Wednesday, 6 January 2010

6. Happy Anniversary?

We have just celebrated our 45th Wedding Anniversary and we sat and talked about how well we could (or couldn't!) remember the details of the actual wedding day. God never forgot any of the details of the great day of the Sinai covenant. He constantly reminded Israel of it when in their spiritual promiscuity they turned to idols. But he remembered it with remarkable affection too.

The Ezekiel 16 chapter is addressed to 'Jerusalem' but is really intended for the whole nation. Jeremiah writing a little earlier does the same thing in a passage which is as moving, in its way, as that of Ezekiel.

It begins Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem... Jer 2:2 but what follows makes it very clear that God is thinking of the whole nation and its beginnings. Ezekiel speaks of the beginnings from the perspective of the utter unworthiness of the nation but Jeremiah had taken a different perspective. He gives us an amazing glimpse into the heart of God; "Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, 'Thus says the LORD: "I remember you, The kindness of your youth, The love of your betrothal, When you went after Me in the wilderness, In a land not sown. Jer 2:2. This is really an extraordinary memory of the Sinai event. That word 'kindness' is really covenant love or 'loyal love'. We are used to hearing about God's 'loyal covenant love' but in this instance God is remembering that of Israel!

How well do you remember this story? Do you remember any expression of Israel's loyal love? He describes the event: "I remember you, The kindness of your youth, The love of your betrothal, When you went after Me in the wilderness, In a land not sown. Israel [was] holiness to the LORD, The firstfruits of His increase..." Jer 2:2-3. God is remembering Israel's faithfulness to him as it was expressed at the beginning. We are usually mindful of Israel's abject failure but God remembered a time when they responded in a remarkable way to his mercy.

During the very covenant ceremony Israel was unfaithful to her bridegroom and God was ready to wipe them out and start all again with just Moses. Moses pleaded for them and God condescended to continue with them. Ex 32:33 For the next year they remained at the foot of Sinai until they had completed all that was required for their priestly role, especially God's own mobile temple that we know as the Tabernacle. During this time the people of Israel 'only had eyes for one'. They brought their daily gifts with such abandonment that Moses had to make the most remarkable financial appeal in history... he pleaded with them to STOP giving. Exodus 36:5-7.

God remembered these days when Israel was 'holiness to the Lord'; entirely separated to her bridegroom'. And this was no 'cupboard love' in which the people loved God for what they could get out of him. This was a time when they '...went after Me in the wilderness, In a land not sown. Jer 2:2. That's the kind of bride/church that God has always had in mind. There is an echo of this in Christ's word to the church in Ephesus in the Revelation. Of all the various conditions found in the churches of the Revelation only Ephesus is threatened with extinction, and with this solemn comment; Nevertheless I have [this] against you, that you have left your first love. Rev 2:4. God never forgets first love and He will never be satisfied with anything less.

1 comment:

-:-Chanin-:- said...

God bless you and Happy Anniversary!