I’ve been reading a new study bible lately. I’ve noticed that often when the word “love” is used the word “loyalty” is supplied as an alternative translation.
I’ve honestly never really put the words love and loyalty together like that in my mind but I think I’ve always associated those concepts together in my heart.
People intuitively understand that if you truly love someone you’ll be loyal to them. If you love someone, you should stick by them, supporting and, if necessary, defending them.
In fact, I think one of our deepest longings is to have an abundant supply in our lives of the kind of love that truly sticks no matter what. With so many of us raised as latch key kids with people that breezed in and out of our lives, this sort of foundational love is often hard to understand but, at the same time, extremely desirable.
If you start attaching the two words together in your mind a lot of the Bible becomes even more powerful. When God says He loves us, He’s also saying that He’ll be loyal to us. When God asks us to love Him, He’s also asking us to be loyal to Him.
Of course, there are seasons, sometimes long seasons, when it feels like God is far, far away. These feelings cannot be trusted. God says that He will never leave us or forsake us. No, during those lonely seasons, we must decide to trust Him instead of our feelings. We must decide to trust His loyal love over all else knowing that there is no greater love (and loyalty) than the love the Father has lavished upon us.
Human love and loyalty may be fickle and prone to failure but God’s loyal love stands firm.