Sunday, July 30, 2017
Marriage and Delight
Is. 62:4 You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the LORD delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
Is. 62:5 For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your builder marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you. (NRSV)
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the Lord will take delight in you,
and your land will be married. (NIV)
This prophecy regarding the transformation of Zion should be a blessing to us all. As the children of Israel had wandered about in exile they were about to discover what it meant to return home. No longer were they going to feel as if they were forsaken or deserted. Their homeland was to be transformed, no longer desolate. God’s covenant relationship with his people was to be seen again just as a husband and wife standing at the altar on the day of their nuptials. The people of God were to be called “Hephzibah,” which means “My Delight Is in Her.” This is the way that God is talking about his beloved people — he loves them with a passion of a bridegroom awaiting his bride. The Israelite’s land was to be called “Beulah” which means married. The people of God, delighting God, and her land belonging to God as a wife to a husband. The imagery is of a husband who would lay down his life for his wife and do everything that he could to protect her. God will do the same for this, his people, the people of Israel.
Just imagine this imagery when it comes to the arrival of the Messiah. A new picture of a people who are living in desolation, a people without hope. Now the incarnate God comes to this earth to call out all people to him, to be united with him in a most holy matrimony. No longer will we be forsaken but we are invited to the altar where we are united with our Savior, the one who calls us Hephzibah. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, delights in us and loves us more than we can ever imagine and the kingdom of God is already here, Beulah has arrived as we live in the already of his kingdom.
Our creator, our builder, wants to be united with us because he is deeply and madly in love with us. He wants us to be his Hephzibah and to be called Beulah.
Every year on our anniversary this is the scripture from my reading plan. I've commented on it several times and today's post is a partial repeat. I guess I'm attracted to this because it has to do with understanding our relationship with God, much like marriage.
Thirty four years ago today I walked down the aisle and married my wonderful husband, Chuck. I thought I loved him then, but today I love him more than I could have ever imagined. The more that I get to know him and the more time I spend with him the more I fall in love with him. He has supported me over and over again in the many adventures of our lives. We are in the midst of transition again as a new venture begins, but I know that he will be right there, at my side.
There is something amazing about getting to know someone through this journey of life, through the good times and the tough times, that draws you closer. I love being with my husband and just hanging around him as much as possible. I used my frequent flyer miles and came up to Michigan to see him this weekend for our anniversary because he's here preaching for camp meeting.
Our jobs may take us in different directions but we are always connected. All day long we stay in touch sending a little text here and there and waiting for that time in the evening when we get to hear the other’s voice. I absolutely delight in my husband and I am thrilled to be his Hephzibah and to be called Beulah.
As much as I adore my husband and my heart is filled with thanksgiving today for thirty four years of marriage to him, I am all the more grateful for my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for my earthly marriage and it’s hard to believe that my Savior calls me Hephzibah and delights in me, even more than my dear Chuck. That is overwhelming.
God wants us to join into this intimate relationship with him. Christianity was never meant to be a casual relationship between a people and their God, it was meant to be Beulah land. It is into this deeper relationship, into this lifelong commitment that God is calling us. May we relax and allow the love of our Savior to consume us as his Hephzibah and journey with him into Beulah land.
Lord, thank you for your overwhelming love. Amen.