Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

There is a wonderful Hebrew word in the Old Testament which is used as the theme of a minor prophet named Hosea. What is interesting about this word is there is no English equivalent. The Hebrew word is “Chesed” and in the Hebraic language it means covenant—marriage. There is a commitment in this word. It means love, but also loyalty. True love is not love unless it is loyal! It is an unswerving love - undying devotion - committed to loving someone no matter what. There is an old English word once used that was similar in meaning - which is “troth”, for instance in the KJV Bible as “betrothed.” It means commitment - loyalty.

You don’t see that word used much anymore just as you don’t seem to see commitment in marriages considering 6 of 10 end in divorce. The whole relationship between God and Israel is a covenant love. There is a “Chesed.”

On Israel’s side it meant loyalty to God’s commandments - obedience. God’s part was to look after them and provide for them. God was looking for glad, eager obedience, a wanting to live the way that God wanted them to live. But that’s what He didn’t get. Psalm 119 is all about someone who delights in God’s law. The message of Hosea is very simple: “What has happened to our marriage?” There is still “Chesed” on my side but there is none on your side. What went wrong?”

The most painful thing in the world is to love someone and have them not return that love; to want to love them and help them, but they won’t have it. How could Hosea understand God’s feelings so well? Answer: God taught him in the school of experience. God prepared the prophets through marriage to teach them the personal feelings of God.

Ezekiel was told that his wife was going to die and that he was not to weep, signifying the pain that God would have to endure when Israel would turn their back on Him. Jeremiah was told not to marry so as to experience what it felt like to have his people not with him, a heart of loneliness; God’s lonely heart for His people.

But Hosea is the best example, for God told him to go and marry a prostitute! Many lessons were learned through this experience but through it all, God was still faithful. Even when we are unfaithful, God is still faithful. His divine faithfulness proved that He could not let them off - He could not let them go - and He could not let them down! God’s love “Chesed”  - in which we will never have a full knowledge of, but we can experience it each and every day!