We focused on ‘echad’ last time, and how the Hebrew word for ‘one’ isn’t only to identify a single item or entity, but it’s also a means of identifying a unity or items or entities. God is echad, but a plural, a union if you will. One nation can be made up on millions of people. A company of soldiers can have one mission and must work as a unified unit to see the mission completed.
We learned too that God made Adam and Eve, the first married couple that once joined, became ‘one flesh’ and we learned that in that context, God described His relationship with His people like that of a marriage, and that’s what we’re going to look at over the next few programs.
One of the things you notice when studying the Bible are the patterns and pictures that are consistently seen throughout Scripture.
Relationships are important. The very first relationship established by God for human beings was the relationship of marriage and it was between Adam and Eve.
Why did it have to be marriage, why didn’t God create Adam from the dust and then take a son from Adam’s side to reflect the relationship God had with His Son? Why did it have to be marriage between a man and woman?
We need to take a quick look at how God describes Israel the nation prophetically – how He found her and how He saved her. This is a really important foundation to understand if you want a clear picture of what God is presenting about Himself and His people in His Word.
Why does God put such an emphasis on marriage and why does He hate divorce so much?
Ezekiel 16 describes prophetically Israel’s beginning, all her sin and God’s ultimate and eventual forgiveness and restoration. The entire chapter goes for 63 verses so it’s too long to read out here but here a few crucial ones. This is God speaking about Israel.
V4-7, ‘“As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born. When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, “Live!” Yes, I said to you while you were in your blood, “Live!” I made you numerous like plants of the field. Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your hair had grown. Yet you were naked and bare. Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you are at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,” declares the Lord God.”
Remember that the hem is a representation of the authority of the person. David just the hem of Saul’s robe, questioning his authority. Ruth asked Boaz to spread his hem or skirt over her, not a sexual proposition but a request for authority to claim her in the act of familial redemption.
V9-10, “Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head.”
V13, “Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey and oil; you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty.”’
God married Israel – she became His wife!
The chapter goes on to describe all Israel’s infidelities and unfaithfulness to God her Husband, taking all the blessings He had bestowed on her and playing the harlot with all the nations around about, making herself an adulteress.
In verse 32, God says this to Israel, “You adulteress wife, who takes strangers instead of her Husband!”
God goes on and describes all the punishments that will come to her for her adultery and at the very end He promises to forgive and restore her to Himself because His covenant with her in an everlasting covenant and He cannot break His Word.
Ezekiel 16:60, “Nevertheless, I’ll remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I’ll establish an everlasting covenant with you.”
So in Ezekiel, Israel is presented as Ya’hovah’s wife but this isn’t a one-off description in the Bible? When people read chapters like this, if they read them at all, they don’t understand them so they simply ignore them because they no longer think they’re important and yet, Ezekiel 16 is as relevant and important today as it was in the day it was written.
Next time, we’ll look some more at God’s relationship with Israel and how it developed over the centuries.