“……who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies…” Psalm 103:4
From the following reference ~
Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 1, p. 142). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
Checed (חֶסֶד, 2617), “loving-kindness; steadfast love; grace; mercy; faithfulness; goodness; devotion.” This word is used 240 times in the Old Testament, and is especially frequent in the Psalter. The term is one of the most important in the vocabulary of Old Testament theology and ethics.
The Septuagint nearly always renders checed with eleos (“mercy”), and that usage is reflected in the New Testament. Modern translations, in contrast, generally prefer renditions close to the word “grace.” kjv usually has “mercy,” although “loving-kindness” (following Coverdale), “favor,” and other translations also occur. rsv generally prefers “steadfast love.” niv often offers simply “love.”
In general, one may identify three basic meanings of the word, which always interact: “strength,” “steadfastness,” and “love.” Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness. “Love” by itself easily becomes sentimentalized or universalized apart from the covenant. Yet “strength” or “steadfastness” suggests only the fulfillment of a legal or other obligation. Biblical usage frequently speaks of someone “doing,” “showing,” or “keeping” checed. The concrete content of the word is especially evident when it is used in the plural. God’s “mercies,” “kindnesses,” or “faithfulnesses” are His specific, concrete acts of redemption in fulfillment of His promise.
This Psalm rehearses the abounding, plenteous and everlasting goodness and mercies of God. When the Lord appeared to Moses and proclaimed His name, He revealed Himself as, “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” As the God who is rich in mercy, with this abundant goodness and mercy being poured out upon us, how can we not freely give the same to others?
Ephesians tells us God “who is rich in mercy” loved and forgave us. When we understand the Fathers heart to sow mercy we won’t be so quick to form an opinion and hold our own judgments. We will freely give what we have freely received. We can be quick with our own judgments towards ourselves and others but this Psalm reminds us that He knows our frame and remembers that we are dust YET HE crowns us with this unfailing love and mercy. His desire is for mercy above judgment and Lamentations reminds us mercy is new every morning.
As we keep ourselves in the love of God, we are to look (on going, continuous action) for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, from this place of love we are not only receiving mercy but sowing this as He would.
How gracious it is to give what is not deserving, how wonderful to receive it.
Goodness and mercy, something we all need and something we all want.