Do you know what the most quoted verse in the Bible is?
It’s probably the one we most need to commit to memory, the one we most need to recall while parenting, and the one we most need to teach to our children.
It comes from a powerful encounter that Moses had with the LORD after He’d given the Ten Commandments and the Israelites had indulged in gross idolatry. Moses again climbs Mt. Sinai, a new pair of stone tablets in hand (for he’d broken the first pair when his people had broken them in their hearts), and the LORD descends to the mountain top veiled in clouds to not just stand with Moses but also to reveal His heart. In the wake of their unfaithfulness as a people, He gives Moses a peek into His heart by saying He’s “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgressions, and sins…” (Exodus 34:6-7)
This cloudy, mountain top revelation of God’s heart made such a lasting impression on Moses that he went on to mention it in both Numbers and Deuteronomy. Then Nehemiah, Joel, Jonah, Jeremiah, Nahum, Isaiah, and David—moved by Moses’ mountain top experience with the LORD—all make reference in their writings to how God revealed Himself on the mountain that day, making it the most quoted verse in the Bible.
But why? Could it perhaps have something to do with the very thing we’re exploring together this month? Might it have to do with abiding in His love?
Twice in this description of Himself God points His people to His “hesed”—His love—and my guess is that if He emphasized this to His children, then He wants us and our children to experience Him in this way as well.
But what is hesed?
Hebrew scholars take stabs at translating this word as…
… all are used, yet none fit quite right. There isn’t one English word or phrase that fully captures its rich meaning. It’s a word that implies a strong covenant and drips with sacrifice. Far from a concept we believe in our minds or vague feelings we have, it’s devotion in action for the loved one’s benefit. It’s a word that epitomizes His posture toward us. It’s at the core of who He is and He invites us to anchor our lives to it. His hesed keeps Him moving toward His people, no matter what.
**So when Job’s life was overwhelmed by grief, he stood firm in God’s hesed. (Job 10:12)
**David the adulterer could wrap up his life proclaiming that God’s hesed never had failed him and that it wouldn’t fail any of his descendants. (2 Sam. 22:51; Ps. 18:50)
**Isaiah could comfort his people with the truth that even if mountains were to shake and fall, God’s hesed could never be shaken. (Is. 54:10)
**While Judah was going to hell in a hand-basket, Jeremiah could say that God was drawing His people to Himself with cords of hesed. (Jer. 31:3)
**As Hosea’s adulteress people trampled all over God’s hesed, he’d remind them not only of God’s reckless, extravagant love, but he’d boldly call their unfaithful hearts to give God hesed love in return. (Hos. 6:4,6)
**When confessing the sins of his exiled people, Daniel could direct his prayer to his hesed-keeping God. (Dan. 9:4)
**When the exiles return to Jerusalem, Ezra (9:9) and Nehemiah (9:17) both remind the rag-tag remnant that God’s hesed would never let them go.
And then when we turn the page to the New Testament, we see hesed incarnate in Jesus Christ. We see clearly in Him the one who stood veiled in clouds on the mountain with Moses, proclaiming and promising His always love. He wants us to know He always loves us so that when we live in unlovable ways, we’ll still go back to Him and find Him faithful.
Sweet friend, I bet the key to teaching our kids to abide in His love, is abiding in it ourselves. Turning to His love in our grief like Job, white-knuckle grasping hold of it when mountains shake like Isaiah talked about, confessing sin while standing on no other ground than His love like Daniel did, letting His love draw our rebellious, adulterous hearts back to His like Jeremiah or Hosea—and doing it all in full-view of the little ones watching us—is probably a pretty good way to teach them.
The more we read every page of His Story in light of His hesed (rather than combing its pages looking for what we must do to secure it), the more we let it anchor our soul—the more we’ll rest in it. And I know the more we rest in it, the more our children will see His hesed incarnate and know how to rest in it too.
Dear friend, as you go about the rest of your day, may the cloud around His love for you disperse, may you see Him clearly, may you rest in His always love—you and your children.
Sara Lubbers is a homeschooling, expat mama of four spending her days changing diapers, diagramming sentences, writing in the margins of her life, and learning to rest in God’s love. She wrote a book called Always Love that traces the whole storyline of the Bible in light of God’s hesed—like a Jesus Storybook Bible for older kids and adults. You can find her book on Amazon and snippets of her life in tiny squares on Instagram at @saralubbers.