Reflecting on the sheer number of articles and comments about Lent over the last few days, I was challenged to spend some time focusing the next forty days leading toward Easter on the topic of grace. My plan is to share this journey over the next few weeks taking a scripture or two relating to God’s grace and digging into it, seeking the cord of God’s grace running throughout His Word and seeking to know Him better each step of the pilgrimage.
Today, I would like to begin with the first mention of grace in the Word of God. It is found in Genesis 6:8, but we will begin a little sooner for context. Starting in verse five it reads: “5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (NAS) The King James version uses the word grace.
First we note that the word used here translated grace from the Hebrew is Chen (khane) and the meaning denotes favor, grace, charm, elegance and acceptance (Strongs 2580). It is used sixty-nine other times in the Old Testament and is most used to mean favor or grace.
Next, Psalm 84:10-12. In the Holman translation (HCSB) it reads: “Better a day in Your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather be at the door of the house of my God than to live in the tents of wicked people. For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. Happy is the person who trusts in You, Lord of Hosts!” The Lord gives favor, grace and acceptance, not withholding the good from those who live with integrity. He also gives glory, Kabowd (kaw-bode’) glory, honor, glorious, abundance, riches, dignity, reputation, and reverence (Strongs 3519) and it is only used here in Psalms and in Ezekiel 1:28 where it speaks of his vision of the Lord. The psalmist here is longing for the house of God and setting the stage that even the most humble in God’s house receives His grace and glory as they live with integrity. Happy, blessed is the one who trusts in Him!
“The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. Though He scoffs at the scoffers, yet He gives grace to the afflicted. The wise will inherit honor, but fools display dishonor.” Proverbs 3:33-35 NASB The word for grace here is also Chen. He gives favor/grace to the afflicted.
The Creator of the universe loves His creation, He is for us and wants a relationship with each one of us. He longs for us to know and understand His true character through His Word and to interact with Him relationally, just as we long for close and loving relationships with our children both as they grow and in adulthood. As we long to give our children good gifts whether material, educational, or spiritual; He longs to give us good gifts like His favor and grace. Though I believe this with my entire heart, I also want to caution that we can not lose track of the fact He is God as I draw this parallel. We can have the tendency to want to create a god in our image and this is not what I have in mind when comparing God as Father to us as parents and our desires for our children. His ways and thoughts are much higher than ours but His Word proves it many times over; He is a good and loving Father who wants the best for His children.