In 1 Samuel, we find two unlikely friends: David, the shepherd boy, and Jonathan, King Saul’s son. Although Jonathan demonstrates cunning military strategy, courage, and godliness, it is David who God chooses as the next king. Yet Jonathan does not demand his rights as heir, but instead extends friendship. This pair will go on to display a covenant friendship that reflects Christ himself.
Covenant love is contrary to popular definitions of love; it is care propelled by and rooted in something other than the object of that care. It might seem strange to say that the object of one’s love is not the driving force behind that love, but this is actually good news. It is a love that isn’t earned. This is the very love God extends to us.
The Lord passed in front of [Moses] and proclaimed: ‘Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. – Ex 34:6-7
The faithful love described here is “hesed” in Hebrew; it is covenant love. What makes Yahweh’s proclamation so incredible is that it is knowingly made while Israel is at the foot of Mount Sinai, rejecting God by casting a golden idol to worship! Yahweh’s proclamation isn’t motivated by the loveliness or faithfulness of his covenant people—this hesed love flows from his character and nature. God demonstrates the same hesed love throughout the biblical story of salvation (the book of Hosea is a great example), but we find its ultimate expression in Jesus, at the cross.
(Continue reading this post, where it originally appeared, on Morning By Morning.)