This morning, people fail to grasp certain concepts since they are ignorant as to the source or root cause of them. For example, many today get confused about the Bible since they fail to grasp that God breathed the Book into existence. Failing to understand the Divine Inspiration of Holy Scriptures, one will never arrive at the correct conclusion that it is infallible. Another example that crops up so often in the world today is the subject of the state of the earth and the universe in general. They look at a groaning universe and attribute things such as "global warming" or other causes to prove why the natural world seems to be "wearing out.” However, failing to understand that the root Cause and Source of the world is the Creator Himself, they do not grasp that He declared its perpetual existence with the patterns that He set forth until the day that He burns it up Himself. (II Peter 3)
One of the most misunderstood subjects today is the subject of love. Love today is promoted in Hollywood as the feelings of desire between two individuals. Love is promoted in society at large as some kind of nebulous feeling that "trumps" anything else – even truth – as people are encouraged to drop everything else in the name of love. True love – as the Bible describes it – is always built upon sacrifice and self-less activity. The greatest form of love comes from the ultimate sacrifice of laying down your life for someone else. (John 15:13) Yet, one of the most interesting studies that we can glean from the Bible is the study of "first usages." Where does something appear the first time? What is the situation and significance of it? Our study verse is the first usage of the word "love" or "loved" in all of Holy Writ.
Our verse finishes the large and rich passage of Abraham's servant going to find a wife for Isaac (at Abraham's command) and bringing Rebekah back to Isaac as his wife. While we will pass from most of the discussion of the context, I believe the context shows a beautiful picture of a minister informing the bride about her Husband Jesus Christ that she does not yet know that she has. The end of the passage is the culmination and consummation of the relationship between the husband and wife: in our passage being Isaac and Rebekah, but in spiritual application being Christ and His chosen. Let us focus the remainder of our thoughts upon the love of Isaac for Rebekah and the thought of first usage of principles.
Did Adam love his wife Eve? What about Abraham and Sarah? Did Eve love Abel? Did the righteous man Enoch love his son Methuselah? In each of these cases, I think we could probably surmise that there was a familial love between man and wife and even parent and child. However, God did not see fit to describe the relationship in that way. Even in the story of Abraham and Sarah – conceiving a child in their old age- there is no mention of Abraham loving her. Later there is no mention of Abraham loving Isaac. In all these previous cases, we believe that righteous individuals showed love upon their family, but the word does not appear. Is that significant? I believe it to be.
What is the source and root of love? We see the word appear here as the first source of usage. However, what is the original root and source of love? Where does it ultimately stem from? John tells us that any love we have for God comes as a result of Him first loving us. (I John 4:19) However, John also declares not just the source of love but the "real love" that is missed today. John says that love is shown and seen best not in us loving God but in Him loving us. (I John 4:9-11) Many today seem to be looking for "real love" or "true love." John tells us where it is. It is found in God's love to us. God's love is real love and true love.
Since God's love is real love and true love, we see that anything else must be measured against the standard of Him and His love. How does one measure His love? To answer that question (though we cannot comprehend the love of God in its fulness), we must look at what He has done. Remember, love is not some squishy emotion or feeling. Love is built upon sacrifice and self-less action. God certainly has manifested the greatest self-less action and sacrifice in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ. When Christ stepped down from His throne in glory and entered this world as a man, that action alone was condescension beyond compare. Yet, He humbled and sacrificed Himself further to be put to the test by men and devils in the hardest trials that anyone could imagine facing and thereby facing everything we could possibly be tempted with. (Hebrews 4:15) Further still, He humbled Himself in self-less sacrifice by taking the punishment due us and enduring it Himself on our behalf. (Philippians 2:5-10)
Such a great and gracious series of actions! Everything from laying aside glory and leaving heaven to going through the cruel torments of the cross and death were joyfully endured by our Master, Friend, and Husband Jesus Christ. Consider Him! What does all of that action show? It shows His love for us dear friends. His mettle was tested and He successfully dealt with everything that was before Him and upon Him. However, it was not done as a simple exercise. He did not do it because He was bored or needed to pass the time. Rather, He did it on purpose and specifically for those that He loves. He did it for them so that they would dwell with Him forever where He is.
Why does Isaac's relationship with Rebekah warrant Scriptures to employ the word "loved" for the first time? Friends, Isaac's love for his bride points to our Isaac's love for His people. Our Isaac did not have the death of His mother to need comfort in. Rather, for us to be with Him in His abode, He Himself had to die. He is comforted dear ones at His own death by our presence with Him. Nothing that He suffered was in vain for even one single person. Everything He suffered successfully and victoriously secured the final abode for every heir that He loves. (Isaiah 53:9-10) Should someone not make it to be with Christ that He loves and sacrificed for, then He would not receive comfort from His death as it was not effectual for all intended. However, friends there will be no problem in heaven. When Christ views His dear ones, He will be comforted from His own death, for the culmination of His sacrificial love will be there in plain sight.
Isaac's love for Rebekah merits the usage of this word for it points to the real source of love. A discussion about love cannot be absent of God, for He is love. Without Him, there is no love. Yet, our Isaac – God's own Son – has loved us with an everlasting love, set that love upon us, showed it in His sacrifice, and will one day have it in real fulness and complete perfection in the glorious abode above where He is. I can only imagine what tenderness and deep commitment that Isaac had for Rebekah when he brought her to his home. Friends I cannot even imagine accurately what tenderness and commitment that Christ has for us when He brings us home to glory some sweet day. Doubtless, Isaac's heart was mended somewhat with Rebekah's presence though his mother Sarah was no longer there. Friends, our presence will comfort and cheer the heart of the Saviour when we arrive in glory, for He will see the reward of His own suffering standing before Him.