We’re going to introduce a spiritual concept that is taught in the Bible. For us physical human beings, it’s sometimes hard to wrap our minds around fully, and yet if we can grasp it just a bit, we can gain a better understanding of the Character of God. Pray for Wisdom as we work our way through this. At the Covenant of Mt. Sinai, where Israel agreed to follow YHWH and worship ONLY HIM, we see a spiritual picture of a physical marriage. YHWH Elohim is the “husband” (LORD/GOD), and Israel (aka Judah) is the “wife”. Israel and YHWH were married at Mt. Sinai as Moses ascended the Mountain to receive the ten commandments. The ten commandments written on Stone by the very finger of God are a picture of the marriage “agreement” or contract, also called a Ketubah in Hebrew. In this contract, God promised Israel that if they obeyed His Commandments, He would bless their socks off. On the other hand, if they did not obey His Commandments, He would bring upon them curses, the worst of which would be exile. (Deuteronomy 28: 1-68)
Exodus 19: 3 Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, ‘This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: :4 You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion.
Jeremiah 31: 31 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, ” declares the LORD.
We’ll just take a moment or two to discuss the Physical Covenant of Marriage in the Bible. God continues to use physical concepts to teach us spiritual realities. Sadly, the topic of Biblical marriage has become a “controversial topic” because of all the ways that man has changed/morphed/adapted the Sacrament of marriage to fit the culture. But really, God does not change and neither does HIS idea of the Biblical marriage. The Biblical marriage is a picture of how God views His relationship with His people.
People in the world will tell you that the “Biblical Marriage” is just another way for God to force His rules on people. They think God is “mean” because His idea of marriage is not what they want it to be. Why can’t a homosexual couple marry? Why does God not advocate for more than one wife or husband? Why does God hate divorce? Okay, we can talk about this. God gave mankind free will, to do as we please. However, all actions have reactions or consequences. Abraham found this out when he decided to “marry” Hagar in order to force the fulfillment of the of the Promised Seed through her son Ishmael. This turned out to be a disaster and the jealousy and bitterness that stemmed from this one mistaken act has subsequently affected the entire world. YHWH (God) is the One who established the concept of marriage in the first place, and when we choose to deviate radically from His original design, we suffer the consequences. The Biblical marriage is a symbol of a perfect world, a symbol of God’s undying love for His people, a symbol of God’s relationship with His people.
The Biblical marriage is the “Gold Standard” for all marriage; however, we all fall short of the glory of God. Thank God for HIS MERCY!!!
Within the Marriage Covenant, God spells out what He expects from each party, both male and female. We see this in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Again, people in the world look at this as “old fashioned”, and “ugh, more rules”. But remember, we’re talking about the Gold Standard, which, when achieved to any degree, is something extraordinarily beautiful. It is something to aspire to, not scoff at.
Ephesians 5: 22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Yes, the Bible really does tell the woman to “be subject” or to “submit”…to her husband. Now, this is something that will get women’s “dander” up, when they hear this, especially in this day and age. But all of this HAS to be considered…IN CONTEXT. We are talking about a Biblical marriage, the GOLD STANDARD! We are talking about YHWH Elohim and ISRAEL. We are talking about CHRIST and the CHURCH. The Physical Marriage Covenant is a PICTURE of the Spiritual marriage between God and His people. It is THE most INTIMATE relationship EVER! Through the earthly Covenant of “marriage” that God established between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, God is teaching us MUCH LARGER spiritual principles about HIS relationship with ISRAEL and CHRIST’S relationship with the CHURCH. This is why marriage matters so much to YHWH! The Biblical Marriage GLORIFIES YHWH, it GLORIFIES JESUS, our CREATOR!
And what happens when a man and a woman come together in a Biblical marriage, or at least, what is the potential in a perfect world?
- LIFE!!! Biblical marriage has the POTENTIAL to PRODUCE LIFE (children)
- The union between God and Israel/Christ and the Church also has the POTENTIAL to produce “LIFE” or “FRUIT” (Spiritual Life).
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, E
A husband’s love for his wife should be literally sacrificial, that he would sacrifice even his very life for her, like Christ did for the Church. This is the type of love we’re talking about. Remember, husband and wife are ONE. Consider this for a moment. What if every single decision that a husband made was to benefit his wife? What if his every waking thought was how to please, how to bless, how to adore his wife, then wives, wouldn’t it be easy to “submit” to his decisions, especially when they were always to benefit YOU??? Of course!!! This is the ideal, and I would have to think that probably every marriage on earth has fallen short of this Biblical standard. God is not telling a woman in an abusive marriage to “submit”. That is not a Biblical marriage because the husband is not loving his wife as his own body. See the difference?
Mystery of Marriage….
When a husband and wife are “joined together” physically in marriage, they become ONE FLESH. This is the MYSTERY of MARRIAGE, and LOVE is the KEY! In this Biblical Marriage, both parties are to be “all in” with each other. They are joined together as One, not physically, but spiritually. This is the IDEAL MARRIAGE, a bond between one man and one woman, two individual, unique people who are of one mind, one accord, one passion, with God at the center, a bond that will last FOREVER. God is ALWAYS at the center of a Biblical marriage. A cord with 3 strands is not easily broken. Yes, the wife is to “submit” to her husband, but only because the husband is to love his wife as his own body! We’re talking about a symbiotic relationship.
YHWH is married to Israel/Judah….
Returning to the marriage between YHWH and Israel….HIS STORY tells us that Israel was very, very unfaithful, but YHWH remained totally faithful to Israel. Idolatry, to God, is like “Spiritual Adultery”. When Israel began to worship the Canaanite ‘gods’, this was akin to cheating on her husband, YHWH. Israel’s “cheatin’ heart” ultimately brought about God’s wrath, and all the curses that He pronounced would happen to Israel in the Mosaic Covenant happened just as He said, including exile into foreign lands.
Why did I title this page “God is married to Judah”…and not “God is married to Israel”? Oh, you caught that. Judah = Israel…sort of. Eventually, we’re going to get into why God sometimes differentiates between “Israel” and Judah” in the Bible. But for this message, just consider Israel and Judah as one and the same, because in the days of the Judges they were the same, and they were unfaithful to their husband YHWH, cheating on Him with the Canaanite ‘gods’.