Day 15 - The Ahabah and Chesed Love of God-Part II

Day 15 - The Ahabah and Chesed Love of God-Part II

Friday, March 21 2014

Yesterday, on the 14th day of Lent, we discussed the love of God that we observe in Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Old Testament of the Bible.  We looked at the two Hebrew words for love that are used most frequently in the book: “ahabah”, the elective love of God, and “chesed”, the covenantal love of God.  Let’s continue examining the same topic today, the 15th day of this season…

The love of God for His people Israel, His “ahabah” and His “chesed”, are unconditional.  He did not love them because of what they were: “It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity … for you are a stiff-necked people … From the day you left Egypt until you arrived here, you have been rebellious against the LORD.”  (9:5ª,6b,7b)  Nor did He love them for what they did: “When I looked, I saw that you had sinned against the LORD your God; you had made for yourselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way that the LORD had commanded you … And when the LORD sent you out from Kadesh Barnea, He said, “Go up and take possession of the land I have given you.” But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. You did not trust Him or obey Him.”  (9:16, 23)

No, God loves His people simply because He does, because this is what He decided from the foundation of creation:  “The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all people … But it was because the LORD loved you …” (7:7ª,8ª).  And God loves His people for His name’s sake, as Psalm 106:7, 8 describes:  “When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.  Yet He saved them for His name’s sake, to make His mighty power known”.

The love of God for Israel is abundant and full of grace and favor:  He offered them His presence, His blessings, and His provision (2:7); His protection (23:14ª); His guidance (1:33); His mercy and His promise to always remember His covenant with them (4:31). He even declared that Israel was “His treasured possession” (7:6) and “His people” (26:18).

In response to this extraordinary love of God, what did Israel need to do? Because they had  entered into a “chesed” covenant with Him, Israel also had to love God in the same way He had promised to love His people. 

But the Lord wanted more from them than just cold and external demonstrations of love; He desired and demanded an exclusive and whole-hearted loyalty.  He told them in Deuteronomy 5:6ª,7: “I am the LORD your God … You shall have no other gods before me.”  And in Deuteronomy 6:4,5: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” And again in Deuteronomy 10:12: “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to Him, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul …”

The love of Israel for their God needed to have a dimension of fear and reverence: “It is the LORD your God you must follow, and Him you must revere…” (Deut. 13:4)  And in Deuteronomy 6:13ª:  “Fear the LORD your God, serve Him only …”

The love of Israel for their God needed to include the proper and sincere adoration commanded in Deuteronomy 12 and 13.

The love of Israel for their God also needed to be expressed through obedience to His laws and commandments: their obedience and their worship should have flowed from a heart full of love. Deuteronomy 11:1 says: “Love the LORD your God and keep His requirements, His decrees, His laws and His commands always.”

And even more importantly, Israel needed to love God because God had loved them first.  In the end, the main source of all love for God is found in God Himself.  “The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” (Deut. 30:6)  All love begins and ends only in God.
Dear friends: today let us also live in our God and heavenly Father’s “ahabah”, the love of election, and in His “chesed”, the love of covenant.   Ephesians 1:3-6 says: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.   For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.”

And in response to that “ahabah” and that “chesed” that have been poured out on us, we should also love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, with all of our souls, with all of our minds, and with all of our strength, because this is the most important commandment.   (Mark 12:30). Our love for Him should flow from worship that pleases Him: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.” (Hebrews 13:15).  And our love for Him should lead us to obey Him as He has asked us: “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15)

Dear friends: in the end, let’s remember that the main source of all love for God is found in God Himself, as 1 John 4:19 states: “We love because He first loved us”.  Every day, let us learn to live increasingly more in that love that begins only in Him–  that love that “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” – that love that “never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:7,8) – that “ahabah” love (elective love) and that “chesed” love (covenantal love) that God has for each one of us.

More Reflections [+]