February 14, 2017 3:42 PM

Going beyond Valentine's Day to God's true loving

February 14, 2017 3:42 PM
February 14, 2017 3:42 PM
Chubby cupids, red roses and boxes of chocolate can reduce “I love you” to a cliche, but in the mind of God, love acts. Powerfully. Passionately. Dependably.
 
According to "The Living Words" by Hebrew researcher Jeff A. Brenner, love in Hebraic thought isn’t nestled in feeling warm and fuzzy about someone. “We are to love God, neighbors, and family not in an emotional sense, but in the sense of our actions,” Brenner writes.
 
 
 
Here’s how Brenner breaks down the Hebrew word for love:
 
The parent root of this word is hav. While this root is not found in the Biblical text, a couple of other derivatives are. The word havhav, a noun meaning "gift" and yahav, a verb meaning "to provide," help to supply the fuller Hebraic understanding of ahav.
 
We do not choose our parents or siblings, but they are instead given to us as a gift from above, a privileged gift. Even in the Ancient Hebrew culture, one's wife was chosen for him. It is our responsibility to provide and protect those privileged gifts. As a verb, the Hebrew word ahav means "to provide and protect what is given as a privileged gift.” 
 
God measures love — ahav — by how passionately we care for the gifts of people He gives us. For example, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sin” (Prov. 10:12) and “Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it” (Song 8:7). Ahav is also the word in Genesis 29:20, when Jacob saved seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.”
 
The site Hebrew for Christians points out that Micah 6:8 also uses the word ahav and ties it with mercy: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love mercy.”
 
When we express love to someone -- today or any other day -- may we remember the passionate Hebrew word ahav. It leaps beyond our intellectual understanding, polite assent and feel-good thoughts. May the Lord show us fresh, tangible and meaningful expressions of love we can show to our family and community -- for they are God's gifts to us.
 

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