Hesed: God’s Indescribable Love

Janet Aucoin May 6, 2023

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Hesed: God’s Indescribable Love

John 13:35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

What is biblical love?

Summary: Jesus loved always, regardless of the behavior of the recipient, to His own hurt, first, most, at the cost of His life!

And then He says, love each other as I have loved you!

I. Examples of how Jesus loved:

Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Paul is an answer to this!)

Mark 10:21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

II. OT word Hesed

Working Definition: “When the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything.” Michael Card, Inexpressible

Again and again, just when a multitude of characters in the bible realize their own inadequacy, their own sin, jut when they realize they have a right to expect nothing, they receive not simply a second chance but everything from God. A new age of trusting the Lord is born. Inexpressible

The great surprise of the Hebrew Bible is not that God is awesome or holy. These characteristics we would expect from God. The great surprise is that he is kind, that he is a God of hesed. This is what fundamentally makes him unlike any other god, then or now. Inexpressible

III. Our response to His hesed

  1. Worship!
  2. Transparency – free to see your sin without fear
  3. Gratitude!
  4. Joy!
  5. Giving hesed to others

“Once a relationship or covenant of hesed is established there is an unspoken mutuality. The one who was initially shown hesed naturally demonstrates hesed in return. This is not a legal expectation; there are no covenant sanctions tied to it. Rather, an expectation based on hope is in view. To receive hesed and not return it leaves the initial party deeply disappointed, be it an individual or God himself…If it is not returned freely in gratitude, you have not understood the nature of the hesed that was shown to you in the first place.” Inexpressible

IV. Practical Application

Biblical love/hesed provides an environment that makes it easier for those around to do the right thing. Loving toward righteousness. That means loving to our own hurt.

  1. Case Study: To speak or not to speak
  2. When someone says something you don’t agree with, how do you decide whether to speak? How does understanding Hesed help you make a decision?
  3. Case Study: Responding to your spouse’s sinful behavior

If your spouse is behaving sinfully, what does Hesed look like? Blow up? Clam up? Speak your mind? Avoid? Appease? Or respond with Hesed. What would that look like?

V. For Further growth

  1. Read one of the books listed on your resources, summarize and give one way you applied truth from that chapter.
  2. Meditate on specific passages each day and write out a prayer of thanksgiving to God for His hesed.
  3. Write out one way each day that you had the opportunity to show hesed.
  4. Apply specifically to current conflict.


Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.