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Goodness and Mercy

God is never coercive, but God can be quite persuasive. Goodness and mercy are the tools God uses to persuade us onward to wholeness.


Goodness and mercy.

Hebrew: tov and chesed.

Tov: goodness, friendliness, honesty, integrity, goodwill, virtue.

Chesed: mercy, love, lovingkindness, kindness.

Surely, tov and chesed will follow me all the days of my life.


In this context, tov and chesed are attributes of the Good Shepherd. Jesus is good, friendly, honest, has our best interest at heart. He is filled with mercy, love, lovingkindness, and kindness towards us.


God is exactly like Jesus. There is nothing unchristlike in God’s nature.


The Hebrew word translated “follow” in Psalm 23 is radaph – surely goodness and mercy (tov and chesed) shall radaph me all the days of my life.


“Follow” is far too tame a translation of radaph; it would be better rendered “to pursue” or “to chase after.”


Goodness and mercy don’t trot after the Good Shepherd’s sheep like obedient puppies. They stampede after us like a couple of heavenly bull bison. Through the twists and turns, hills and valleys of life, goodness and mercy charge after us, chase us down, never letting us out of their sight. Try as we might to lose them so we can chase wealth, power, and pleasure, tov and chesed stay on our heels. Down dark alleys of sorrow, pain, and doubt, tov and chesed are with us, constant companions, gently … lovingly … herding us through gates of Glory.

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