Scripture: Proverbs 20:6, ‘Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?’
Observations: This proverbs compares what we say with what we really are. According to this proverb it isn’t so unusual for men to claim ‘unfailing love.’ The word here is the Hebrew word ‘hesed,’ which is used of God’s covenantal love, a love that is faithful and steadfast. But the reality is that while men say it, they don’t act it. That was certainly the case with God’s people the Israelites, they were constantly unfaithful towards the Lord. The truth is that our intentions are often better than we are. We want to be faithful, but we are unfaithful. Verse 9 says, ‘Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? (20:9)’ The truth is that our sinful hearts eventually get the better of us, and we do what we don’t want to (see Rom 7:18-19). If we can’t hope to be perfect, our only hope is to be forgiven for our imperfections. That’s why Jesus died on the cross, so that unfaithful people can be forgiven. But even more Jesus gives the Holy Spirit who helps us be faithful.
Application: Maybe the first application is that we ought to be careful in what we say. Not that we shouldn’t pledge unfailing love, but that we should also recognize our failings and sinfulness, and be quick to seek forgiveness and give it. But ultimately we need to be forgiven by God, and we need the Holy Spirit to grow unfailing love in our hearts. The unfailing love that we need the most is not ours, but God’s, the love he displayed in Christ’s death on the cross. Only God’s unfailing love can cover over our unfaithfulness.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, my hope is not in my abilities to love and faithfulness, but in the fact that You are perfectly loving, that You are faithful. Lord, I trust in your unfailing love that You displayed in Jesus on the cross, that he died so that I might be forgiven. Lord, help me to become more like You, that I would love others and be faithful in all things. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit that my heart might be transformed. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.