“I have loved you,” says the Lord.
Though they wanted to play the victim, His people knew it was true. God had always been faithful. A devoted lover who would never leave their side. Always working, always wooing, God pursued His people throughout their rebellion and unfaithfulness, even into exile and back again. He was a determined husband. But what kind of wife was she?
The unfaithful kind.
God’s people still pretended to serve Him, even while the priests corrupted the worship with pagan rituals and deceitful offerings. Creating an impressive external religion, the people failed to engage God on a heart level. But how could God accuse them when all outward appearances in their estimation showed their piety?
God said the proof of a surrendered heart lies in obedient service. Were they holding back from God, keeping the best of their livestock and profit for themselves? Were they busy building their own lives instead of taking care of the poor and the fatherless around them? Were they defaming God’s name through their careless divorces or working hard to remain faithful to Him by keeping covenant with their spouses? In every area, God found Israel guilty. They said one thing but did another, revealing a divided heart that dishonored God.
He wanted more. Jealous for her affections, God promised a definitive day of judgment would come. Those who truly belonged to Him would enjoy incredible joy and freedom in His presence. But everyone else who served only themselves would meet their fiery destruction.
As in Joshua’s day, God called His people to make one final, wholehearted decision: surrender your hearts and lives to the One who saves and live; or continue as your own god and reap eternal destruction. It was the great I AM’s final challenge, His last words before a 400 year communication gap. God eventually broke His silence through His coming Son, the One who redeemed His remnant people from every tribe, tongue and nation. God’s love, spoken from the beginning and demonstrated throughout history found its fullest expression through Jesus Christ, the faithful bridegroom who covers and prepares His bride. The table is spread and the preparations made. Will you be at the great Wedding feast?