Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, February 24, 2024
Shabbat Shalom,

Holy Agape
by David Harwood

Today’s topic touches upon God’s holy agape. He has a unique agape for those who belong to Him and a special love for the Jewish people.

This is the next section in our description of agape:

God loves (agapaō) those who belong to Him (Deuteronomy 7:8; 10:15; Romans 8:39), and has a special love (agape) for the Jewish people. (Isaiah 5:7; 63:9; Jeremiah 31:3, 20; Hosea 14:4; Zephaniah 3:17; Romans 11:28). 

We’ll begin here:

God loves (agapaō) those who belong to Him (Deuteronomy 7:8; 10:15; Romans 8:39), 

I would like to review a principle: Priests represent people to God, and priests represent God to people. Israel is called to be a nation of priests. In many ways Israel’s relationship to God is the paradigm for God’s plan for the nations. They/we are the first-born-nation, not the only-child-nation. When we look at some of these verses it is evident that they refer specifically to Israel. They also may legitimately illustrate God’s relationship to each individual. With that in mind, let’s start.

Let’s consider Deuteronomy 7:8.

But because the Lord loved (agape) you, and he was keeping an oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord led out you with a strong hand, and he redeemed you from the house of slavery from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:8 LES) 

Why did God choose Israel? He loved (agape) them and was faithful to His promise to the patriarchs. This is not a faux-love that is a disinterested act of volition. God really loved them. Israel was loved, Israel was redeemed by God. They belonged to Him. He saw them as worth loving.

Next:

But the Lord chose your fathers to love (agape) them, and he chose their descendants with them, you, from all the nations according to this day. (Deuteronomy 10:15 LES) 

Again, God’s choice was motivated by His love. He so loved them that He favored their descendants. They were uniquely His and uniquely loved (agape).

Along those lines we are objects of God’s love. In the midst of a cosmic war we find that we are kept in God’s agape which is in Yeshua.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Messiah Yeshua our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39) 

Death may come against us. We’re still His because we’re still loved. Life is often accompanied by great hardship. We’re still loved, we’re still His.

Are there angels who may war against God and target us for destruction? Guess what, they cannot overcome God’s agape for those who belong to Him, and we do.

We are faced with the resistance of regional devilish rulers. They may endeavor to exercise their petty dominions within our ethnic groups, families and societies. Their desire is to separate us from God’s love. But we belong to Him and they are ineffectual.

Nothing now, nothing soon nor in the distant future, has the authority to break the active agape that motivated God to covenant with us. We are His. He loves those who belong to Him.

Yes, there are supernatural powers who want us to betray our loyalty to our Messiah. They seek to overwhelm us, but they can’t alienate us from God’s agape. This is true in every dimension. This is true about all of creation.

We anticipate the restoration of all the things of which the Prophets spoke. Until then the entire created order may be at war against us, but absolutely nothing can separate us from the love (agape) of God that is in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.

We’ve been bought with a price. We’re His inheritance. He loves those who belong to Him. That’s a characteristic of God’s agape.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
15 Adar I Shabbat 24-Feb-24 Parashat Tetzaveh
Exodus 30:1-10 Ezekiel 43:10-27