I’m in love with the Hebrew alphabet. Or, as they would say, the alef-bet. Each of the 22 letters represents a picture, which in turn represents one or more concepts. And when you look at the actual Biblical Hebrew words themselves, the pictures reveal precious gems often lost in translation.
Let’s start at the beginning, with alef and bet, the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Alef is the picture of an ox or bull, and is used symbolically to mean strength, leader, or first.
Bet is the picture of a tent or a house, and is often used symbolically to represent the household or family.
And when we put those two letters together we get ab or av, which means father. And here’s the picture: The father is the strength of the home.
So let’s look at the whole word with the letters alef and bet together. Hebrew is written from right to left instead of what we are used to, which is left to right.
The next letter that we want to look at is hey. It’s word picture is a window, and often means to behold, or reveal.
We are going to put hey, the window that reveals, right in the middle, or heart, of “father.” And when we do, we see the father’s heart revealed.
What do you think we see when we look into the father’s heart? The Hebrew word is ahav.
It is LOVE! Love is what you find when the father’s heart is revealed.
And when we think about our Heavenly Father, the meaning becomes even more profound. The Father’s heart toward you is love. When you look in His heart, that’s what you find.
Zodhiates says, “Ahav is often used to describe the unspeakable love and tender mercies of God in the covenant relationship with His people.”
Do this because you are a people set apart as holy to God, your God. God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure.
God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations.
Deuteronomy 7:6-9 (MSG)
Look at your Father and see Him as strong and protecting, and look at His heart. Peer through the window of the Word and see the steadfast love that works all your circumstances for good because you are His, the love that won’t let you go as it conforms you to the image of His Son.
Word picture definition: “Hebrew Word Pictures” by Frank T. Seekins, 2012