Summary: Throughout the bible God's relationship with his people is often referred to as a marriage relationship. He is our husband, we are his bride. So, what kind of husband is God? Let's find out.
1) Betrothed. The first part of a Jewish wedding ceremony is the betrothal. We would liken it to an engagement. However, unlike a modern-day engagement that can simply be broken off, a Jewish betrothal could not. In essence the man and woman were married-it’s just that there was a period of time that elapsed before the consummation of the marriage took place.
For us, our ceremony was our baptism. That was where we accepted the proposal and officially betrothed ourselves to Jesus. Rom. 6:3-5, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.”
At our baptism we were united with Jesus. At our baptism we became a new creation and we took on a new name. Like in a traditional wedding ceremony where the bride takes on the name of her husband, we too have taken on a new name-the name of our husband-Christ. We are now Christians.
Our baptism is where we clothed ourselves with Christ. Gal. 3:26-27, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” At our baptism we have put on our wedding clothes.
Isaiah 61:10, “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” At our baptism we put on the marriage garments. We are now recognized as betrothed, taken, belonging to our husband-Jesus Christ.
2) What kind of husband is God? The bible talks about God being a jealous God. The first and second commandments talk about not having other gods in our lives and that God is a jealous God. But it’s not jealousy in the way we think. When we think of a jealous husband we think of someone who’s controlling and paranoid. God’s jealousy stems from his holiness and his love. Any husband has this regard for his wife-he doesn’t want her having anyone else but him. He won’t tolerate his wife carrying on relationships with other men. So it is with God. He won’t tolerate us putting anyone or anything else before him. He won’t play second fiddle; nor does he deserve to.
God isn’t jealous of, he’s jealous for. God has no reason to be jealous of any other so-called god. God’s jealousy is for us; he doesn’t want to see us get hurt, he doesn’t want to see us lose out. He loves us; he wants to protect us from harm. God is a loving and forgiving husband.
As you go through the OT you will see many references to Israel and Judah being the bride of God. But, unfortunately, God’s bride was unfaithful. But even in their adultery God wanted them back.
Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. He wept over his people’s infidelity. In chapter two of Jeremiah, God highlights their prior devotion, how at one time they were faithful to him. Then he makes the point that there was no reason for them to leave him for another god but they did anyway. So, they needed to know that they brought upon themselves the consequences of their adultery.
Jeremiah 3:1-14. First God highlights that he is doing what a normal husband wouldn’t do (1-2). Then he reminds them of how they have dishonored their marriage covenant through prostituting themselves and without any shame in doing so. It’s interesting how they seem confused as to why God would be so angry with them (4-5). Sometimes we can be oblivious too. We wonder why there are consequences to our actions and why God is withholding blessings from us when we are going about prostituting ourselves. Then we see that God sent them away-divorced Israel (8). But it wasn’t because he wanted nothing to do with them anymore, it was actually the opposite-it was so they would wake up and return to him with all their heart (12-14).
When we stray away God may have to distance himself from us. He may “divorce” us. But it would only be for the purpose of trying to get us to come to our senses and come back to his loving, waiting arms.
When there was sexual immorality in the Corinthian church, Paul told them to hand the person over to Satan. But his purpose in doing so was so that his sinful nature could be destroyed and his Spirit saved.