As noted the other day, ’āhaḇ (H157) speaks generally of desire, affection, or inclination, but the real issue is the object of that love, desire, affection, or inclination. Let us conclude today by examining two objects of love:
First, and most important, is God’s love for His people. Several times we read of God’s love for His chosen people Israel. He declared, for example, He “loved Israel for ever” (1Ki_10:9). He loved them, in fact, in spite of their spiritual adultery and loving other gods (Hos_3:1; cf. Mal_1:2; Mal_2:11). Further, what is the basis of God’s choosing (or electing) Israel? “The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you” (Deu_7:7-8; cf. Deu_4:37). Not only did God love and choose Israel, He loved and chose His elect before the foundation of the world (Eph_1:4-5).
Second, let us consider carefully our love for God. Perhaps the key text here is Deu_6:5 (cf. Mat_22:37-38): “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Heart is lēḇāḇ (H3824), referring not only to the physical organ, but figuratively to the whole of the inner person and personality. Soul is nepeš (H5315), meaning “breath, the act of breathing, and figuratively the inner being with its thoughts and emotions.” “Might,” then, is me’ōḏ (H3966), indicating might, power, will, or even “muchness.” While the world tells us that love is feelings (which often amounts simply to lust), real love is an act of the will.
While we respect writers who maintain that these three should not be considered individually, rather as a whole, as in loving God with “all that is within [us]” (Psa_103:1), we respectfully disagree. Words mean things, and by considering each of these words, we discover the true depth of God’s command. Let us each ask ourselves: Does my heart beat with God’s, does my personality reflect Him, do I live and breathe Him and His Word, and is all my might and will set upon Him?
Oh, let there be no other “objects” in our lives that we love as we love Him!
Scriptures for Study: One of the great themes of Deuteronomy is our love of God. Read the following verses and reflect on your love for Him: Deu_4:29; Deu_10:12; Deu_11:13; Deu_13:4; Deu_26:16; Deu_30:2; Deu_30:6; Deu_30:10.