I’ve always been fascinated by names. I know the story behind my own name, why my mother chose what’s on my birth certificate. I often ask other people upon meeting them for the first time if there is a story behind their name or if they know what their name means, especially if they have a unique name. It’s a great icebreaker with my clients. I can see if their faces light up as they explain what their name means; or sometimes they just shrug and say, “I don’t know.” It gives me a gauge of how they view themselves, or how they perceive their parents viewed them.
For a long time now I have been fascinated by the names of God in the Bible. There are so many, each that teach us something unique about His character, His God-ness. It’s a way of knowing Him a little better.
As I have been doing this, I came across something I had never before realized. In studying Rav-Chesed, the name for the Lord Abounding in Love, I saw that the Hebrew word for love is ahab. This was an emotional feeling of love; a strong relationship-based affection. Ahab is the Hebrew word for love.
My mind being the squirrel-hunting dog that it is recognized that this was significant. Ahab is the Hebrew word for love. Wasn’t there a king of Israel named Ahab, and wasn’t he evil? Yup. 1 Kings 16:30, “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him.”
Is that not heartbreaking? A man named Love, who was set up as the king over God’s people, to be a living example of the way God wanted to lovingly lead His people, did more evil than anyone before him. It must have broken God’s heart.
But there is more to love. Rav-Chesed shows us this. Chesed is the type of love that moves beyond feelings to commitment. It stays faithful when the relationship waivers. It is morally obligated for the other’s welfare. It is real love.
Israel demanded a human king so they would be like everyone else. They ignored the God abounding in Love who stayed faithful, the One looking out for their welfare; and their human kings constantly lost that loving feeling and pursued evil. God’s love for them never waivered. It never changed because it was never based on them, on their performance or their obedience. His love is perfect because He is perfect. He is love. It is His nature, His character. Despite their unfaithfulness, He was faithful. His love endures forever.
I see so many broken people in counseling. Those that are the most broken, that have the hardest time healing, are those that have never had unconditional love in their life. Their parents, their siblings, their friends, their churches, their coworkers…everyone in their lives have shown them that they are unwanted. They aren’t good enough. They are damaged. They often haven’t had one person to speak encouragement and truth into their lives. They haven’t had one person to come alongside them and love them when they are ugly, when they make bad choices, when they are unlovable.
I was recently reminded of how powerful love can be when a group of people came alongside me in my struggles and spoke truth to me and told me they are there for me. There is security in love. God is love. In His name I find the clues to the security that rests in Him; and I find the moral obligation for the welfare of others. Know you are loved, unconditionally; and get out there and love others. Be living examples of Abounding in Love.