Monday, April 19, 2010

Covenant And Marriage

The one place in our modern experience where there is some reference to covenant is marriage. In the ancient world covenants were established through official ceremonies, verbal commitments [isert from Pauls notes]. The same is true of marriage. The personal promises made by the covenant partners are made for the sake of the other person not as a contract for the sake of self-preservation.

In God's kingdom, the king is not looking for servants or subjects who abide by his rules. He is seeking a bride who will enter into his love and live by his ways. God created the world to walk with his covenant partners. After the breaking of covenant, he has sought restoration of that relationship as a husband seeks his love.

This is no more clearly articulated than in the book of Hosea. There God instructs Hosea to take a prostitute as his wife, symbolizing the faithlessness of Israel. In the book we see how Gomer returns to her fallen ways and rejects Hosea's love but Hosea goes and gets her, restores her and continues to embrace her even though legally he could devorce her. This is an extended parable of God's faithful love for his bride Israel who had prostituted themselves repeatedly by worshipping other Gods.

Here is a perfect context to talk about God's anger which is spoken of in the Bible. It would be absurd to think of a human who loves his wife who would not be angry or frustrated with her if she broke covenant. If he truly is passionately in love then there would be strong emotions involved. Ornthinm about a father who loves his children. I can get quite frustrated with my kids. I don't find myself getting very upset when other kids disobey their parents. In fact sometimes it makes me smile. But when my kids fail to obey I have an emotional reaction. Not because they have dishonored me or caused me some kind of harm. Such a response would be selfish. Actually I'm hurt by he lack of trust, the brokenness I our communication and fact that they are not experiencing how much I love them.

The king of the Kingdom is not looking for a bunch or rule followers who live moral lives and go to burch regularly. God, our King, is our husband who loves the church and gave his life for us so that we might share in his love. As xxx says, he is jealous for us not with the kind of selfish jealously that we experience today which is not love at all. That kind of jealousy limits, binds and hords. He is jealous because his love frees, releases and creates beauty.

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