Following the Unswervingly Loyal God
But I'm unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:6 MSG
"I will make what they meant for your harm into good if you follow me." the Spirit spoke to my heart as I wrestled with God the day after I was demoted.
After three years of doing everything they said was necessary to earn a promotion, I'd been in expectation to get one only to get demoted instead. It was a crushing blow, and I was so disillusioned that when God invited me to walk with Him in the park across the street from my hotel room, I was unsure if I even wanted anything to do with Him anymore.
But it was there that God issued an invitation for me to lay down my idols and follow Him instead. With trepidation and a soul spent from many hours of wrestling with the creator of the universe, I agreed.
It's been a little over three years since that day, and I have seen the unswervingly loyal love of God. Through mountain top experiences and valley lows, and every moment in between God has taught me more about Him and His ways. He has built my faith up and pruned my worldly ways back. He has proven He is always for my good, even when it is a trial that, at the moment, seems unfairly bad.
He has proven Himself to be unswervingly loyal to me, even though I am not unswervingly loyal to Him. That is why I follow Him as best as I can and pray for help when I can't.
Drink From the Well
Exodus 20:1-7 Ten Commandments for the Covenant Community
Then God gave the people all these instructions:
“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
“You must not have any other god but me.
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
Before diving into the ten commandments, God reminds the Israelites who He is by reminding them what He has done for them. Then, His first commandment is that the Israelites would remain loyal only to Him as He is to them. The New Living Translation titles this section commands for the covenant community. God was giving them the covenant agreement they were agreeing to enter into with Him.
If you have read even some of the books of the prophets you know that the Israelites are not faithful to this covenant but God is. Despite their inability to remain faithful, God is unswervingly faithful to them.
Write out an example of God being unswervingly faithful to you, even when you were not faithful to Him. How does this make you want to follow Him and His ways even more?
The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out,
“Yahweh! The Lord!
The God of compassion and mercy!
I am slow to anger
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
But I do not excuse the guilty.
I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren;
the entire family is affected—
even children in the third and fourth generations.”
Different translations of the Bible have different ways of trying to explain God's "hesed" or "chesed" love. The NLT calls it "unfailing love." The ESV calls it, "steadfast love and faithfulness," and Eugene Peterson paraphrased it as "unswervingly loyal love" in the Message version. However, My all-time favorite term for this kind of love God has for His people is from my favorite children's story Bible: The Jesus Storybook Bible. The author, Sally Loyd Jones, translates this love as "God's never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love." This is a great description of God's love for all of us.
How is God's "unfailing love" different from the kind of love you have received from others humans or given yourself?
Psalm 23: A Psalm of David
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
In Psalm 23 verse 6, David ends with the same word for God's chesed love that Moses uses in Exodus. David lived a hard life. If you read through his life story you will see that he was nearly always in hiding, under attack, dealing with the consequences of his own sin, or that of a close family member. Yet, he penned that God's unfailing love went with him wherever he went, and that was the blessing that filled his cup to overflowing.
David learned to trust in the unswervingly loyal love of God through the peaks and valleys of life and find comfort in God's love rather than his circumstances.
How does that challenge you today? Ask God for help with trusting in His love no matter what is going on in your life.
Break Up with the World
1 Peter 1: 7-10
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
We live in success equals forward progress and good equals convenience and comfort culture. But what if God's definition of good is far better than ours? What if His unswervingly loyal love includes building our faith into pure gold like Peter tells the early church?
It is time to break up with the world's definition of success and follow the unswervingly loyal God through the peaks and valleys of life knowing He is always for our good even when we don't understand.
Father, you are so good. You are the definition of good and you know what is good for us far better than we even know for ourselves. Thank you for your unswervingly loyal love. Help me to trust you with my whole life. Help me to follow you. In Jesus's name, Amen.