What one word describes God, Yahweh, Jehovah best? Ahavah, love, because He is love. 1 John 4:8. But while the word ahavah is love in Hebrew it is much more, it is a very unconditional love. I used to wonder how God could forgive such major sins, even people in the Bible, like David who sent a man to his death to get his wife, and they had so many and harems, look at Solomon. David was a man after God’s own heart and Solomon wise. And that was old covenant, sin was wiped out year by year under the law.
That’s something to say about His character in itself, but then we have, the Brit Hadasha, the New Covenant or New Testament, what thousands of years of sacrifices had done for others, Jesus was about to do for all who would come and even reach back to take souls from paradise to heaven. And then we see the change in a man like Saul, persecutor of the Jews, meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus gave him a complete turn around. So much so he would state that he had wronged no man, and not only had held the the coats at Stephen’s stoning, he oppressed the Jews so that they were reluctant to believe in his conversion. But a true encounter with Jesus changes you, immediately and over time.
That is ahavah, God’s love and forgiveness at work in the Old and New Testaments. If He forgave because of the sacrifices of lambs, what about the Son, His own beloved Son, cruelly slaughtered to save us. This is deep forgiveness, it is pure and holy love, it is God, it is ahavah. He loved His creation that much, which is the essence of John 3:16.
Now, did He approve of everything? Of course not, did He have regrets, sure He did. He repented of things to Himself. Though He does look at us except through the love of Jesus, be sure the Holy Spirit is not fooled, look at Ananias and Sapphira. All they had to do was not to lie, no one even asked they donate all their money.
If you want to understand ahavah, you have but to look at parents, and I would say mothers especially, whose hearts have been broken by wayward children, prodigals, who would be welcomed home and even treated royally, yet they grieve the loss of an unrepentant child with having to, sometimes, more often than not back off and leave them to God.
If you would understand ahavah, you would do well to study the Greek equivalent of it, agape. Jesus uses the word agape to Peter, when asking if he loves Him. Peter’s answers will be using the word phileo, more of a friend love. Jesus asked Him three times and his answer the same. But Jesus met Him on His level as He does us. He will bend to listen. Let’s read a little from the Jewish Orthodox Bible.
But now remain emunah, faith, tikvah, hope, and ahavah, love, these shalosh, three. And the greatest of these is ahavah, love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Chaverim, friends, if Hashem, God, so had ahavah, love, for us, also we ought to have ahavah, love one for another. 1 John 4:11
Pachad fear, is not in ahavah, love, but the ahavah hashleimah, love of God casts out pachad, fear because pachad fear has to do with pachad fear of the onesh, punishmen and the one with pachad, fear has not been perfected in ahavah, love.
We have ahavah, love, because rishonah, first, He had ahavah, love for us. 1 John 4:18,19
We may love Him because He loved us first, but do we ahavah or agape? Can we say with assurance that we have wronged no one like Paul, being that confident in our change of heart and the forgiveness, cleansing and healing power of the blood of Jesus. Most of us would not consider ourselves the chiefest of sinners like Paul, but there are so many we overlook. Knowing to do good and not doing it is one, there are sins of ommission, the calls you don’t make, the clothes you didn’t donate, the little white lies.
While we are not murderers per se, have we not torn down others with our words at times? Myself included, even explaining the Word, and saying you are doing this, this or this, it is not always speaking the truth in love. I ask for the grace to explain better. People have a hard time understanding the depth of God’s love, they will think and speak badly enough of themselves and allow the enemy to assault their hearts and minds, it is easy for them to disparage others. See why they are sinners. Yet, believers are saved by grace. His blood has them covered, we need not torture ourselves or others but not get into condemnation.
Ahavah is not only a wonderful product made in Israel, lots of creams and lotions, it is a wonderful presence from heaven. Ahavah is a wonderful, a good and perfect gift from God, because God is love, by giving us Jesus, He gave us Himself. Rebecca Jones/ Dylan Gillis, Unsplash , thanks.