Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Steadfast Love of the Lord, Day 1

Leslie Basham: What does it mean that God is steadfast? Here’s Lauren Chandler.

Lauren Chandler: Even if you’re faithless, "I will be faithful because I cannot deny Myself." God is faithful to you, to me, even when we blow it—steadfast love.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest, for July 27, 2017.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. That means that whatever you are going through today, even if it seems like you can't trust anyone or anything, you can lean on that steadfast love of the Lord.

My friend, Lauren Chandler, is going to help us better understand what that steadfast love is like. Lauren understands that circumstances can threatened to shake everything that we think is reliable.

She experienced that a number of years ago when her husband Matt was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Matt is the pastor of The Village Church in the Dallas area. Lauren knows well the pressures of ministry and the challenges of trying to serve people well in a broken world. But, as she's about to explain, you can always, always, always trust in the steadfast love of the Lord.

Lauren spoke at one of the True Woman conferences hosted by Revive Our Hearts. Today we're going to hear her message on "The Steadfast Love of the Lord." Since that time, she's written a book called Steadfast Love. We'll let you know how you can get a copy at the end of today's program. Now, here's Lauren Chandler reading from Psalm 107.

Lauren:

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron. Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep. For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.

They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits' end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants.

He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield. By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish.

When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow, he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes; but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks.

The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth. Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

This is the Word of God. Amen.

So, a little bit of a funny story: I really only have a couple of messages, and they usually all come out of Psalm 107 because the Lord has so entrenched that psalm on my heart. So when I was invited to speak here at True Woman, I was, like, "Oh, done. Psalm 107. I'll do it. That's it. I got that. I've got that talk. I've been meditating on it for three years now. I've got it."

So the speakers had a prayer call and Nancy starts off reading through Psalm 107. She kind of gives a survey, and then she talks about how that's going to be her message on Saturday. And I'm, like, "Oh no!" For just a second . . . I have a friend who says, "It felt like a God hug." It was, like He said, "You know what? That message that is burned on your heart, I'm burning on other women's hearts, and you are right in the middle of it, and look what I'm doing."

It's so encouraging to see similar things happening all over the world and all over the country. We're like, "Okay, I can identify with that. I know the Lord like they know Him." There's just this sense of belonging to something greater than us. We don't have to know each other or sit across from coffee every week to "get" each other.

So, if anything, it was, "I'm working. I'm doing something bigger than you. So rest in it." So I'm going to let Nancy kind of do the survey of the entire Psalm, and what I'm going to do is focus on two parts that the Lord has really drawn me towards and what He has for me in this season where I am right now.

The first part is going to be those first, I believe, three verses. I'm going to read them one more time.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.

I've loved this psalm, and I've come back to it over and over again. I think part of why I like it is that it's easily . . . I can find myself in this psalm somewhere. Those four circumstances, I've been in every one of those seasons. I've been in the desert where I'm, "Lord, where are You? I'm unsatisfied. I'm dry. I'm hungry. I'm thirsty. Don't You tell me if I hunger and thirst after righteousness, You will fill me? Where are You?" I've been in that desert, and I've felt lonely, and I've felt longing without a sense of fulfillment. I've been there, and He's delivered me. He's led me out.

And then I could see myself in the chains, too. We're all born in chains. We are born coming out of the womb with our . . . I have a friend who wrote a book called Orange Jumpsuit, referring to jail clothes pretty much. We are all born in these little orange jumpsuits. We are all bound toward rebellion. We are bound toward our flesh. We are born with Adam's blood rushing through our veins. And so we all start out in chains, and by God's grace He delivers us, and He grafts us in, and He gives us a good older brother in Jesus. And so longer will we have Adam's blood running through us, but we will have Jesus' blood covering us.

And so I've been in those seasons of chains that have gone even deeper than just being converted where I've had this season of chains passed down from my family, just generational sins, wounds that I've received that I've held on to. So I've had that season of being in chains, and where God bowed my heart down.

He let me feel the weight of my chains. That's what's interesting about that right there is it says, "He bowed their hearts down with hard labor." It didn't say that they were in chains and then He delivered them. It says that they were in chains. I don't think they knew they were in chains, and so God bowed their hearts down so they could look down and see, "Gosh, these are heavy. This isn't what's supposed to be, and I can't break these. I can't take them off. I need You to do it, Father." And so they cried out. I've been there where He bowed my heart down. He grieved me over my sin. So I saw my chains, and I cried out for Him to rescue me.

And then I've been in this season of folly where, and I would describe this, and what I believe is somewhat going on here, is even someone that's been in that season of chains and God delivers them, but then they still act like they have the chains on. They still live a life like they're bound to sin. They still live in the flesh as if they have never been released and freed and no longer bound to the law of sin and death but now alive to the spirit of life, the law of the spirit of life. I've been in that season where I've acted like I still have my chains on.

And then I've been in the storm, and I will get to that part. So I could find myself in all four of those seasons very easily.

I also love it because it's very poetic. There is a lot of imagery. There's a cadence, a rhythm to it. I lead worship. I love singing. I love (when I can and I have the time) writing worship songs and writing songs. So I'm drawn to this because it was set up a little bit more like a worship, a modern worship song because you can see the verses; you can see this refrain.

If you'll notice, there's almost like this repetition of this one verse in particular word for word: "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress," and "Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!" That's just like a good song. It's got a cadence, a rhythm. You can find the verses, you hear the chorus, and you can just kind of start singing it with the people that this was originally written to.

So I loved that I could find myself in it; it was poetic; it was like a worship song, and then God has just not let me get away from it.

So I have a dear friend. Her name's Lisa. And if you were in here in the last session, I talked about her. She was my daughter's horse trainer and has now practically become a part of the family. One of the things I love about her that was true before she was saved but now the Lord's, like, refining it, and it's even more beautiful, she's like a kid.

Like, she gets so excited and worked up. She loves George Strait. This is so sad, but this just proves how I love Lisa and I love my family. Because I had a friend whom I asked in December, "Hey, do you get tickets for George Strait?" She kind of has the hook up.

And she said, "Oh, let me check. Okay?"

And I checked in with her one time, and I would have gotten them for free. Any time you're getting something for free, you don't want to be, "Hey, where's my free stuff you promised me?" You want to be grateful and gracious and give them time, give them space.

Well, I never really heard back from her, and so June comes around. June 6 or 7 is when the concert was. It was the cowboy rides away. It was his last one in Dallas, Cowboy Stadium. I was talking about going to my family's reunion that weekend, and she says, "Oh no, wait! I've got those tickets for you. You're not going to a family reunion, are you? I've got these. I thought you wanted these tickets."

I was, like, "Are you kidding me?" I can't believe I missed out on George Strait tickets, on his final . . . Okay. There are not many George Strait fans here, sorry. I love country music and George Strait. I was so bummed.

I just felt like I was supposed to go to my family reunion to minister, honestly, just the ministry of presence, to be there. Some of my family, they're not believers. So the ministry to just have conversation with them. I was, "Lord, I've committed to that."

So guess who got the tickets? Lisa. Lisa got the tickets, and she was undone. She sat with some friends of ours, and they said every time there was a new person to sing . . . Faith Hill sang, and all these different mega country stars came to sing with him. She'd run down to the bottom. She's fifty-two years old, y'all. She'd run down to the bottom, and she would just watch, and she would listen, and she'd go, "Oh, my gosh, it's George Strait!" She just was beside herself.

And it's not just George Strait that does that for her. Anything. She just gets so worked up, so excited. She's got to share it with you. I talked about how she talks a lot. She does, and she knows it, and I tell her. She won't be offended if I say this. But she will just talk and talk and talk because she wants to share this with you.

She'll say, "I'm so excited about what's going on with these horses."

I'm, like, "Lisa, hold on. I just need to know when to pick up Audrey. You can tell me later. I just need to know when to pick her up."

She'll say, "Oh, oh, oh, okay."

But, that's what's kind of going on at this "call to worship." We've got this psalmist, this worship leader saying, "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Give thanks to the Lord for His steadfast love. Look at what He's done in my heart. Look what He's done for these people. Look how good He is. Look, that He delivers, that He redeems. This is a good God."

And so I imagine Lisa, that, "Oh my gosh! This is a good God! Look what He has done for me!"

I pray that I'm like that, that I won't shut up about how good God is and how He has delivered me.

So this is the call to worship. This is Lisa's portion of, "Y'all gotta hear this. You've gotta hear this story. I don't care if you want to know what time to pick up Audrey. I'm telling you this story." And so this is what's happening in this call to worship.

Here's the deal: We're all worshippers by nature. We might not be as demonstrative as Lisa is, but there is something that consumes our minds and our affections. God made us to be worshippers. He made us to see something that is good, that is excellent, and we want to tell people about it. And God made it so that we would look to Him, and we would say, "He is good. He is excellent. He's delivered me. I've got to tell it. I've got to do this. I've got to worship. This needs to be in overflow. I need an outlet for what He's done in me."

So I want to highlight a few words in this call to worship. The first one is LORD. And you'll notice it's in all caps, and this is YHWH. It's the most personal name for God, a name so sacred that the Israelites did not utter it. There are no vowels in it so that they could not say it out loud. It means "I AM who I AM." Most fundamentally, it is "One who is."

As I was studying about this name in particular, YHWH, I came across Exodus 6:2–8. God's really into names, if you haven't noticed that in the Bible. He likes to name people and rename people. And He likes to give His name to us to communicate something about who He is. Names help distinguish, and they help define.

So God purposely introduces Himself, YHWH, to Moses. Here's what it says in Exodus 6:2–8:

God spoke to Moses and said to him, "I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. Say therefore to the people of Israel, 'I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.'"

So here's Moses right on the cusp of God's using him to deliver His people. God appears to him and He says, "I AM who I AM. I am not just a covenant-making God. I am a covenant-keeping God."

And I think it's interesting where it says, "But by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them"—to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—which is weird because you look back, and you see the LORD in there. And so what scholars think is going on is though they might have called Him YHWH in their hearts, He had not really made Himself known as that to them in their hearts—if that makes sense.

So they might have known His name, but they didn't know the fullness of that name yet. He was reserving it for a time when He was going to deliver His people. And so He tells Moses, "You tell them I AM."

He is the God of the covenant who will act in a decisive way on behalf of His people. "I will bring you out. I will deliver you. I will redeem you. I will take you to be My people. I will be your God. I will bring you into the land. I will give it to you for a possession."

He's not just a covenant-making God, but the covenant-keeping God.

And so we get an idea where the psalmist is going to go later because he's going to say, "Not El Shaddai, not God Almighty; but YHWH, the God who delivers."

"I AM who I AM." It has this connotation where He makes Himself known to Moses as YHWH at that point in history right before He's going to deliver His people. So that gives a flavor to the rest of the psalm.

And then the next words I want to draw your attention to are steadfast love. The Hebrew word is hessed. This love (and I'm sure I'm not saying that right, but I'm from Texas) is the committed, unchanging, loving determination of the Lord who will never give up on those whom He has chosen for Himself. This love is the committed, unchanging, loving determination of the Lord who will never give up on those whom He has chosen for Himself.

Hessed, translated as steadfast love here, is loyal love involving two parties. It is a strong relational term. That quality that moved the person to act for the benefit of another without respect to the advantage it might bring to the one who expresses it. It is covenantal.

Second Timothy 2:13 comes to mind when I think about hessed. "If we are faithless, he remains faithful for he cannot deny himself."

I get that picture of steadfast love. Hessed in particular is a key theme in the book of Ruth, which is one of my favorite stories. It's where you've got Naomi. She moves with her husband and two sons to a foreign land, to Moab. There she loses her husband.

She has her two daughters-in-law and her sons, but then her sons die. And so she's left alone with her two daughters-in-law. So she decides to go back home and tells the daughters-in-law, "Go back to your homes. I mean, even if I were to marry now and have a son, would you really wait that long?"

She's pretty much lamenting, saying, "Call me bitter. Let me just kind of sit in my ashes and let me just grieve and let me be alone. Y'all go home. I'll be fine."

But Ruth says, "No." And she makes a hessed vow to Naomi. She says, "Where you go, I will go. Your people will be my people. Your God, my God." And so she makes that hessed vow that, "I am committed to you." And she goes.

So they go back to the home town, and they've got to figure out how to make a life. Two women living together, which is amazing just to think that Ruth left what she knew. She could have gone home, but she went with her mother-in-law, of all things. I don't know about you. I love my mother-in-law, and she lived with us for a while. But it's nice to have your own space. I will say that. I love her, though. She's the best mother-in-law.

Can you imagine? Just uprooting and going? But she did. She made that hessed vow. And she found favor in a man named Boaz, who just happened to be someone who could redeem her. Boaz showed hessed to Naomi and Ruth by taking Ruth to be his wife and taking them and redeeming their property, Naomi's husband's property, and her sons' property. And producing an heir through Ruth who became the great-great-grandfather of David.

There's a correlation of steadfast love, hessed and, again, redemption, so that YHWH/redemption, hessed/redemption.

And Ruth is a beautiful portrait of how that works itself out. And so if human hessed can look like that, imagine what heavenly hessed is like. "Even if you're faithless, I will be faithful because I cannot deny Myself." God is faithful to you, to me, even when we blow it—steadfast love.

Nancy: That's Lauren Chandler speaking at one of the True Woman conferences. She's been talking about the steadfast love of the Lord. That means that He will be faithful to us all the time—without fail, even when we're not steadfast ourselves. We'll hear part two of this message tomorrow.

Lauren has written about God’s love and why you can be secure in that love. Her book is called Steadfast Love. I’ve often said you’re either in a storm, or coming out of a storm, or about to head into a storm. This book, Steadfast Love, will help you find a secure anchor to hold onto during life’s storms. Lauren will explore Psalm 107 in this book. And she’ll share how the Lord was her anchor when her husband, Matt, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

We’d like to send you this book and help you know what it means to trust God to be your anchor in the storms of life. Ask for Steadfast Love when you call with your gift to 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, none of us want to go through storms. But tomorrow Lauren Chandler will explain why we sometimes need to head into a storm. Sometimes that’s exactly where we get to know the Lord in a deeper way.

Lauren: I want a pain-free life. I don't want to suffer. I don't want to see the people I love I love suffer. But more than I want a pain-free life, more than I don't want suffering, I want Him. He is the only true haven. I pray for you, that you would know Him the same—a good, loving God who has steadfast love for His people. He does all things to work for those whom He has called according to His purpose.

She’ll be back to talk about it next time on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to know you are loved by God. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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