23. EVERLASTING ESPOUSALS
"How precious also are Your thoughts unto me, O God!"
And I will betroth you unto Me forever; yes, I will betroth you unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. Hosea 2:19
The most endearing as well as the most exalted relationships of earth are employed to illustrate and symbolize God's love to His people. He is represented comforting as a mother, pitying as a father, sympathizing as a friend, healing as a physician, bestowing as a king. Here He is described as entering into everlasting espousals with His Church, and with every redeemed member of it—in the depths of a past eternity, pledging His vow to His betrothed Bride—putting the espousal-ring on her finger; summoning Righteousness, Judgment, Loving-kindness, and Mercies, as witnesses of the magnificent ceremony, to sign and ratify the marriage-contract.
How uncertain are earth's apparently securest ties! Brother may be severed from brother, husband from wife, child from parent, friend from friend. But, in our union with God—linked to Him in the bonds of the everlasting covenant—the pang of separation can neither be felt nor feared. Age can never plough its furrows on the brow. Sickness can never blanch the cheek. Death can never unlock the fountain of tears. The grave can never close over our "loved and lost." "I will betroth you unto Me forever!"
As in the human union which here, as in other passages, is made the type and symbol of the nobler covenant, that Divine espousal is reared on the twofold basis of HONOR and of LOVE. Righteousness and Judgment, the two representatives of God's honor, come first; Loving-kindness and Mercy follow. It is a union founded on everlasting truth, justice, and rectitude. These attesting witnesses sign the contract around the Cross of Calvary. There "mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other." "Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it." What an endless dowry did that mighty Sacrifice purchase and secure for the Bride of heaven!
Soon the festal-day shall be here; when the betrothed spouse shall be presented to the heavenly Bridegroom—ushered into the blest pavilion of His own presence. The marriage-procession is even now on foot. The train is sweeping along to the hall of the King's palace. Righteousness, Judgment, Loving-kindness, Mercy, these are the four torch-bearers lighting the way to the gladsome scene. Have we heard and obeyed the midnight summons, "Behold, the Bridegroom comes; go out to meet Him?"
Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know Me and understand that I am the Lord who is just and righteous, whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken! Jeremiah 9:24