I've been keeping out of the whole "Wrath" series of posts over at Jesus Creed, but got snagged over at Missio Dei in a side conversation! Here's most of what I had to say:
I've been blogging a bit about covenant and hesed over at my place in an attempt to help address parts of this issue that run into the limitations of the English "love" when compared to the depths of Greek, but especially the Hebrew concept -- where it is more like a multifaceted diamond.
We see that God's lovingkindness -- his faithful covenant keeping -- is almost always the Hebrew "hesed". The same can be said for "mercy". And when we move to the NT, we can add "grace" to the pot. These are primary attitudes -- love, grace and mercy -- that are all a part of hesed. They are manifest in actions of submission, service and leading -- as summarized in the over 50 "one another" passages -- also examples of hesed.
And while I whole-heartedly agree that God is always in unity among themselves, it is challenging to see the various components of that infinite I AM-ness from our perspective as unified.
I believe that the concept of hesed, which is a huge love word, gets us closer to the reality. And, having said that, I believe that the primary attribute of God is their restraint.
It is restraint that keeps the tension between all the various components -- love, mercy, wrath, justice, sovereignty -- you name it. Restraint keeps the dance from going off-line, from stepping on toes, as it were.
Because you just cannot have relationship without restraint. And I believe that God is ultimately about relationship -- covenant relationship ... where hesed is seen in love, grace, mercy, submission, service and leading ... that is restrained in order for the best interest of the "other" to be truly served.
So, there you have it. From another angle. Best viewed with cHesed glasses! :^)