Saturday, September 25, 2010

Deuteronomy 7, 8, 9 God's Covenant of Love אָהַב

The Tetragrammaton Yahweh intended to be prono...Image via Wikipedia

As Israel anticipated entry into the land of Canaan, God reminded Israel of their origins and of His hand in providing for the nation. 

Deuteronomy 8: 2 - 3.   Remember how the Lord (יְהֹוָה , Yĕhovah) your God  (אֱלֹהִים , 'elohiym) led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.  And He humbled (עָנָה`anahyou, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 

Israel was asked to remember how "the Lord your God" or as the Hebrew expanded translation would read The Existing One who is Ruler and Judge Over All, took care of them and provided for all of their needs.  However, before providing for Israel, God first humbled the nation.  In Hebrew, this word connotes to be afflicted, to be put down, to be weakened.  So, when God caused Israel to hunger, He afflicted the nation until they saw just how weak and vulnerable they were. 

Maybe, while the nation was absolutely helpless - alone in the desert - and without successful recourse to possible vestigial allegiances to Egyptian gods, God had to again show Israel that He was their Covenant God who would provide for all of their needs.  Maybe then they also recognized a spiritual hunger which was previously filled unsatisfactorily by the spiritual "junk food" of Egyptian deities.  Before God could fill this nation with His righteous provision, His Law, and the realization of His promises, He had to bring them to an understanding of their emptiness and their hunger for Him.  Though God gave them manna, they really were learning to live on the words from God's mouth.

Although God gave Israel numerous instructions about entering Canaan, the dominant theme is to take God at His word; to trust Him to do as He promised; to seek to live in accordance with His commandments simply because He designed them for Israel so that He could "keep His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments " (Deut. 7:9).  In Hebrew אָהַב ('ahab), love,  implies a sense of longing or yearning.  

In Deut. 8:2, God stated that He humbled Israel to know what was in the heart in the heart of the nation. Even though He saw and judged the rebellions in the desert, He still proclaimed to Israel how much He yearns for them and how much He loves the nation.  Here God demonstrates that love is neither earned nor a reflection of the beloved's worthiness.  Rather, love is strictly a function of the one who loves.  God chose Israel to love and that love remains eternal, as is the God who swore by Himself.

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for Yĕhovah (Strong's 3068)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 25 Sep 2010. < http://
strongs=H3068&t=KJV&page=6 >

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for 'humble' in the KJV". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 25 Sep 2010. < http://
Criteria=humble&t=KJV >

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for 'ahab (Strong's 157)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 25 Sep 2010. < http://
Strongs=H157&t=KJV >

Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for 'I Am' in the KJV". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 25 Sep 2010. < http:// >

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