In this week’s Church at Home, we are looking at the Hebrew word for “love” in the Old Testament, ahavah. What we learn from the story of the Bible is that Yahweh not only feels love for all the world, he also acts from love. We are told that when Yahweh rescued the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, it was because he loved them. He felt love, and he showed his love by rescuing them from oppression. After Israel was restored, they were called to show that same kind of active love to those who were socially disadvantaged in their midst. God’s love is a gift to share.
Most of us feel overwhelmed by the immense pain and suffering in our world today. It’s easy to see how much there is to remedy and conclude that our actions won’t make a meaningful difference. But God’s love equips us to face these important issues in practical ways that make an impact. Let’s consider this together as we reflect on the meaning of ahavah.
The video talked about Yahweh’s love being both a feeling and an action. How do you feel when you think about the fact that God feels love toward you? Name a few specific ways God has acted out his love for you.
Here Moses asks the Israelites what other deity has done something like what Yahweh did for Israel. Yahweh rescued them out of slavery in Egypt and then gave them his own divine wisdom and justice in the laws of the Torah. Why did he do it? The passage makes it clear that it is because Yahweh loved Israel’s ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
No other power can rescue like Yahweh, but we can sometimes forget this. We can then try to remedy painful feelings or hard situations apart from Yahweh. Do you find yourself doing this? What are some practical ways you can commit to rely on Yahweh instead?
God loves us because it’s central to who he is. But we can struggle to really believe this. Why do you think that is? What would it look like to receive and respond to his love instead? Take a moment to remember that God loves you and the people around you. Pray for new strength to receive and respond to his love.
Moses agrees that Israel exists because of Yahweh’s love for Israel’s ancestors. But this time he concludes that because Israel’s rescue from Egypt was an act of Yahweh’s love, the most consistent way to return love for Yahweh would be to turn one’s affection to the orphans, widows, and immigrants in the community. Do you see the mirror effect? Yahweh’s love is Exodus-shaped in Deuteronomy. In other words, it is an active love expressed toward the oppressed and hurting. So Israel’s love for God and neighbor is also meant to reflect that same pattern.
Orphans, widows, and immigrants have a couple things in common. They are loved by God but are usually unloved by their neighbors. Do you know someone specific in your community who might be overlooked or unloved by those around them? Take a moment to think about how much God loves them. What is a practical way you can step outside of your comfort zone to reflect God’s love to them this week?