Some decades ago, early in my Christian walk, I wanted to know the Lord better. In seeking to accomplish this I came across and purchased J. I Packer’s book Knowing God. I confess, I found it very dry and never finished it, as from my perspective it was more theoretical than practical. Given the popularity of the book (over 1,000,000 copies sold in North America) the shortcoming may have lain with me at the time. Be that as it may, I am presently not inclined to revisit the book. I am however inclined to think upon scripture and meditate upon the Lord’s attributes as that is a major part of knowing Him and what drew me to this verse.
9 We have thought, O God, on Your lovingkindness, In the midst of Your temple. Psalm 48:9 (NKJV)
This is a Psalm from the sons of Korah. They were prophetic musicians and worshippers as set up by David (1 Chronicles 6:22, 31) and were descended from the Korah who rebelled against Moses and Aaron. He and those with him perished (Numbers 16, Jude 11) yet since our Father’s heart is to redeem, we find that Samuel the prophet and judge of Israel was a descendant of Korah and an ancestor of the sons of Korah (1 Chronicles 6:22-23, 33-34).
Whether the temple of Solomon or the heavenly temple is in view in Psalm 48 we don’t know as it is not clear whether Solomon’s temple had been completed when this Psalm was written. What we do know is that being in the temple inspired them to reflect on Yahweh’s lovingkindness. The word in Hebrew is an important one, chesed, and it is generally translated as lovingkindness or mercy. It is the word we have in the famous Micah 6:8 passage where we are enjoined to ‘love mercy.’
Since we are now His temple it seems appropriate to reflect on His chesed and how it is evident in our lives. We may be tempted to view chesed in our lives in terms of health and abundance but that is not the case for many believers around the world. For the persecuted believers around the world life is very different and many have little in the way of material goods. Yet what they do have is a good and loving Father, one whose care and presence can be tangibly experienced where they are, just as it can be here.
One way to become more conscious of His presence and His chesed in our lives is to simply turn our thoughts to Him and reflect on His character. If we wonder what He is like Jesus said He came to reveal Him and in John 17:26 promises to still do so for us. We also have in scripture His character unveiled to Moses.
6 Then Yahweh passed by in front of him and called out, “Yahweh, Yahweh God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” Exodus 34:6–7 (LSB – Legacy Standard Bible, a new update of the NASB)
The word translated as ‘lovingkindness’ in this passage is chesed. We can thus pray something like this as we respond to the invitation from the sons of Korah,’ Father, I thank You that You are merciful, gracious and patient. I thank You that You abound in lovingkindness/chesed and that Your heart is toward me.” Pray and think about that and see how it affects your day.
Here is a song by Jesus Image extolling the virtues of Jesus.