small_3811387519Hosea contains the first direct mention in the Bible of God as our husband. “In that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘my husband’…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.” (Hosea 2: 16, 19-20)

It was a time when Israel was at its height of prosperity as a nation. But not all was well in the spiritual realm. God loves to bless and prosper us but there’s more to the bride’s preparation than just the dress. What’s pretty on the outside tells nothing of the heart.

Thirty years down the road, unbeknownst to Israel or Hosea, the nation of Assyria would conquer Israel. It would be a major release of God’s judgment, His cleansing of the nation. The issue is spiritual adultery. In His mercy God will bring judgment. He is so committed to his “bride to be” that He will do whatever it takes to protect her.

“Ephraim mixes with the nations; Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over.” (Hosea 7:8) God will not tolerate mixture. We must be in pursuit of holiness. It is our calling. There is a paradigm for interacting with the world around us; the role model that we have is Jesus. He shocked the church world by his choice of friends and disciples. The religious crowd couldn’t handle how Jesus hung out with sinners. But here’s the thing: He lost nothing of his inner life. He lost nothing of Father’s heart. He allowed no mixture, no compromise, nothing that would alter his life vision.

Israel on the other hand, ventured in and mixed with the ungodly, compromising her heart. And secondly, she fell into “half-heartedness.” Cooking the flat cakes entailed a constant turning, every few minutes, so that both sides cooked equally. If one side was still uncooked dough and one side burned black, the bread was useless.

A glorious church, holy and without blemish, a wife in readiness: that’s what life is all about really, at least from heaven’s perspective. The wedding landscape includes Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit – attending to the preparations. The bride’s priority, the entire body of Christ, is to have a wholehearted passion and longing to see her groom come down the aisle of history and be joined with her in the wedding of the ages.

Such a passion casts a glorious hue on your current earthly marriage. Being wholehearted about the glorious wedding to come will release fresh power with that special one with whom you walked the earthly aisle.

photo credit: yummyporky via photopin cc