Mountain wedding

In the narrative of salvation God is protrayed as the passionate and jealous husband to his bride, Israel. He chooses her, she leaves Him, and he goes to redeem her! It is God who is the original romantic, dramatic, and truly holy husband. We come to learn that the marriage institution is ultimately a protrayal of Christ and the church (Eph 5) which is but a canvase to reveal God passionate, jealous love for His chosen people. Follow the epic picking up in Exodus and see it continue through the prophets. At the end of this post you'll find the introduction to a sermon by Charles Spurgeon where we who are in Christ are encouraged by God as Husband.  

Exodus 34:12–16 | Leaving Egypt 
12 Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. 13 You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.

There is a significant difference between God and a petty, insecure boyfriend. God does not need the worship of his bride in order to know His worth and contain Himself.  God's jealousy is not due to something he needs from his bride, but something that he bestows on his bride. His jealousy is who He is -- the passionate, singularly focused covenant keeping husband. 

Judges 2:16–19 // In the Land 
16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. 18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. 19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways.

In Exodus God made his vows of jealousy. In Judges His bride breaks them. "Whoredom" is how Judges describes the entire time period of the Judges. How can we understand the nature of the depth of betrayal in idolatry? It is a pain and a sin we are all to familiar with as mankind -- adultury. It is the most intimate and painful of betrayals. So Judges describes Israel's worship as "whoredome". Not only is idolatry and accidental love affair which the bride regrets, it can only be described as ongoing whoredome.

What will God do? What kind of husband is God? 


Isaiah 54:1–10 | Pre Exile

Isaiah is years before Isreal will actually be removed from the land becasue of their idolatry. But Isaiah prophesies the nature of God in their future. We begin to see what kind of husband God will be to an adulterous bride. 

For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, 
and your offspring will possess the nations 

and will people the desolate cities. 
“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; 
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; 
for you will forget the shame of your youth, 
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 
For your Maker is your husband, 
the Lord of hosts is his name; 
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, 

the God of the whole earth he is called. 
For the Lord has called you 
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, 
like a wife of youth when she is cast off, 

says your God. 
For a brief moment I deserted you, 
but with great compassion I will gather you. 
In overflowing anger for a moment 
I hid my face from you, 
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” 
says the Lord, your Redeemer. 
“This is like the days of Noah to me: 
as I swore that the waters of Noah 
should no more go over the earth, 
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, 
and will not rebuke you. 
10  For the mountains may depart 
and the hills be removed, 
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, 
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” 
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Ezekiel 16:30–43 | In Exile 

No we come to see the severy and holiness of God. Israel has given herself to full-blown betrayal of God again and again. See how Ezekiel speaks of the years between the Judges and the exile into Babylon. It is terribly gross. Usually, prositutes get paid for their service. But not Israel, they paid their customers! 

30 “How sick is your heart, declares the Lord God, because you did all these things, the deeds of a brazen prostitute, 31 building your vaulted chamber at the head of every street, and making your lofty place in every square. Yet you were not like a prostitute, because you scorned payment. 32 Adulterous wife, who receives strangers instead of her husband! 33 Men give gifts to all prostitutes, but you gave your gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from every side with your whorings. 34 So you were different from other women in your whorings. No one solicited you to play the whore, and you gave payment, while no payment was given to you; therefore you were different. 

35 “Therefore, O prostitute, hear the word of the Lord: 36 Thus says the Lord God, Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your whorings with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them, 37 therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and all those you hated. I will gather them against you from every side and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness. 38 And I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. 39 And I will give you into their hands, and they shall throw down your vaulted chamber and break down your lofty places. They shall strip you of your clothes and take your beautiful jewels and leave you naked and bare. 40 They shall bring up a crowd against you, and they shall stone you and cut you to pieces with their swords. 41 And they shall burn your houses and execute judgments upon you in the sight of many women. I will make you stop playing the whore, and you shall also give payment no more. 42 So will I satisfy my wrath on you, and my jealousy shall depart from you. I will be calm and will no more be angry. 43 Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have enraged me with all these things, therefore, behold, I have returned your deeds upon your head, declares the Lord God. Have you not committed lewdness in addition to all your abominations?

Hosea 2:1–23 // 753-687 BC

Now look how Hosea portrays Israel. She is not only in a lurid affair, she is happy, rich, and has entirely forgotten God! She doesn't even miss Him. She is found wearing the jewely, spending the money, and enjoying the company of her lovers (vs 11-13). This is how God finds her. See God's heart and intentions....what will He do?

2  Say to your brothers, “You are my people,” and to your sisters, “You have received mercy.” 
“Plead with your mother, plead— 

for she is not my wife, 
and I am not her husband— 
that she put away her whoring from her face, 
and her adultery from between her breasts; 
lest I strip her naked 
and make her as in the day she was born, 
and make her like a wilderness, 
and make her like a parched land, 
and kill her with thirst. 
Upon her children also I will have no mercy, 
because they are children of whoredom. 
For their mother has played the whore; 
she who conceived them has acted shamefully. 
For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, 
who give me my bread and my water, 
my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ 
Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, 
and I will build a wall against her, 
so that she cannot find her paths. 
She shall pursue her lovers 
but not overtake them, 
and she shall seek them 
but shall not find them. 
Then she shall say, 
‘I will go and return to my first husband, 
for it was better for me then than now.’ 
And she did not know 
that it was I who gave her 
the grain, the wine, and the oil, 
and who lavished on her silver and gold, 
which they used for Baal. 
Therefore I will take back 
my grain in its time, 
and my wine in its season, 
and I will take away my wool and my flax, 
which were to cover her nakedness. 
10  Now I will uncover her lewdness 
in the sight of her lovers, 
and no one shall rescue her out of my hand. 
11  And I will put an end to all her mirth, 
her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, 
and all her appointed feasts. 
12  And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, 
of which she said, 
‘These are my wages, 
which my lovers have given me.’ 
I will make them a forest, 
and the beasts of the field shall devour them. 
13  And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals 
when she burned offerings to them 
and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, 
and went after her lovers 
and forgot me, declares the Lord. 
14  “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, 
and bring her into the wilderness, 
and speak tenderly to her. 
15  And there I will give her her vineyards 
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. 
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, 

as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. 
16 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17 For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18 And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord. 

God is going to betroth His whoring wife in righteousness. How can that be? God goes to find his lover in the arms of another and brings her back to himself by "alluring her". Then HE himself provides her righteousness. It He himself will bring her back to himself forever by his own steadfast love and mercy. The jealous God becomes the justifying God. The heart of justification is God's passionatea and jealous love for his people. 

Now, we see Spurgeon apply that to those who are in Christ. He begins with Jeremiah 3:14 where Isreal is called to repend because God is husband to them. Consider God's jealous love for those who in Christ. 

"The Relationship of Marriage"
By C.H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you.
—Jeremiah 3:14.  

These be dainty (delicious) words—a grateful anodyne (pain-killer) for a troubled conscience. Such singular comfort is fitted to cheer up the soul, and put the brightest hue on all her prospects. The person to whom it is addressed hath an eminently happy position. Satan will be very busy with you, believer in Christ, to-night. He will say, “What right have you to believe that God is married to you?” He will remind you of your imperfections, and of the coldness of your love, and perhaps of the backsliding state of your heart. He will say, “What, with all this about you, can you be presumptuous enough to claim union with the Son of God? Can you venture to hope that there will be any marriage between you and the holy One.” 

He will tell you as though he were an advocate for holiness, that it is not possible that such a one as you feel yourself to be, can really be a partaker of so choice and special a privilege as being married unto the Lord. Let this suffice for an answer to all such suggestions: the text is found addressed, not to Christians in a flourishing state of heart, not to believers upon Mount Tabor, transfigured with Christ, not to a spouse all chaste and fair, and sitting under the banner of love, feasting with her lord; but it is addressed to those who are called “backsliding children.” 

God speaks to his church in her lowest and most abject estate, and though he does not fail to rebuke her sin, to lament it, and to make her lament it too, yet still in such an estate he says to her, “I am married unto you.” Oh! it is grace that he should be married to any of us, but it is grace at its highest pitch, it is the ocean of grace at its flood-tide, that he should speak thus of “backsliding children.” 

That he should speak in notes of love of any of the fallen race of Adam is “passing strange—‘tis wonderful;” but that he should select those who have behaved treacherously to him, who have turned their backs to him and not their faces, who have played him false, although, nevertheless, his own, and say unto them, “I am married unto YOU; this is lovingkindness beyond aught we could wot or ween. Hear, O heaven, and admire, O earth, let every understanding heart break forth into singing, yea, let every humble mind bless and praise the condescension of the Most High! Cheer up poor drooping hearts. Here is sweet encouragement for some of you who are depressed, and disconsolate, and sit alone, to draw living waters out of this well. Do not let the noise of the archers keep you back from the place of the drawing of water. Be not afraid lest you should be cursed whilst you are anticipating the blessing. If you do but trust in Jesus, if you have but a vital interest in the once humbled, now exalted Lord, come with holy boldness to the text, and whatever comfort there be here, receive it and rejoice therein.