Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God's Lovingkindness, By Michael Card


Hesed and the Mystery of God's Lovingkindness

by Michael Card

  • Length: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: December 18, 2018
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4549
  • ISBN: 9780830845491

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God's identity is beyond what we could ever fully express in human words. But Scripture uses one particular word to describe the distinctiveness of God's character: the Hebrew word hesed.

Hesed is a concept so rich in meaning that it doesn't translate well into any single English word or phrase. Michael Card unpacks the many dimensions of hesed, often expressed as lovingkindness, covenant faithfulness, or steadfast love. He explores how hesed is used in the Old Testament to reveal God's character and how he relates to his people. Ultimately, the fullness of hesed is embodied in the incarnation of Jesus.

As we follow our God of hesed, we ourselves are transformed to live out the way of hesed, marked by compassion, mercy, and faithfulness. Discover what it means to be people of an everlasting love beyond words.

"Michael Card brilliantly leads us to discover the heartbeat of hesed, as he gives language to this virtually undefinable word. When he first shared with me his basic definition of hesed—'When the person from which I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything'—I couldn't wait to learn more. I've been completely moved by this book: first, to explore and experience an aspect of God's character I never knew before, and second, to let his hesed inspire me to live hesed every day."

Ginny Owens, singer and songwriter

"Michael approaches the rich concept of God's hesed love from many different angles. The result is an edifying collection of reflections on the shocking, loyal, and limitless love of God in Christ for us and the world. Read it and you will not only learn but sing hesed!"

Jonathan Dodson, lead pastor, City Life Church, author of Here in Spirit

"Michael Card has given his life to joining the wonder of Scripture with careful scholarship. He writes with the touch of an artist, the mind of a scholar, the heart of a pastor, and the reverence of a disciple. This book, focused on the character of a merciful God, is not just a book about words in Scripture—it is a thoughtful, beautiful meditation on the Word Incarnate himself, Jesus Christ. A wonderful book."

Russ Ramsey, pastor, author, Retelling the Story Series

Read an Excerpt


Preface: The Untranslatable Defining the Inexpressible
Introduction: A Word on the Meaning of Words

Part I. The God of Hesed
1. Opening the Door
2. The Definitive Encounter
3. Slow to Anger
4. Like No Other God
5. An Everlasting Refrain
6. A Prayer of Honest Rage

Part II. The Objects of Hesed
7. When Dinah Held My Hand
8. The Heseds of David
9. Ethan: “I Will Sing”
10. Moses: “In the Morning”
11. Jeremiah: “I Am Hesed”
12. Hosea: A Novel of Hesed

Part III. Hesed Finally Defined
13. Hesed and Truth
14. On Jesus’ Lips
15. How to Amaze Jesus
16. The One Who Showed Hesed
17. Paul and the Path to Redemption

Part IV. An Instinct for Hesed
18. Here, Rabbi, Take My Seat
19. Hesed in Post–AD 70 Judaism
20. Gemilut Hesed and Tikkun Olam

Conclusion: Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly: The Monumental Nature of Kindness
Appendix A: Occurrences of Hesed in Scripture
Appendix B: Comparison of Translations
Appendix C: A Vocabulary of Associated Words
Appendix D: For Further Study
Scripture Index


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Michael Card

Michael Card is an award-winning musician and performing artist. His many books include A Fragile Stone, Inexpressible, The Nazarene, and the Biblical Imagination Series on the four Gospels.