Wednesday, March 14, 2012

RAV-CHESED / Abounding in Love

Aren't you so glad that God's love is not based on beauty, personality or merit?  God's love is a moral attitude dedicated to our good, regardless of whether we are desirable, worthy, or even responsive (see Deut. 7:7-9).  God doesn't love us because we are lovable and worthy of His love but because love defines His character.  Love is what He is all about.  "God is love" (1 John 4:8)

In fact, God's love is deeper and more steadfast than even that of a mother for her children (Isa. 49:15; 66:13).  That can be hard for us to imagine!  It is so strong that it makes Him stay comitted even when we are not.  It is so deep that it causes Him to feel affection even when we do not.  I for one, am very grateful for THAT.  I'm so glad that God isn't as 'wishy-washy' as we can sometimes be!!  Aren't YOU?     

The ladies' group I'm in is doing a Bible Study on the names of God.  It's amazing to me that I can somehow come to know God in a more deeper way by His revealing Himself to me through some of His names.  I wanted to share this one with you.....

RAV-CHESED  (means Abounding in Love)

The LORD, the LORD, . . . abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Exodus 34:6

The dictionary defines love as "a feeling of warm personal attachment or strong affection." This definition is mirrored in the Hebrew word for love, ahab, which means: "to desire, to breathe after, to be inclined toward, to delight in." The Lord has a feeling of warm personal attachment and affection for His people.  He used the word ahab when He said: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness" (Jer. 31:3).

The word ahab is used in the Old Testament to describe strong affection for another based on relationship.  The Lord God delights in us and is inclined toward us.  He desires - "breathes after" - us with affectionate (ahab) love.  But there is another - richer, more powerful word that is used throughout Old Testament Scripture to describe God's love for us: the Hebrew word chesed.

Chesed speaks of love that is firmly rooted in God's character.  It involves loyalty, steadfastness, and covenant commitment, as well as kindness, tenderness, and mercy.  Chesed is the type of love that accepts moral obligation for the welfare of the person loved.  It's a love that doesn't depend on the response or behavior of the receiver but rather on the steadfast character and commitment of the giver.

Ahab has to do with feelings, whereas chesed implies a mind-set and mode of interaction rooted in deep values. 

Scholars have offered many suggestions as to how chesed should best be translated.  It is extraordinarily difficult to come up with an English equivalent; thus, different translations use different words: "steadfast love," "constant love," "unfailing love," "great love," "mercy," "kindness," "loyal love," "loving-kindness."  But chesed is so deep with meaning that all renderings in English can only approximate the richness of the original. 

God's feelings of tenderness toward us will never change because His commitment to us doesn't change!  YOU are the object of His love!!  In His infinite wisdom He knows you completely.  He loves you tenderly.  He loves you faithfully.  He knows all of your sins, your short-comings, and your failures - AND HE STILL LOVES YOU!!

(taken from "Knowing God By Name" by Mary A. Kassian)

As single women, most of us long for someone to love us this deeply, but we search for that love in all the wrong places!   A lot of us would rather "settle" for something less than God's best because we are impatient, and because we are afraid of growing old alone.  What if God never brings "Mr. Right" into my life?
I challenge you to take the time to learn some of God's names.  Work on getting to know Him in a more personal way.  There have been nights I have gone to bed and felt exceptionally "alone" and prayed that God would hold me in HIS arms that night while I slept.  And I can tell you that I woke up the next morning feeling more rested and refreshed than I had in a long time! 

I've asked Him this week to let me feel His chesed love - and that is my prayer for you as well!