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Understand the Obligation of Love!

Thursday, March 6, 2014 (10:38 am)

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. 

Here's another interesting Hebrew word parallel. The Hebrew word for "love" or "affection", "chiba", is formed by the same root letters as the word, "chova", "obligation", "debt", or "duty". In Hebrew, the only difference between these two words is a few vowel points. But you say, "Isn't love the very opposite of obligation !?" Well, yes and no. The Hebrew language has a wonderful way of relating concepts which seem incompatible.

The common romantic view of love in films and novels draws heavily on strong feelings of affection or passion. Even our love for God can flow from those kinds of feelings. (The apostle Peter was filled with them shortly before he denied the Lord three times.) But love based on obligation is another matter, and it's significant that the Jewish marriage contract, the "Ketubah", contains a list of “obligations” that a husband is required to fulfill for his wife. He might be passionately "in love" with her when he signs this contract, yet the wisdom of experience says this passion may wither with time, so the marriage ceremony formally "obligates" him to his spouse. By accepting these “obligations”, he agrees that love is nurtured by commitment.

One Rabbi commented: “Love which flows from obligation endures, but when obligation follows love, both are doomed.”

Our bridal relationship to Yeshua (Jesus) also reflects this reality. His "obligation" to us flowed from an irrevocable decision of His will and commitment to love us…which cost Him His human life. We might speculate on the Lord's feelings for us, but we don't have to wonder at all about His obligation, or the absolute security we have in His love for us. Our love for Him can be the same. Feelings of love are wonderful. But they also come and go. And there'll be times when we wonder, “Where's that lovin' feeling? Is God really there?” And that's when the sure foundation of commitment will arise in the heart of every true lover.

God's great love for us is expressed in His commitment; to cover our debt of sin; guide us through this earthly life, and be our eternal Heavenly Husband. Cleansed by His blood and filled with His Spirit we can love Him and one another with the same commitment. The feelings will follow.

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One Response to “Understand the Obligation of Love!”

  1. Jana Says:

    AWESOME devotion!! Thanks for sharing! Praise the Lord!!!

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