Hesed is a Hebrew word best translated into English as “loving-kindness.” Loving-kindness is loyalty, kindness, goodness, favor, and mercy—all motivated by deep affection.
A mother bear will instinctively go to great lengths to protect and defend her cubs if she senses danger or harm towards them. She will battle wolves, predators, and even a lone male bear to ensure the safety of her young cubs. Familiar with stories of a mother bear’s commitment to protect her cubs, we have adopted phrases such as “fierce as a mama bear” and “don’t make me go mama bear on you!” These convey our understanding of the resolute protection of an angry mama bear. The Lord created the mama bear to have such overpowering instincts that she would naturally go to heroic lengths to protect her cubs.
Of course a mother bear’s determined and fierce protection exponentially pales in comparison to God’s hesed love and faithfulness towards us. Yet it is often times easier for us to appreciate the mama bear’s instincts rather than to grasp a deeper understanding of God’s unwavering love and faithfulness toward us. But as we draw the parallel of that fierce and abiding love, we begin to grasp the depth of the Father’s heart for us.
Hesed is also the term for covenantal love. Thus, hesed is most certainly the heart of God towards us. Understanding more about hesed awakens us to deeper insight into the heart of God toward us. Hesed is the steadfast love that God has for us; it is the kind of love needed to fulfill and keep covenant. He is above all, faithful and true. He has pledged himself to us in the unbreakable bond of blood covenant. His love and faithfulness are airtight and unending. He is the one who fulfills it, for he is able. He initiates, fulfills, and maintains the covenant with us, far surpassing man’s ability to keep this airtight covenant.