The Promised Land of LoveFebruary 8, 2019 - 12:00 am
“Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:
‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,
through a land not sown.’” — Jeremiah 2:2
In Hebrew, the word for love is ahava, which comes from the root word, hav, “to give.” In Judaism, to love is to give. Giving to others forms the connection that enables us to love one another. Join us this month, as we offer a devotional series exploring the Jewish perspective on love.
It seems that almost everyone these days is facing some kind of challenge. Whether it’s financial, health, or marital — it all boils down to one kind of test: a test of faith. This is why many theologians have been led to say that in the grand scheme of things, that’s what it’s all about — faith.
Everything we endure, and everything that we experience is meant to teach us trust in the Lord. While that may be true, I believe there is a higher goal. Faith may be the gateway, but the destination is love.
At one point in history, the children of Israel got it right. As the prophet Jeremiah relates when the Israelites followed God through the desert just after their exodus from Egypt, they demonstrated tremendous faith: “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown.”
Even though the desert is a wilderness where nothing grows and most perish within a matter of days, the children of Israel stuck with God and followed Him all the way to Mount Sinai where they unconditionally received His Word. Then, they followed Him all the way to the land He had promised them, but they had never known.
Their faithfulness is legendary, but it’s not the main focus of the verse. The verse is stressing “how as a bride you loved me.” Faith is the symptom of a condition called love. And love, ultimately, is what it’s all about.
Many years ago, my wife and I received a work of art as a gift. It was a paper cutout with the following words etched into it: “There is no love without trust.” Think about it. In all our relationships, our closeness with someone is directly related to how much we trust them. And so it is with God. The more we put our faith in the Lord, the closer we will be to Him.
The goal is to be like a bride in love. It’s called “falling in love” because when we love someone, we can fall backward, trusting that someone will be there to catch us.
If we want to know how to realize the closeness with God that only the most devout achieve, then look to the children of Israel in the desert. Can you follow Him as they did? Can you trust that all of your needs will be met? Do you feel Him by your side at every moment?
When we can cross the deserts of our life with faith, we will be able to enter the Promised Land of love.