there is an echo, “His love endures forever.” Just say that sentence twenty-six times and you’ve quote half of the psalm! David begins by reminding us that God created the world, lead the captives out of Egypt and through the desert, and conquered the enemies of the Israelites so they could move into the Promised Land. While He works in many varied ways and with many different people, one thing remains the same – “His love endures forever!”
Paul echoes David’s words in his letter to the Romans. “For I a convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38). “His love endures forever!”
Dave and Bonnie Jacobs read about the overcrowded orphanages in Eastern Europe and God stirred their hearts to look into adoption. Foreign adoptions are very costly, but God had blessed the couple financially and the cost was not prohibitive. They decided to adopt, not one, two or three, but four children. After eleven months and miles of red tape, the adoption process was complete and the couple traveled across the ocean to gather their new family.
The trip was ten hours in the airplane, so when they arrived at the Atlanta, Georgia airport for a two hour lay over, the family decided to let the rambunctious boys run around the terminal to work out some of their energy. Of course, they never let their new sons out of their sight. After a short while, Dave noticed one of the boys, watching a man drinking at a water fountain. Even though the child could not speak English, he seemed to be making hand motions and using body language to communicate. To Dave’s horror, the man reached in his pocket and handed his new son a dollar bill. Even though the boy did not know English, he had learned how to beg by using his eyes, hands and facial expressions.
The little boy had no idea the riches that came with his adoption. His every need would be met by his new daddy. And even though he was now part of a family with great wealth, he continued to beg for what was freely his.
Oh dear sister, do you see yourself in the little boy’s eyes. Are you begging for handouts when your daddy owns the “cattle on a thousand hills?” Are you scavenging for crumbs when your heavenly father has provided “everything you need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3)?
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (I John 3:1). To lavish is to give freely, profusely, extravagantly, and abundantly. He doesn’t give us everything we want when we want it. No father wants spoiled children. Rather He gives us everything we need to produce well-behaved children who bear His name well.
My prayer for today:
Dear Lord, I don’t want to live like a spiritual pauper any longer. I thank you that you are a father whose love never changes, that you are a father who has provided everything I need for life and godliness, and that you are a father who will always be by my side. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Think about your prayer life. Do you pray like a woman whose daddy is the King, or do you pray like a pauper begging for crumbs? What adjustments do you need to make, if any.
Write down all the changes that have occurred in your life over the past year. Now write down all the ways that God has remained the same through the changes.
Memorize 1 John 3:1
Go back and read Psalm 136. Use it as a model for prayer, using your own life experiences.
What is the difference between a slave (or servant) and a child? Do you act more like a servant or a child of God?
Do you have the confidence of a servant or a child of God?
For I a convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38 NIV).
His divine power has given us everything you need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV).
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (I John 3:1 NIV).
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever (Psalm 136:1 NIV)
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want (I do not need anything) (Psalm 23:1 NIV).
Dreams of a Woman – God’s Plan for Fulfilling Your Dreams by Sharon Jaynes
 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985) p143.
Originally published Monday, 12 April 2004.