khesed (Hb.): – mercy, goodness, loving kindness, steadfast love, covenant faithfulness
There’s no single English word that can adequately capture the full meaning of khesed in the Hebrew language. The word signifies God’s faithfulness in keeping his covenant toward those with whom he has entered into covenant. Khesed is the fundamental distinction between the redeemed and the reprobate in God’s work of redemption, i.e. those with whom God chooses to make and keep covenant and those with whom he chooses not to do so. It’s seen when the God of Israel proclaims his name (character) to Moses (Exodus 33:19) as a dichotomy of graciousness for some and retribution for others (Exodus 34:6-7). Yahweh abounds in “steadfast love” (khesed) and faithfulness and keeps “steadfast love” (khesed) for thousands.
The song “Thy Mercy” by Caedmon’s Call could reasonably be renamed “Thy Khesed” as that is precisely the theme of the song. This song and message is so uplifting.
Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
The joy of my heart, and the boast of my tongue.
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Hath won my affection and bound my soul fast.
Without thy sweet mercy, I could not live here.
Sin would reduce me to utter despair,
But through thy free goodness, my spirit’s revived
And he that first made me still keeps me alive.
Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart.
Dissolved by thy goodness, I fall to the ground
And weep for the praise of the mercy I’ve found.
Great Father of mercies, thy goodness I own
In the covenant love of thy crucified Son.
All praise to the Spirit, whose whisper divine
Seals mercy and pardon and righteousness mine.