“AHAVAH – LOVE”
Shalom Partner and Friend of Israel,
This month’s teaching study is on the word "Ahavah" "Love." Our hope is that you will enjoy reading it and be blessed with the perfect love of our loving and merciful God! English word "Love" is in Hebrew; "Ahavah" pronounced as: Ah-hah-vah.
Then God Eternal fashioned the man - dust from the soil - and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that man became a living being." (Genesis 2:7)
If you listen closely to the word, "AHAVAH" is the sound of breathing… Ahh – Hahh – Vahh; the first syllable is an exhalation. The second syllable is an inhalation. The third syllable, vah, has its own distinct meaning in Hebrew, "came." God exhaled… man inhaled… love came! No other word comes forth from the mouth so easily. No other word connects us so naturally to God. God’s gift of life is a gift of love. If not for the love of God, we wouldn’t be here. God’s gift of love is our gift of life... Our heart, our soul, our might are merely some of the many gifts of love that God has given us.
Can we truly understand or even try to comprehend the "Ahavah" – Love of God for us…? We don’t understand why God loves us… but thank God He does! When mankind stumbled into sin and was contaminated by it, God would have been justified in stamping us out. He could have started over with another creation but right there in the Garden of Eden God announced that the Saviour would come from the seed of a woman and bruise the "serpent’s" head (Genesis 3:15).
We are just not able or qualified to understand this "Ahavah" love. Yet, we un-deserving, were redeemed with "love and mercy" through God’s own blood!
The description is from a Hebrew perspective, and when Scripture refers to the "Love of Yahweh," which is also the "Ahavah" "Love"… we should have towards one another is; the giving, or sharing, of ourselves without the limitations of the physical, emotional, intellectual elements or a combination of any of these. And, without giving from, or of ourselves, no relationship can be enduring or can endure without Love, because without Love, we are nothing! (1 Corinthians 13)
The word Ahavah is a literal translation of the Hebrew which means a pure love and referred to the word "worship" as the maximum expression of love that can be given to God, hence the name "Ahavah." For this reason, the true form of understanding and interpreting this concept is returning to the roots, which lie along the Word of God.
"You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul... and with all your might." (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Hebrew, as one may know, is considered by the Bible to be the first language. It is the language through which God spoke in creating the world. Hence, Hebrew was not just created by God, but utilized by God in creating the world. Much wisdom is attributed to the words and letters in the Hebrew language. Understanding the concepts that are invested in words can aid us in our own lives. As an interesting example, the word "love" which is thrown about so freely in English, has a special meaning in Hebrew.
Love in Hebrew is "Ahavah,"four letters of the Hebrew Alphabet; "aleph, hey, bet, hey" which is made up of three basic Hebrew letters; "aleph, hey and bet." These three letters actually are broken down into two parts: a two letter base or root; "hey and bet," and the first letter, aleph, which is a modifier. The meaning of the two letter base: "hey and bet"… is "to give." The letter "aleph" which precedes these two letters comes to modify the meaning of the base word, "give."
The meaning of "Ahavah" is "I give" and also "I love!" We now see the connection between the two words – "I give" and "I love." Love is giving…! Not only is love giving, but the actual process of giving develops the very connection between the giver and the receiver. There is no greater giving than that of a husband and wife. Each one gives to the other. The more giving that one does, the greater is the connection… Why…? The process of "giving" is a vehicle through which the giver through his act of giving is able to, through a physical gift (or even a verbal comment), give of oneself to another. This act of giving something is not merely helping another. For sure, giving is helping another… but it is MUCH more than that!
"Giving" is a method that enables us to make a connection to another… When we give to another, that which we give to him/her… could have been utilized to further for one’s own self. Therefore instead, we choose to take this object, which could have been utilized for our own needs and instead… use it for someone else. Giving is a condition that creates and sustains love. In Hebrew without the act of giving, there is no connection that is sustaining. The true relationships that are meaningful in our lives are those in which mutual giving takes place. The giving may be physical, emotional, intellectual or a combination. But without giving from ourselves, no relationship can be enduring. That is the secret of "Ahavah" love that is revealed to us by the Hebrew language. This is the secret that is invested in the language by YHVH (Yahweh).
Thus, the first Hebrew letter in the Hebrew word for Ahavah (love) is the letter "aleph,"… which also happens to be the first letter in the Hebrew aleph-bet (alphabet)… The letter Aleph is the Father in the Hebrew aleph-bet… as it represents the "beginning from which all things were created." And, as this letter is the ‘modifier’ in the word "Ahavah," which means it enriches the word and expresses a whole new level of understanding. Abba… our Father, our King… "Avinu Malkeinu."
To ‘give’ something simply does not mean to ‘share’ something, as our English (western) mind-set would have us think; it means much more than that.
But, to ‘give’ something in the Hebrew word "Ahavah" means to also "connect" with the one you Love. So, when the scripture refers to the word "Love," it actually says that YHWH - God so loved us that He "gave us" or "CONNECTED with us" through His only brought-forth Son, Yeshua (Jesus) that who ever believes in Him, shall not perish, but possess everlasting life. When PURE and TRUE Love is shared… a "connection" is made! You can only connect with something if there is a Way to connect through.
Ahavah also is TRUTH… because "Ahavah" "Love" cannot deny itself. Ahavah (Love) also gives "chai" (the word ‘Life’ in Hebrew and pronounced as ‘gh-ai-ee’). The literal meaning for "Life" ("chai") in Hebrew, and in Scripture, means; "to cause to be; to be living; to be alive; to be full and complete of and in existence in every element of being.
So, when Yeshua (Jesus) said that… "He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life"… He was literally saying… "I AM the connection to the Father, through LOVE, that causes ALL existence to be living… There is NO other way to the Father, except through Me." Why did He (Yeshua) say this? Because, it took pure "Ahavah / Love"… One to be without blemish! One not born of man, from the flesh of men… but, rather born through and in Spirit! Because by the "Ruach" Hebrew word for "Spirit" is by how which we exist… and "Ruach" (Spirit) literally means to "Breath" or, the very breath of YHWH, God.
"Ahavah" is two words of Hebrew as it is also connected with mercy… The Hebrew words are, "Ahavah" and "Chesed" meaning loving-kindness or mercy!
Love can be so illogical. Of course, the love of a mother for her child is logical… we can understand maternal love. But, sometimes there is simply no human reason why we love someone. Love is its own justification. An example is when two people are in love; their "chemistry" sparks… even when the pair seems to be mismatched!
Now consider the God’s "Ahavah" love for Israel… there is simply NO human explanation for it. The New Testament calls the whole "turbulent" relationship between God and Israel a "mystery" (Romans 11:25) and "Indeed as regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes. But as regards the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." (Romans 11:28) Humanly speaking, Israel is no better then any other nation… BUT, because of His eternal Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and the prophets, God has maintained a LOYAL love for Israel throughout the centuries, even when He withdrew His visible affections.
Israel has suffered dearly throughout the centuries for her disobedience, unbelief, desertion, pretence and, finally the rejection of the Messiah.
History has borne this out to the horror of any sensitive soul in studying the terrible, almost unspeakable woes what has befallen the Jewish people. We are saddened and unable at times to read the accounts or look at the horror they have experienced in the world… especially in the holocaust. Sadness of these sufferings brings tears and deep feelings of this tragedy and the rift between the Lord and his original "Great Love" for the people of Israel! Certainly the hatred and cruelty that hunted and overtook the Jews in their centuries of wanderings have been grossly abnormal and indeed severe. Israel has found NO rest in her weary wanderings for disobedience in Deuteronomy 28. Israel today is yearning for her Messiah and is weary with all threats of war, rejection of the world and lack of peace that can only be filled by Yeshua, "The Prince of Peace!"
Its’ a divine love story… God and Israel! It’s a love story that we sometimes are just unable to fathom… how blind can love be especially when someone is undeserving?
God’s "Ahavah" LOVE for Israel is like one of a "wounded lover." The Book of Hosea is one of broken hearted love… for Israel! And, God’s love for Israel is in a sense blind… because when Israel chooses to return to Him, He will remember her sins NO more. Balaam was asked by King Balak of Moab to curse Israel, but he made this amazing prophecy in Numbers 23:21, "He has not seen iniquity in Jacob, neither has He seen perverseness in Israel. Jehovah his God is with him, and the shout of a king among them."
Both parties are wounded…! Israel is also like a wounded lover. Today because of the horrors of the holocaust she finds it difficult to believe that God still loves her. She was betrothed to Him with every kind of sensational wooing possible… great signs and wonders, manna from heaven, a covenant of health, a shield from her enemies. The opening of the Red Sea for Israel to escape from Pharaoh and the Egyptian army is the most spectacular miracle recorded in the Old Testament… But Israel’s loyalty to this great and awesome warrior lover was not long lasting. And Israel’s one-sided love was like a sword that pierced the heart of God. A Roman soldier literally pierced His heart with a spear when the Lord died on a tree to demonstrate His love for us all (John 19:34).
Figuratively, speaking, a sword had already been plunged centuries ago into His Father Heart, when Israel abandoned Him. In the past times, God and Israel have been through so many good and bad times together that God the faithful lover is craving and longing for their reconciliation. But still,
God has NEVER given up on Israel and NEVER will; "And it shall be at that day, says Jehovah, you shall call Me, My Husband (Ishi), and shall no more call Me, My Baal (my master)… And I will betroth you to Me forever. Yea, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth you to Me in faithfulness. And, you shall know Jehovah (the Lord). Hosea 2:16, 19-20
The Jews are the KEY to God’s heart. When they as a people, rejected Yeshua (Jesus) as their Messiah, they broke His heart, BUT when Christians rejected the Jews, God’s heart was broken all over again...!
And the LORD said to me (Hosea); "Go again. Love a woman beloved by a friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of Jehovah toward the sons of Israel, who turn to other gods, and love raisin-cakes of grapes. So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a homer of barley and a half homer of barley. And I said to her, you shall abide for me many days. You shall not be a harlot, nor be for a man. And I also will be for you. For the sons of Israel shall live many days with no king, and no ruler, and with no sacrifice, and no pillars, and no ephod, or teraphim. Afterward the sons of Israel shall return and seek Jehovah their God and David their king. And they shall fear Jehovah and His goodness in the ends of the days." (Hosea 3)
Often we have heard of the saying, "divorce is likened to death" and the Lord bluntly declares in Malachi 2:16, "I hate divorce." He clearly doesn’t approve of it but He condoned it concerning His relationship with Israel… on the grounds of desertion and unfaithfulness. He repeatedly tolerated Israel’s adulteries with pagan gods. He issued warning after warning until finally He had to give faithless Israel a notice of divorce.
The Lord wavers between destroying and healing Israel this brazen woman. In the Book of Hosea, Jehovah lets down His guard and openly reveals His emotions concerning the nation… like a wounded, tortured lover; His resolve to punish is suddenly drawn back in disgust or the thought of it because of His great love. Hosea 2:10; 2:19 and 14: 4
Notice the tone of incredible sadness, anguish and hurt in the voice of God… "Jehovah also said to me in the days of Josiah the king; ‘Have you seen that which backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and has fornicated there… And I said after she had done all these things; ‘Turn to Me!’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it... And I saw, when for all the causes for which backsliding Israel committed adultery, I sent her away and gave a bill of divorce to her, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she went and whored, she also.’" Jeremiah 3:6 - 8
Nevertheless throughout Scripture the Lord makes it clear that the divorce with Israel is only temporary as we read in Hosea 3. Nothing can sum this up for us more than the following quote from an amazing woman who was born ‘blind’ with a hope that someday she would see; "Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know… because in that other room I shall be able to see." Helen Keller
One of the saddest verses in the Bible for us is the ones in Luke 13:34 - 35; Luke 19:42 - 44 and Matthew 23 that says, "Jesus wept over Jerusalem!" Even today as we write this we are touched by the deep sense of love that He felt as He wept over Jerusalem. Every time we go to Jerusalem we feel this immense sadness for this City of God, but nothing can ever explain these tears and deep heartbreak of our Lord.
Reading the Book of Hosea is like peeping into the private love diary of God... In these agonizing chapters we are given a glimpse into the heart of God who loves passionately. Yet, in this deep yearning love, His sense of justice is clear as we can see Israel portrait as a heartless lover. And, still we see even deeper still that He will take her back; Ezekiel 36:22; Hosea 2:10, 9; 14:4.
God’s love diary, the Book of Hosea, one of the similarities is that of a merciful lover. Israel is compared to the Olive Tree and a "mystery." Israel is the original "Olive Tree" representing God’s Covenants and blessings… the tree is not dead! The root is alive and has always been throughout the centuries with a remnant of Jewish people in Israel. God’s amazing "Ahavah" love for Israel has not changed!
"For there is hope of a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again and its tender branch will not cease. Though its root becomes old in the earth, and its stump dies in the dust, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant." Job 14:7 - 9
Gentiles, the Church, the "wild branches" were mercifully "grafted" into the Jewish tree of blessing and salvation along with the branches that were not broken off. The Apostle Paul says; the root supports the Gentiles’ ability to live in the tree! We Gentiles must immediately feel humbled by this amazing grace and love of God. And towards our benefactors in the Olive Tree, ever praising God for the wonder of our salvation and honouring the remnant of ancient Jewish people for their hospitality in their "Tree," partaking of all the blessings… and all the promises of their covenants! What kind of people would we be if we never paid our debt to the Jewish people, or showed them any love or kindness, or shared with them this deep love of Yeshua, our Saviour?
"Ahavah" Love like that shown from our God towards Israel is one that we can learn from… it’s one that forgives and forgets!
May the Jewish people truly have the grace to forgive us Christians too, just as our God is gracious to forgive all of us for our past errors, through the pogroms, holocaust, rejection, inquisition, crusades and the suffering caused to His chosen people. Today as the dark clouds of anti-Semitism rise again, how can we turn our backs and say we love Yeshua (Jesus) but not care for those He deeply loves and wept over? Like the Gentile, Ruth, we believers must align ourselves with His holy purposes and say: "…your people will be my people!" (Ruth 1:16)
The Church is called to be the "peacemakers" and act as "go-betweens" for this "estranged and wounded" love relationship between God and Israel. You say; how can we do this? Read the chapter of Romans 11. Moses was a mediator between God and Israel… How can we be? Paul gives us the key. His is not human wisdom… but divine; he instructs us, that it is through our mercy that Israel shall obtain mercy! Romans 11:31
At this moment our God and Israel are yet to be reconciled… how can we rest? As believers in this golden hour we don’t want to miss the significance of this opportunity to be used of God for Israel.
"You will no more be called Forsaken; nor will your land any more be called Desolate; but you will be called My Delight is in her, and your land, Married; for Jehovah delights in you, and your land is married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so will your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so will your God rejoice over you. I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, who will not always be silent all the day nor all the night; you who remember Jehovah, do not be silent… And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth." (Isaiah 62:4 – 7)
We must give Him no rest until this relationship with Israel is restored. And in that day, Israel the prodigal wife now in her right mind, will humble herself and cry out the words… "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Matthew 23:39
Like Yeshua, it is our love and tears that will win the Jewish people back. If we sow mercy we will reap mercy too!
"Ahavah" Love has its own power!
We hope that you enjoy and become more informed by our work. We serve an awesome God and we are humbled by this opportunity to bring you this information. With Shalom to you and your family always,
Alf & Julie Saunders
15th January, 2014
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