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God’s radical love in the Hebrew Scriptures

April 15, 2024

Daily Scripture

Psalm 23:6, 48:9-11, 59:10, 16-17

Psalm 23
6 Yes, goodness and faithful love
    will pursue me all the days of my life,
    and I will live in the LORD’s house
    as long as I live.

Psalm 48
9 We dwell on your faithful love, God,
    in your temple.
10 Your praise, God, just like your reputation,
    extends to the far corners of the earth.
        Your strong hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Let Mount Zion be glad;
    let the towns of Judah rejoice
        because of your acts of justice!

Psalm 59
10 My loving God will come to meet me.
    God will allow me to look down on my enemies.

16 But me? I will sing of your strength!
    In the morning I will shout out loud
    about your faithful love
        because you have been my stronghold,
        my shelter when I was distraught.
17 I will sing praises to you, my strength,
    because God is my stronghold,
    my loving God.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The Bible contains several types of literature, each of which need their own interpretive lens. The Psalms were written as Hebrew poetry, likely to be sung, not just read or spoken. Readers today need to interpret elements of poetry like image, metaphor, simile, personification, hyberbole, and apostrophe (click here for a helpful guide to interpreting the Psalms as poetry). Today’s passages poetically sang of the “Already-Not Yet” radical love of God, expressed in the Hebrew word hesed. *

  • For us, “Already-Not Yet” means that on one hand, Christ’s Easter resurrection has “already” defeated death and love has overcome evil. On the other hand, the world around us is “not yet” fully restored to its intended wholeness. Long before Easter, Psalm 48 already sang of God’s faithful love, righteousness, and acts of justice. Where has God’s radical love “already” changed your life and the world around you? Thank God for how He is already working in and through your life.

  • News and social media remind us every day that our world is “not yet” fully restored. Suffering, pain, and injustice are all around us. Psalm 59:16 said, “you (God) have been my stronghold, my shelter when I was distraught.” When has (or is!) God giving you shelter when you have felt anxious? Easter means God already won the ultimate victory, but that doesn’t remove today’s pain. How does God’s radical love “already” give you hope and strength amid our world’s “not yet” realities?


Lord God, thank you for your radical love, not just for me, but for all of creation. Help me find strength in your “already” radical love so that I can persevere and find hope through life’s “not yet” realities. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Valerie Nagel

Valerie Nagel

Valerie Nagel serves as a Connection and Care Pastor at Resurrection Leawood. She was born, raised, and attended college in California. Her Master of Divinity degree is from Duke Divinity School. She began serving as an associate pastor in the Rio Texas Conference in 2011 in the Austin area and San Antonio. From congregational care and welcoming guests to leading in worship, Valerie loves the ministry of the local church. She juggles ministry with being a mom to Caleb (born 2012) and Jacob (born 2015), friend, avid reader, lover of the outdoors, beginner to the world of CrossFit, and foodie.

 For Pastor Adam, any experience in his week could become a sermon illustration. From his adorable pets to a recent medical procedure, life offers moments that may end up in one of his sermons. I would say that life hands me material that I can use for the GPS. I recently had the opportunity to spend a day with a five-week-old baby and it was wonderful.

It’s been a long time since I spent significant time with a newborn, but I was so excited to get to hold one. He mostly wanted to sleep on my chest while I rested on the couch, to drink his bottles, or to look around for the few minutes he was awake between naps. It was delightful, boring, and strangely exhausting. I had forgotten what it truly means that a newborn needs steady connection to a caregiver. Not much else gets done in a day when you’re holding a newborn. It felt like the world outside faded away. As I snuggled him, I thought, “Oh little one, you are so loved.” I knew I just had the day with him so I was focused on enjoying the gift of simply being present and sharing my warmth and comfort with him so his parents could work.

When I hold a baby, whether on a Sunday morning at the baptismal waters or because a friend hands me their little one, I’m reminded of the beauty of life. I’m also reminded that life isn’t equally safe, loving, or good for every person. Psalm 23 is one of my favorites and one I’ve read with countless people as a pastor. I love how our translation for today states verse 6: “Yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life.” God, the one who created the heavens and the earth, pursues us with love. And God was not content to love us from a distance. God took on flesh and came to us as a little, helpless baby. In Jesus we see how far God will go for love. When we are suffering, heartbroken, and hurting, we are never alone. Jesus knows our pain intimately and the good news of Easter is that we have hope. While we wait for the fullness of God’s kingdom, we catch glimpses of it here and now. And we get to share God’s love with others. We get to be a part of the love God is sharing and the good things God is doing in the world.

When things are difficult for you, it’s my prayer that you will remember that you are loved. And I pray that you will remember you are never alone. God loves you and our church family does, too. You are held in the arms of God’s love. May you find rest. May you feel safe. May you feel the goodness of God’s never-ending love for you.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* “ḥesed is one of the richest, most theologically insightful terms in the OT. It denotes ‘kindness, love, loyalty, mercy’…. The Psalms effusively proclaim the steadfast love of God (e.g., Psalm 31:7, 32:10; 57:3; 59:10; 94:18; 143:12). God’s abiding love stabilizes (Psalm 94:18, “When I thought, ‘my foot is slipping,’ your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up”) and sustains life (119:88, “In your steadfast love spare my life, so that I may keep the decrees of your mouth”). God’s great self-disclosure, when allowing his glory to pass before Moses, includes ḥesed (Exodus 34:6-8).” From William D. Mounce, general editor, Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Zondervan, 2006, p. 427.