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What is both tender and firm?

Usually, we would not think that something could be both “tender” and “firm.” We might think of a piece of meat and want it either tender or firm, but not both. If something was both tender and firm, we might consider it to be deformed or undesirable.

Is it possible that something could be enhanced and superior because it was both tender and firm? In 1833, Robert Grant penned the hymn, “O Worship the King.” The last verse begins, “Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail; Thy mercies, how tender! how firm to the end!” The “mercies” (plural) of God are both “tender” and “firm”!

Repeatedly the psalmists praise the “tender mercies” of our God (Psa. 25:6; 40:11; 51:1; 69:16; 78:8; 119:77, 156). Where would we be without His “tender mercies”? But His mercies are also “firm”! Every verse of Psalm 136 resounds, “His mercy endures forever.” Yes, “His compassions fail not” (Lam. 3:22) and have not yet “ceased forever” (Psa. 77:8). Thank God for His tender and firm mercies!