The church sings and reads of lovingkindness often. Have we perhaps become immune to what it means, or can we fully realize why Scripture declares it’s better than life itself?
Lovingkindness is a unique term. I’ve never heard friends say to one another, “You have so much lovingkindness.”
God owns this title alone. . . and with fervor. In fullness of context, examples, and promises, Scripture echoes lovingkindness 182 times (NASB).
I’ve finally slowed to ponder this attribute with new eyes. The word forsakes a hyphen and wraps together transformative concepts. A single four syllables grasp the idea of the Lord’s benevolence, grace, favor, goodness, and mercy.
The opposite of trite or weak, the Word displays God’s lovingkindness as precious and plentiful. Lovingkindness impels adjectives like abundant, abounding, never ceasing, steadfast, great, and of course, everlasting. When we look behind us, it’s there stretching into eternity past. When we look ahead, His lovingkindness continues to grace every work in the future — following us all the days of our lives and beyond.
When we look behind us, it’s there stretching into eternity past. When we look ahead, His lovingkindness continues to grace every work in the future — following us all the days of our lives and beyond.Tweet
Because His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Never passive, instead the Father extends, appoints, commands, draws, shows, and magnifies lovingkindness. Not muffled but loud and lavish.
We can be certain God is lovingkind, but what difference does it make for us, the church?
As a sinner deserving of wrath, “My God in His lovingkindness will meet me” (Psalm 59:10). Our lives depend upon it. Love and kindness (as opposed to hate and rudeness) compelled the Father to overlook our sin and punish His only Son instead.
When Moses prayed for his people in Numbers 14, He called upon the character of God. “The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty. . . Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness.”
The day we were born again we depended on His lovingkindness, but the same is true every everlasting moment after.
Our feeble prayers are swallowed up in the Lord’s steadfast love. The lovingkindness is better than our desired answer for our prayer. The psalmists called out, “Lord, according to Your lovingkindness deliver me!” and this is our appeal also. Here we remind ourselves of the character of the One who receives our requests. The psalmists cried out, “save me because/for the sake of/according to Your lovingkindness.” We pray He remembers us and ask, “Wondrously show Your lovingkindness” (Psalm 17:7).
The look of His lovingkindness isn’t always flowers and strolls, and so we must trust His definition applied. “But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” (Psalm 13:5). God’s lovingkindness spurs us to trust Him. As believers, we’re assured in Ephesians 1:5 the intention of His will is kind. Can we trust all He does is done in love? Charles Spurgeon said, “Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.”
On our mornings brimmed with blessings, His lovingkindness is even better than life. Even when we’re wandering in the wilderness like the Isaraelites, His lovingkindness is everlasting (Psalm 136:16). In dire days: “Blessed be the Lord, for He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city” (Psalm 31:21).
Can we claim God’s lovingkindness has been made marvelous in our eyes in the deserts, wildernesses, and besieged cities we encounter?
Furthermore, God’s love and kindness matter because believers are called to imitate Him. These are fruits of walking with His Spirit. John Milton wrote, “The end of all learning is to know God, and out of that knowledge to love and imitate Him.”
Human success alone will not channel to others the mercy, forgiveness, and graciousness God extends. We depend on His work in our hearts and love because He first bestowed lovingkindness on us.
As we look to God for our salvation, our trust, and our fruit, lovingkindness carries an everlasting reach. God’s power and holiness are paired with abundant, loud, lavish love and kindness. No wonder it is better than life (Psalm 63:3), because it is longer and larger than life.
“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6
Here on earth, we’re overwhelmed and comforted, since His lovingkindness fills the earth (Psalm 119:64) and follows our days.
But at the end of our days here, when we’re dwelling in the house of the Lord forever, we’ll see firsthand how His lovingkindness extends to the Heavens. We’ll praise Him for how He satisfies and preserves us with it, even crowning us with it.
His love is truly better than life because it is everlasting.