The Attributes of God – The Lovingkindness of God

The Lovingkindness of God

WE PROPOSE TO ENGAGE THE READER WITH ANOTHER OF His excellencies—of which every Christian receives innumerable proofs. We turn to a consideration of God’s lovingkindness because our aim is to maintain a due proportion in treating of the divine perfections, for all of us are apt to entertain one-sided views of them. A balance must be preserved here (as everywhere), as it appears in those two statements of the divine attributes, “God is light” (I John 1:5), “God is love” (I John 4:8). The sterner, more awe-inspiring aspects of the divine character are offset by the gentler, more winsome ones. It is to our irreparable loss if we dwell exclusively on God’s sovereignty and majesty, or His holiness and justice; we need to meditate frequently, though not exclusively, on His goodness and mercy. Nothing short of a full- orbed view of the divine perfections—as revealed in Holy Writ—should satisfy us.

The innumerable blessings on the Christian

Scripture speaks of “the multitude of His lovingkindnesses,” and who is capable of numbering them? (Isa 63:7). Said the Psalmist, “How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God!” (36:7). No pen of man, no tongue of angel, can adequately express it. Familiar as this blessed attribute of God’s may be to people, it is something entirely peculiar to divine revelation. None of the ancients ever dreamed of investing his “gods” with such endearing perfection as this. None of the objects worshipped by present-day heathen possess gentleness and tenderness; very much the reverse is true, as the hideous features of their idols exhibit. Philosophers regard it as a serious reflection upon the honour of the Absolute to ascribe such qualities to it. But the Scriptures have much to say about God’s lovingkindness, or His paternal favor to His people, His tender affection toward them.

The first time this divine perfection is mentioned in the Word is in that wondrous manifestation of Deity to Moses, when Jehovah proclaimed His “Name,” i.e., Himself as made known. “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exo 34:6), though much more frequently the Hebrew word, chesed, is rendered “kindness” and “lovingkindness.” In our English Bibles the initial reference, as connected with God, is Psalm 17:7, where David prayed, “Shew Thy marvelous lovingkindness, O Thou that savest by Continue reading