Verse of the Week:
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:10-11 HNV
Since today is Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about LOVE!
Love as a word is thrown around a lot in our culture. So much so, that often it seems to lack meaning. Casual use has rendered it misunderstood. Language may be to blame for this to a degree. In English, we have only one word for love and therefore it gets used for everything from the most profound declarations of feeling for the person we most care for, to how much we enjoy a certain food, or activity, or musician, etc., etc.
But what is God’s definition of love and how does He express it in the word and in the world?
Choosing one verse can by no means do justice to the concept of love as expressed in the Bible, so a verse of the week format is less than ideal to discuss it. But for today’s purposes I will use the above verse to begin a discussion that can be pursued in greater depth in later posts. (So stayed tuned!)
The Hebrew word for LOVE is ahav–אָהַב–(Strong’s H0157). It appears in the KJV 208 times and is most often translated love(d). The first time it appears in the Bible is in Genesis 22.
And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
There are usually treasures that can be found by employing the “law of first mention” in the Bible, and this is just such an instance. We can learn much about what love’s got to do with it by examining the first appearance of the word in the Scriptures. Let’s take a look.
The passage in Genesis 22 is a type or shadow of God sending His only begotten and beloved Son to die as the ultimate sacrifice. The ram in the thicket represents Christ. God reveals Himself as Yehovah Yireh (Jehovah Jireh), or God Will See to it (provide). God was testing Abraham’s faith in Him, by asking him to sacrifice the son through whom God promised to establish His covenant with Abraham, and through whom his descendants would be named. Abraham’s act of faith would never be forgotten. Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, declares that Abraham believed that God is able to raise men from the dead, and when God prevented him from completing the sacrifice and provided a substitute, Abraham received Isaac back as from the dead. Centuries later, God fulfilled His promise to Abraham when through his seed God gave His only begotten and beloved Son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for the salvation of the world.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God fulfilled the ultimate act of love, from which He spared Abraham, and showed us what true love is. What wondrous love is this!
How then are we to love? According to this week’s verse, we are to love others sacrificially, not putting our own interests first, but others.
Jesus told us how to love God and others when He quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18b
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Live it out this week
Let’s think about the love that honors the Father and His Son this week. Look up verses about loving God and others in a way that fulfills His law. Choose those that speak to you deeply and memorize them. Rehearse them in your mind this week and live them out toward those around you. Here are a few to get you started:
Deuteronomy 6:5; 30:6; John 15:12-13; Romans 13:9-10; Galations 5:14; James 2:8; 1 John 4:9
Enjoy this beautiful old American Folk Hymn, What Wondrous Love Is This? https://youtu.be/-oqRuZAcOcU
Father, thank You for Your perfect love toward us which cost You more than we can ever imagine. Oh, for grace to love You more! In the name of Your Son, Jesus, who gave it all for us. Amen
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Featured image created at WordArt.com.