In the last program we began looking at how God described His relationship with His people Israel and the description we specifically looked at was in Ezekiel 16. God described Israel’s birth, how she was discarded and rejected by the world, and for all intents and purposes, she should have died, but God saw her, He cared for her, provided for her and married her; He bound Himself to her. However, Israel rebelled and took all the blessings and provisions that her Husband, God, had given to her, and became an adulteress with the pagan nations around about her.
Almost at th end of Ezekiel 16, after telling Israel His wife of the punishments she’d endure, God promised that He’d remember the covenant He made with her when she was young, and would in fact enter an ‘everlasting covenant’ with her.
In this program we’re going to look at some more places in Scripture where God described His relationship with Israel as that of a husband and his wife.
The entire book of Hosea is a prophetic description of God’s heartbreak and anger with His people Israel who have been an adulterous people, being unfaithful to Him just like Hosea the prophet’s wife Gomer was unfaithful to him.
God told Hosea to take a wife of prostitution, to have children with her and every time she returned to her sexually immoral ways, God told Hosea to receive her back, forgive her and love her again. This pattern was a physical representation of God’s relationship with Israel His wife, who was repeatedly unfaithful to Him and how He, her faithful Husband, repeatedly received her back, forgiving her and loving her again.
After a time, God said that He would divorce Israel for her infidelity – BUT – at the end of the book of Hosea, God relents of His anger and says that He cannot reject Israel outright permanently, His love for her and His compassion for her…His wife…is overwhelming to Him. He promises to forgive her sin and heal her yet again. (Hosea 14)
Hosea 14, ‘”Return O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity and receive us graciously, that we may present the fruit of our lips. Assyria won’t save us, we won’t ride on horses; nor will we say again, ‘Our god’, to the work of our hands; for in You the orphan finds mercy. I’ll heal their apostasy, I’ll love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them. I’ll be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, and he’ll take root like the cedars of Lebanon. His shoots will sprout, and his beauty will be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon. Those who live in his shadow will again raise grain, and they’ll blossom like the vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon. O Ephrain, what more have I to do with idols? It’s I who answer and look after you. I’m like a luxuriant cypress; from Me comes your fruit. Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.”’
Here are some other passages about Israel being unfaithful and being compared to an adulteress.
Jeremiah 3:8, “Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.”
Jeremiah 3:14, “Return O backsliding children”, says the Lord; “For I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”
This is about restoration to the land – another covenant that was unconditional and eternal.
Jeremiah 31:31-33, “Behold the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a Husband to them,” says the Lord. “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
Now while God is justified in divorcing His unfaithful wife for her repeated harlotry and unfaithfulness toward Him, and He has every right to be angry and put her aside and punish her, He always relents and never follows through on permanently cutting her off. Yes, He punishes her, yes she suffers incredible judgment but God always promises to restore Israel His wife to Himself.
Now there’s the woman in Revelation 12, she appears in heaven, she’s clothed with the sun, the moon is under her feet and there’s a crown of 12 stars on her head. She’s pregnant, in labour and gives birth to a Son. A dragon is before her who attempts to devour her baby when it’s born, but the child will eventually grow to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, and God catches the child into heaven before the dragon can devour Him.
Who is this woman? Next time we’ll look at the identity of this woman and her son.