Love is usually a topic that invokes the idea of romance between a couple or the care of a parent for a child. However, the subject of the Bible is a 'Love' that goes far beyond our human experience. Since God is separate from time and space, it should come as no surprise that His Love would be un-parallel to anything we could completely comprehend. It is interesting to note that the word love is used four hundred and forty-two times in our English Bible. Much could be gleaned from a comprehensive study of this subject from the pages of Holy scripture, but for the purpose of this devotional, only the first three references to love will be examined briefly through the lens of God's love for us.
The first story in our Bible that introduces the subject of love was when Abraham went to the land of Mount Moriah for the purpose of sacrificing his son. In fact, it was God that identified Isaac, as the son that Abraham 'loved'. What a beautiful picture this story is of God's Love for His Son and for us as well. It is in His great love that we have been saved and it is through that same love that His Son has been made heir of all things.
The second reference to love pertained to Isaac's love for his bride Rebekah. All husbands would do well to follow Isaac's example as exhorted in our New Testament. However, this reference takes our minds to Christ's Love for His bride: the Church. His love was an everlasting love and His bride was purchased with a great price. Since Isaac did not really court Rebekah before marriage due to the customs of the day, his love was a choice of his will at the point when he met his bride. How much greater is Christ's love for His bride? It is amazing to think that He knew all about us; including our weaknesses, sins, doubts, and fears and yet knowing all of this, He choose to love us even before we were ever born.
The third reference to love in our bible pertained to twin brothers. We learn that Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob. Though favouritism is not an acceptable practice for parents, this third reference reminds us of another unique attribute of God's love. It is actually said of God that He loved Jacob and hated Esau. Have you ever wondered what this means? Well, we could just as easily read, "Abraham have I loved, and every other man have I hated." God is not attached to love and hate as simple human emotions. This statement actually speaks to God's choice over something over another. God choose the lowly Jacob and made Him into a great nation, but God did not do the same for the mighty Esau and the Edomite people.
It is interesting that the first three references to love in our Bible pertains directly to the three great patriarchs of old. Their examples of love, though helpful for our learning today, also provide great insight into God's great love for us. May these thoughts stimulate us all to study the great subject of love in our bible, to see its connections to God's great love for us.