Berean Church of Huntsville

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Links to Psalm Themes

Last week, when we unpacked the difficulty of translating Psalm 32:5, particularly when translation the Hebrew word “Nasa” (Forgive, to bear) I mentioned posting links to the root word study for aiding in some devotional time in your private study of the Psalms.  Here are those links.

Occurrences of the word “Love” in the Psalms (ESV, this will vary by translation):

Some of the key themes we talked about this past Sunday during our dialogue time are reposted here with the links.  Remember, that if you use BlueLetterBible (shortcut, use that clicking on the Book Filter on the right will give you just the Psalms.  For example, here is Redeemer in the whole Hebrew OT…

…and here it is in just the Psalms, so you can narrow a search.

Most of these searches have been narrowed to just the Psalms.

Yeshua – Salvation

Ahav – Love

Esher – Blessed

Checed – Mercy, Loving Kindness

For fun, you can combine searches so that you can look at words occurring together.  For example, here is “Love + Salvation” only using the exact Hebrew search it is “H157+H3444” (the word numbers are from Strong’s concordance)

Here is “Mercy + Salvation”

Here is a root of the word Salvation, “Save + Mercy”


For the broader view, to see how often a particular OT book is quoted or alluded to in the NT, check out this resource.

There is obviously a ton on this topic posted all over the net, and hundreds of books on the subject, but as always, the best resource is just looking at the cross references and reading the Bible for yourself.

Exodus to Grace

This devotional is from our “God is Love” series, from the sermon “Exodus to Grace”

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people. But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:39-47)

We have a very difficult time reconciling love and justice. We demand that the oppressed be set free, but do we demand that the oppressor be condemned? Some would see mercy, others would see retribution.  We can look back at the history of Israel, particularly in the Exodus, and see justice and oppression being balanced in a way as never before in history – the nation was called to remember the poor and oppressed because they were once poor and oppressed.  The justice that was demanded by the grumbling heart was one that could simply set boundaries, limits on retribution and action, but not one that could be free to extend the love that represents the character of God himself.  That takes a kind of discipline that allows us to work for good, in spite of the evil done to us, and thus to follow in the steps of Christ.  Freedom from the law came at a great price.  God freed Israel from Pharaoh, and they expected freedom from Rome in the Messiah they awaited; Christ came to free us from our own hearts, bound in grumbling, anger, and the bondage of imperfection.

Dialogue Questions:

    • Why do you think man struggles with power to oppress others to begin with? What is it about the human heart that causes us so often in our history to abuse power rather than use it for good?
    • How does God use justice as a stop-gap to limit the authority of those in power?  Does the law fix our heart, or just stop our hand?
    • How is Christ “the one Moses wrote about”?
      • What do you think of the New Testament interpretations of Christ as having fulfilled the types and patterns of the Old Testament?
      • Do you take this as later reinterpretation or do you see you Christ was the Messiah that Israel was waiting for?
    • What power does Christ follower have, really, to act out of love, rather than out of legal obligation?

Things to Pray about:

    • Pray for God to free the captive, bind up the broken hearted, and bring justice through our hearts renewed in Christ and our hands set towards His will.

God of Mercy

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.(Psalm 32:5)

The word “forgive” in Hebrew helps us to picture what the action really is – the one who forgives bears the cost of the one who owes the debt.  What is the debt?  We have a difficult time with words rarely used in our culture.  We better understand guilt rather than iniquity, rebellion instead of transgression, and imperfection rather than sin.  But forgive is a term we use quite a lot without really thinking about what the word implies.  We tend to think of forgiveness only as a blessing to the one forgiven and not as a cost to the one doing the forgiving!  David understood this and captured it in poetry unlike anyone before him in human history, at the same time feeling the weight of his emotional guilt for the outright rebellion in his heart towards God and yet still fully understanding that it was God who took that weight. The word forgive is, perhaps, something we have become too familiar with as “letting someone off the hook.”  We often tend to underestimate the impact of our mistakes on others; “oh, so-and-so is just being too sensitive, they need to get over it!”  Are we really in any place as the one who commits the error (and in most cases barely see it as an error to begin with) to estimate the cost of the damage?  How much imperfection does it take to make something no longer perfect?  We were created in the image of God.  We know instinctively, because we feel the guilt of it without ourselves, that we do not measure up to that perfect image and that we make mistakes, errors, and imperfections.  More often than not, we make matters worse when we cover that over to hide it.  The best we can do is seek grace when we offend others, why should this not be true of God also?  But we cannot undo the imperfection.  Instead, the only way for an imperfect person to stand before a Holy God is for a perfect person to take their place.  When God “bears the cost” of forgiving us, he alone is qualified to stand there as a perfect substitute for our imperfection, rebellion, and failures.

Dialogue Questions:

    • What do you think of the word guilt – do you ever experience this?
      • What causes guilt?
      • Can we still be guilty if we do not feel guilty?
      • If we are forgiven of something, do we still feel guilty for it?
    • We tend to think of sin as moral failure only, rather than the whole scope of our mistakes and imperfections. How does your view of God’s Holiness change if you honestly admit making mistakes and being imperfect?
    • Why does forgiving us cost God anything?  Why did it actually cost Him everything and not just a little bit?

Things to Pray about:

    • Spend some time this week in prayers of thanksgiving, just resting in the fact that God is gracious to us when we do not deserve it.  Pray for the others you know that really need to rest in grace.

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