Hesed and Emet
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Let not steadfast love [hesed] and
faithfulness [‘emet] forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Let me introduce you to the two most important words in any language—in Greek, agapē and alētheia; in English, “love” and “truth.” In Hebrew, hesed and ‘emet. Hesed is a God-kind of love. Unlike the sappy stuff of Hollywood, hesed is “forsaking all others till death do us part,” love your enemies (Matt. 5:44), and Jesus on the cross, because God so loved the world (John 3:16).
‘Emet is a God-kind of passion for truth. ‘Emet has no patience with pretense, “p.r.,” or “p.c.” No rose-colored glasses; no “little white lies;” no compromise—‘emet means faithfulness in every nook and cranny of life.
These two words transform the world—but only together. Love without truth is just sentimentalism; truth without love is just legalism. But together spell salvation—for the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory . . . full of grace (“hesed”) and truth (Jn. 1:14; “’emet’”).
And, dare we say, these two words are almost all you need to think and act like a Christian. Let not steadfast love [hesed] and faithfulness [‘emet] forsake you, Solomon declares, Bind them around your neck as a constant reminder. And write them on the tablet of your heart, for from the heart flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23).
Welcome to Christ Church this First Sunday of the Advent Season. But you, O Lord, the Psalmist sang, you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15).
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