Chapter 5: “Looking up ‘Love’ in God’s Dictionary”
Dictionary.com has 21 definitions of “love”, accompanied by one verb phrase, and six idioms. Only one really caught my eye.—
12. the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
I rather like this definition. I like its wordings. I like what it means for us. But there is one thing missing when it comes to looking up “love” in God’s doctionary. That is: the love we are to have for one another. Definition 12 speaks to the God-to-man and man-to-God relationship we are to have, but it says nothing about the man-to-man relationship which is so earnestly spoken about in the Bible. So, I decided to do it. Let’s literally look up “love” in God’s “dictionary” (in this case, the Bible). Let concern ourselves primarily with man-to-man relationships. (Different versions of the Bible may get different results due to different wordings.) Here is what I found:
1.] Loving relationships in the Bible.
(Genesis 29:20) [Ah. Such love….Isn’t that the way it is when you deeply care for someone?]
And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
(Genesis 29:32) [How sad…Indeed, Leah desired nothing more than to be loved by Jacob as Rachel was loved by him…]
And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the Lord hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
(Judges 16:15) [In effect, she is saying here, “How can you say that you love me if you don’t give me what I want?” But this too is a misrepresentation of love, for love often forbears and even sacrifices. She was using these words to tempt Samson, but something in her must have thought that this was what love meant: giving her what she wanted.]
And she [Delilah] said unto him [Samson], How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.
(1 Samuel 18:22) [The servants’ love for David expressed devotion–a key aspect of love.]
And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king’s son in law.
(2 Samuel 1:26) [David speaking, showing the deep, brotherly love that David and Jonathan enjoyed until Saul’s pursuit of David caused the two to go seperate ways.]
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan:
very pleasant hast thou been unto me:
thy love to me was wonderful,
passing the love of women.
(2Sa 13:3-4; 15) [This is a very sad story. Amnon apparently did not understand what love is. He lusted after Tamar, but thought it love…It all ends very badly…]
But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.
And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister….Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
(2 Chronicles 19:2) [In this case, “love” means “to cleave to” or “to be like”]
And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord.
(Pro 5:18-19) [The love between a husband and wife–a holy, sacred, passionate love.]
Let thy fountain be blessed:
and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe;
let her breasts satisfy thee at all times;
and be thou ravished always with her love.
Proverbs 7 consists of the story of the harlot, whose love is false and unfulfilling and leads to damnation.
(Proverbs 9:8) [Love=respect, adore, and thank–the same sense of devotion and appreciation.]
Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee:
rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
Of course, Song Of Solomon contains plenty on both the splendid relationship between a husband and a wife and the picture of God and the Church.
(2 Corinthians 2:4) [Paul writing, expressing his deep affection for and fellowship with the Corinthian believers.]
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
2.] Commands to love others. (In the law)
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.
(Leviticus 19:34) (Also look at Deuteronomy 10:9)
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
3.] Commands to love others. (In the New Testament)
(Mat 5:43-48) [Jesus speaking]
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
(Matthew 6:24) [Mammon, according to Dictionary.com, is “riches or material wealth. Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:9,11,13.”]
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
(Jn 13:34-35) [Jesus speaking]
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
(John 15:9) [Jesus speaking]
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
(John 15:17) [Jesus speaking]
These things I command you, that ye love one another.
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
For my love they are my adversaries:
but I give myself unto prayer.
And they have rewarded me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.
Hatred stirreth up strifes:
but love covereth all sins.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
Righteous lips are the delight of kings;
and they love him that speaketh right.
He that covereth a transgression seeketh love;
but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
Open rebuke is better than secret love.
[There is…] A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
I know this is not nearly all of them! But by these that I have, we can clearly see what love is and also what it is not. I think this is helpful when it comes to our many, complicated relationships, especially when seeking a spouse.
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