It Is Time To Dress

statue-adam-eve-garden-eden-581805-printWe often look at biblical love stories to find out how we should behave in relationships and this is right. We should dwell on Adam and Eve.  Their Edenic love story teaches the ideal. We should study Abraham and Sarah. They exemplify a love that overcomes obstacles. Reading about Isaac and Rebekah inspires us in believing God’s providence can bring romance out of nowhere and at any age. And we could mention Jacob and Rachel, David and Bathsheba and others. But we seldom look at the entire bible as a love story. Still, that is what it is. Humanity is Christ’s bride. (Isaiah 54:5). And the whole bible from beginning to end is the world’s greatest love story. It is the tragic, yet beautiful saga of God wooing His bride.

Adam-and-EveAt the fall, mankind severed his relationship with God. And from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22 we see God trying to restore it. At first the Lord focused on a single family.  Abram’s family was chosen as the one through whom He would bless humanity. The plan was for Him to marry Abram’s descendants and through them bring salvation in the birth of His Son.  In Exodus the Lord courted his future bride.  In it we see the suitor find the girl and rescue her from a bad situation.  He provided for and protected her. He did great feats in her behalf and finally swept her off her feet, taking her away from a toxic abuser. In chapter 20, the Ten Commandments were promises they made to each other.  From this beginning one would hope they lived happily ever after.

The relationship had problems right from the start. But none of that failure was God’s. He was the great romancer. He was the perfect suitor, husband and the best of friends. He loved His bride flawlessly, yet she broke His heart every chance she got. He declared, “What could have been done more to my vineyard (bride) that I have not done in it?” Isaiah 5:4.  But despite His perfect love, the relationship was a total bust.

children-652270_1920Like the fractured personality of a person with dissociative identity disorder, Christ’s fiancee became two women.  The Lord Himself  divided her, not because she was mentally ill, but because she was rebellious.  Judah and Israel became twin sisters in a relationship with the same Man. After a while, Israel refused Him completely and He divorced her. He embassy-2052553_1920continued trying to make things work with Judah, but she followed in the example of her sister. “Have you seen what faithless Israel did?  She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.”  Jeremiah 3: 6 – 8.  With anguish these verses recount the abuse He took from His beloved brides. But the story did not end there.

copper-1649649_1920Judah did not only follow in her sisters footsteps, she went further. “Men give gifts to all harlots, but you give your gifts to all your lovers to bribe them to come to you from every direction for your harlotries. Thus you are different from those women in your harlotries, in that no one plays the harlot as you do, because you give money and no money is given you; thus you are different.” Ezekiel 16: 33, 34. In an effort to save His fianceé from self-destruction, God took a break from the relationship and sent her to Babylon.  There she had the opportunity to remember where she came from. She was supposed to recall her original captivity in Egypt and appreciate how God had rescued her. And for a time she did. She straightened up her act and after 70 years of being separated, she was brought home.

If this was a hollywood movie, the story would end here and the couple would live in peace. But reality is never like the movies. Judah had not really changed. She actually just went undercover. Instead of flagrantly abusing her boyfriend, she complied with the expectations of the relationship, but underneath she still hated everything He stood for. bride groomCenturies went by and finally, Jesus came to give her His blood as the engagement gift. And instead of treasuring Him, she killed Him. There was nothing left for Him to do. He divorced her and chose her cousin, the New Testament church, to be His future wife.

This new relationship is fraught with difficulties too, but this time Jesus will get to take His bride home to His father and consummate the relationship. He longingly waits for the wedding feast. It is a wonder to me that He has chosen us.  It is a greater miracle still that He allows us to have power over His heart.  I hope to hasten the ending to this epic story by being faithful to our excellent Lover and getting ready to go home with Him. It is time to dress, so He can have His dream come true.

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“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19: 7

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