I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD.
In the three years or so after I left university, it seemed that every weekend in the summer months would be spent at the wedding of some friend or other. For a few years after that, things settled down, but the next couple of years look like they’re going to get busy on the wedding front again, with some of my closest friends getting married – and even my little brother!
In our current Mark Marathon mile, Jesus uses the image of a wedding to explain his relationship with those who follow him. He uses parables to describe himself as a bridegroom, and suggests that it would be inappropriate for his followers to fast whilst he is with them. The time will come when fasting is appropriate, but now is not the time, he tells them.
Jesus here picks up a theme that appears in the Old Testament. Here in Hosea, God uses the image of a marriage to describe his relationship with his people – a marriage that will last forever. This marriage will be based on righteousness, justice, love, compassion and faithfulness. These are all good qualities, and I’m sure that if anyone saw these qualities in someone, they would consider that they make a good candidate for marriage. These qualities, however, in their perfect form, can only come from God. He will freely give these to us, though, if we accept his betrothal. Is there a long list of things he wants in return? Not at all; he simply says that we must acknowledge the Lord.
God makes some amazing promises to us here, which are picked up by Christ in the New Testament. Surely it’s right to acknowledge the Lord if we get all this back in return?