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Hebrew for Christians
The Light of His Countenance

Make thy face shine upon me

Save me in your chesed

by John J. Parsons

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Psalm 31:16[17-h] (BHS)

"Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake"
Psalm 31:16[17-h]

Ha'ira faneykha al-avdekha... "Make thy face shine upon thy servant"

IN HIS APPEAL to the Lord for deliverance, King David recalled the words from birkat kohanim (the priestly blessing) found in Numbers 6:23-37, and asked God to cause His face to "shine" upon him -- an idiom that meant to show favor or grace (as a face lit up with a smile). "My times are in your hand," David pled (v15), but be gracious unto me and look upon me in love because I am your servant.

Detail by Irv Davis

Hoshieini v'chasdekha... "Save me in your mercy"

King David understood that salvation – yeshu'ah - came from the chesed of the Lord, one of the thirteen middot (attributes) of God that the Jewish sages derived from the study of God's revelation to Moses (Exodus 34:6-7).

Often translated as "mercy," "lovingkindess," "steadfast love," or "compassion," chesed implies love and grace based on God's faithfulness to His covenantal promises.

The greatest expression of God's chesed was the gift of His Son as the sacrifice for our sin (2 Cor. 5:21). It was by the wounds and sacrificial death of Jesus that we have been healed from the power of death – that is, our eternal alienation from the "light of God's countenance." Indeed, Jesus tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9), the Just for the unjust, and overcame the power of death itself as demonstrated by His resurrection life. Because Jesus is forever the Lord and Master over Hell and death (Rev 1:18), the one who trusts in Him "dies" only that he might rise again and live forever with God.

As Jesus Himself said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die" (John 11:25-6). Indeed, even in the dark face of death we can boldly say, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:3-4).

When we put our hope in the chesed of God as shown through our Lord Jesus, we can be assured that God's face indeed shines upon us.


Psalm 31:16[17-h] transliteration

ha'irah faneykha al-avdekha, hoshi'eini vechasdekha

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