This blog will serve as introduction for this week’s Advent theme of love! You will need to check back daily as I will be placing links for podcasts for daily scripture sets! I want to thoroughly, yet concisely explain each scripture reference in its proper context and proper application! All scripture will be from the Berean Standard Bible.
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God is Love: Old Testament Context and Language
The primary biblical language of the Old Testament is Hebrew. The Hebrew word for love is Hesed. Like many biblical words, hesed translates to mean various “English” language concepts depending on how it’s used and the words/meaning around it. For an insightful explanation, please check out the blog post below by Avital Snow:
We can find examples of God’s love all through out the Old Testament! The key to understanding God’s love is to remember that God’s love is active wherein God initiates. God’s love is part of His Character and Nature. He loves because He is True Love! This love moves Him to act with grace, mercy, compassion, and patience toward those in relationship with Him. The Biblical narratives demonstrate God “reaching” out and establishing covenants with His chosen people.
However, we need to understand that hesed is love expressed in a covenantal relationship! This is a relationship that God as Father King establishes with a lesser being. He is the Creator and we are the creatures. The New Testament uses the Greek word agape to describe God’s love. Michael Hunt explains hesed and agape with multiple references in his thorough explanation of this concept:
When Yahweh forms a covenant with an individual or with a people, He unites Himself to them, not only as Bridegroom to Bride as in the sense of the corporate covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai, but in the case of the Davidic covenant. God became David’s and Solomon’s father, and David and Solomon became God’s sons (2 Sam 7:14; 1 Chr 17:11-14). God shows His hesed for his covenant children by the blessings he confers upon them and, similarly, God’s covenant children “know God” when they observe the covenant obligations and show their gratitude for God’s blessings by returning His love:Michael Hunt, Agape Bible Study “IS “HESED” THE SAME AS “AGAPE”?
GOD’S LOVE DEFINED BY COVENANT IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS”
What does it mean to know God? We know God intimately!
Knowledge of God is not merely an intellectual assent that God exists. To “know” in the language of the Bible indicates an intimate knowledge of the person either in a sexual sense or in a covenantal sense. Biblical covenants form families, in marriages and the sense of extended families.Michael Hunt, Agape Bible Study “IS “HESED” THE SAME AS “AGAPE”?
GOD’S LOVE DEFINED BY COVENANT IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS”
This is why that Abram, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, King David, and the Prophets are radically transformed when God calls and begins His Mighty Work in their lives! They’re touched and forever changed. Love is part of this process. All the great men and women of faith realized that God would be true to His promises (hesed) and that he/she could rest in this truth while waiting on God’s timing!
First instance of God’s love in Genesis
Recall when Eve and Adam disobey God and God pronounces His curses upon them. What does God do? He includes a promise, specifically that:
15And I will put enmity between you and the woman,and between your seed and her seed.
He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Don Stewart explains this:
Later in verse 21,
21And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them.
God provides for their nakedness. Is this not an act of love? Perhaps even the first animal/blood sacrifice? God provides for them even though they had disobeyed and plunged creation into rebellion and darkness! God promises a future “seed” who will crush the serpent. The serpent is defeated!
The Flood: Noah
Why does God save Noah and his family? The entire world is contaminated with wickedness, death, disobedience, and rebellion; yet God find a righteous man and allows him 120 years to preach and build an ark. God could just as easily wiped every human out! Have you ever considered that God knew that no one would repent and believe, but He still gave Noah years to preach? For more, see article below
God’s Love is Patient
He calls us to repent and come to Him
The New Testament warns us Jude and 2 Peter that God’s patience is a chance to repent before the finality of His Judgement! Is it His love and desire for people to repent that stays His Righteous Wrath and Coming Judgment?
God’s call to repent Joel 2:12-14
12“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to Me with all your heart,with fasting, weeping, and mourning.” 13So rend your hearts and not your garments,and return to the LORD your God. For He is gracious and compassionate,slow to anger, abounding in loving devotion. And He relents from sending disaster. 14Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him—grain and drink offerings for the LORD your God.
and again in 2 Peter 3:8-9
8Beloved, do not let this one thing escape your notice: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.
The Truth of Christmas and Jesus’ Coming
Jesus came as an infant, but He will return as a Conquering, Victorious King. His first coming was to die to satisfy God’s Righteous Judgment on sinner. He conquered death and rose again to make all things anew. He is coming back in Judgment and to Restore/End human history. Peter instructs us:
10But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and its works will be laid bare.11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to conduct yourselves in holiness and godliness 12as you anticipate and hasten the coming of the day of God, when the heavens will be destroyed by fire and the elements will melt in the heat. 13But in keeping with God’s promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 14Therefore, beloved, as you anticipate these things, make every effort to be found at peace—spotless and blameless in His sight.BSB 2 Peter 3:10-14