With God’s LoveJuly 18, 2023 - 12:00 am
I love you, LORD, my strength. — Psalm 18:1
These devotions explore the Jewish perspective of love. 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 enables us to love one another.
In the Book of Numbers, we read about the twelve spies, one man from each of the tribes of Israel sent to scout out the Promised Land. Ten returned with terrifying reports of fortified cities and powerful giants who would surely defeat Israel in war. The other two, Joshua and Caleb, assured the people that, with God’s help, they would be able to conquer the beautiful land.
How is it possible that all twelve men experienced the exact same thing, yet ten returned afraid and pessimistic, while the other two were full of faith and optimism?
This is not a biblical phenomenon; we see it in our daily lives all the time. Two people can look at the exact same situation and see two completely different scenarios. Where one person sees a dark and foreboding challenge, the other sees a wonderful opportunity orchestrated by the loving Hand of God.
With God’s Love
According to Jewish tradition, King David wrote Psalm 18 toward the end of his life, a life that filled with hardships. He spent most of his early days hiding from King Saul, who was out to kill him, and the rest of the time fighting battles that were not in his favour. Yet, when David looked back at his tumultuous life, he said, “I love you, LORD, my strength”—all he saw was love.
Throughout this psalm, King David repeatedly describes God’s salvation from impossible scenarios. In verse 16, he wrote: “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.” In verse 28, he wrote: “You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” And in verse 29: “With my God I can scale a wall.”
Where others may have felt like they were drowning, David saw God pulling him to safety. Where others may have seen darkness, David saw God’s light. Where others may have seen blocked paths and insurmountable obstacles, David knew that, with God’s love, he could overcome any challenge.
Because David trusted that God’s love lay behind every challenge, he was able to look back and say, “I love you, LORD, my strength.”