Living as a Covenant Community calls our attention to two Hebrew words with covenant meanings: berîth and hesed. Maharat Neiss points out, “The Hebrew word berîth traditionally referred to covenant that signified an agreement between two parties. But the word hesed, which is used less frequently, gives us the deeper meaning of covenant as the kindness or graciousness of God toward humanity in establishing a relationship.”
Berîth is the word that we often use when we are talking about covenants. In the Torah, we talk about Abraham, we talk about berîth—the covenant between parties. Hesed we really understand meaning kindness . . . (covenant). Yes, this is a kindness of God. This is God’s hesed, God’s loving kindness.
The Hebrew word for mercies is “Hesed” and it denotes the limitless nature of divine mercies.” There is a piece of wall that reads, “Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve.” Even though Ruth did not deserve to be married to Boaz so that she could carry on the family name of her previous husband, Boaz chose to give hesed.
In a covenant, two parties include one that is more powerful known as the suzerain, and one less powerful that is being protected in this covenant known as the vassal. God demonstrates this covenant faithfulness and loving-kindness in so many ways to His people as the more powerful one. He always keeps his Word to them, seeks after their welfare, and loves them like a groom loves his bride. One writer suggests “God’s covenant relationship with His people results in His loyal love and faithfulness [hesed], even when His people are unfaithful to Him.
Always at the heart of hesed lies God’s generous sense of compassion, grace, and mercy.” I think of Hosea when Gomer the prostitute he was called to marry continued to abandon him, yet his love extended beyond her failures and rejections. Or even as simple as Adam and Eve hiding in the garden and God the Father walking and gently calling for them. The Lord pursues us. He always has been, and He will pursue us every day of our lives.