Ahava, Love

David Mitts

“Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”” (Gen 22:2, NASB)
To listen to the audio-only version click below 
Giving Opportunity Message



Of all of the power words in the Bible, there is one that undergirds and transforms the entire meaning and purpose of the revelation of God, the revelation of man, and the purpose of creation and that is love. There is possibly no greater need for apprehending the power of the Word than to apprehend love. 

John, the apostle whom Yeshua loved and was the closest emotionally to Him declared that God is love.

“The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1Jn 4:8, NASB)

Read that again. If we do not love, we do not know God. That is a powerful equation. Knowing God is knowing love because God is love. The entire purpose of the new covenant is to awaken love.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD: “I will put My law within them and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “They will not teach again, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their wrongdoing, and their sin I will no longer remember.”” (Jer 31:31-34, NASB)

Declaring Himself as the husband of unfaithful Israel, gives the motivation for the new covenant, to make it possible for Israel to love Him as He loves her. There is probably no more important definition than love.

The ancient Hebrew word is “ahavah”. It comes from the root “hav”. This is a 2 letter word root which begins with the letter “hay” which means to reveal or disclose and the “bet” which means the house. This tells us that love is what reveals or discloses what actually makes a home. Without love a house is just a building where people live.

When we add the “aleph” to the front of the word and a “hay” to the end we transform the word into ahavah. The aleph adds the meaning of strength or power. It is the word picture of an ox. The second “hay” at the end does a couple of things. First it makes the word a noun, actually a feminine noun and secondly it doubles the revelation of a key essential. What is that key essential? It is the word “av” or abah, which means Father. So, the essence of Love is the Father. 

So, when we say God is love, we are saying the Father is love. Or we could say that God is the Father, who is love.

When we look into the scripture we see the first mention of love, ahavah is in the context of a Father-Son relationship in Genesis 22.

“Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”” (Gen 22:2, NASB)

The context of this is called the binding of Isaac. The term for this is the “akedah”. Some rabbinic tradition states that Abraham did actually kill Isaac who was resurrected on the spot.

R. Judah says: When the sword touched Isaac's throat his soul flew clean out of him. And when He let His voice be heard from between the cherubim, "Lay not thy hand upon the lad." The lad's soul was returned to his body. Then his father unbound him, and Isaac rose, knowing that in this way the dead would come back to life in the future; whereupon he began to recite, "Blessed are You, LORD, who resurrects the dead." (Pirkei Rabbi Elieazer)

This is a clear picture of the death and resurrection of God’s Son. What is powerful for the revelation of ahavah is term, God uses with Abraham, “your only son whom you love”. 

This is interesting first because it wasn’t Abraham’s only son. His first son was Ishmael. Secondly, it is interesting because Isaac is called the son whom Abraham loves. We cannot say with confidence that Abraham didn’t love Ishmael.

In fact, when we look at the story of when Sarah demanded that Hagar and Ishmael be banished, the scripture tells us that Abraham responded by being displeased:

“And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham's sight because of his son.” (Gen 21:11, NKJV)

This is actually a poor translation. The actual Hebrew is that it was an evil word to Abraham.

This tells us that Abraham was deeply offended by the word which tells us that he cared deeply for Ishmael as we would have expected as His first son.

Regardless of how Abraham felt, Isaac had the distinction of being the son of promise, the miracle child and loved by Abraham. The connection To Yeshua is clear. Yeshua was born of a virgin, miraculously and was loved by the Father.  

What is so revelatory is the connection between love and sacrifice. Abraham is tested by God in his love for Isaac by being willing to sacrifice Isaac. God tests Himself in love for Yeshua by being willing to sacrifice Him. Both are counting on the resurrection.

This is explained in Hebrews 11:17-19:

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and the one who had received the promises was offering up his only son; it was he to whom it was said, “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE NAMED.” He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.” (Heb 11:17-19, NASB)

The word translated “type” is the word parable. A parable describes a spiritual reality through a concrete example. Isaac was received by Abraham as a parable of God receiving back to life Yeshua. The heart of love is resurrection. Remember that the word ahavah means a revelation of the Father. 

There is something in the Father and His love that death is an affront to. Death produces fear, fear of death. Yeshua as the picture of the Father’s love came to destroy this fear.

“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Heb 2:14-15, NASB)

Remembering that Abraham wasn’t just a father but the father of nations, we can get a glimpse into the process of love and sacrifice that would be a pattern for all peoples everywhere, hence the name father of faith.

“For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Rom 4:13, NASB)

What is an expression of this love based righteousness is the sacrifice, the death and the resurrection.

God gave us the sacrifice, Yeshua. The death is both His death and our death in receiving Him. Similarly, the resurrection is both His and ours!

This is the pattern set first in love by Abraham, revealing his father-nature, what the scriptures call faith. Faith works by love.

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.” (Gal 5:6, NASB)

Now this verse makes sense. Nether circumcision or uncircumcision refers to our natural lineage. Natural lineage does not mean anything or have any real significance. What matters is sacrifice, death and resurrection which is the love of the Father revealed. Our trust in that love is our faith. 

Now we can look perhaps at John 3:16 and see it in a new light:

““For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (Joh 3:16, NASB)

Love is the revelation of the Father. His revelation is that He sacrifices for His children. Yeshua is the sacrifice and when we receive Him we die to the world parenting and live into His parenting, eternal life.

All of this is wrapped up in the word ahavah, which is love. Now we can read 1John 4 beginning at verse 7 and really grasp it:

“Beloved, let’s love one another; for love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. By this the love of God was revealed in us, that God has sent His only Son into the world so that we may live through Him. (His life, death and resurrection reveal the true nature of Him who is love) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation(atonement) for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we remain in Him and He in us, because He has given to us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, we also are in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and yet he hates his brother or sister, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother and sister whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.” (1Jn 4:7-21, NASB)

Activation. Since God is revealed through sacrifice and death to this world, ask the Lord what He would have you sacrifice? What do you have the opportunity to sacrifice that might be keeping you from walking in love.

 Push Notifications are disabled


B.E.S.T. Shabbat

 Add to homescreen