January 22, 2016

“I Will Betroth You to Me Forever”

Hosea 2:13-20

I will betroth you to me forever… in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.

—  Hosea 2:19-20

Marriage ceremonies used to contain the vow “I pledge you my troth.” The words would be considered quaint today, but it was a way of making a solemn pledge of unfailing love and loyalty. In more modern English we would say, “I will be true to you.”

The Bible often describes God’s relationship with believers in terms of the loving relationship of marriage. In the Ten Commandments he says, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:5). That may sound strange, because often people think of jealousy as bad. But jealousy is not the same as envy. Envy doesn’t like it when other people have good things, and jealousy is about protecting things that belong to you. Jealousy can sometimes be distorted, but basically it is a sign of a burning love that rejects be­trayal. In marriage, the bridal couple promise “to forsake all others” and be true to each other.

This God we worship loves us so much that he was willing to give his life for us. His love is forever. It is not here today and gone tomorrow.

In return, we must love God with our whole heart and soul and mind (see Matthew 22:37). It must be a total commitment. How could we run after other gods and leave the God who loves us so much?

Lord, you sought us with deepest love when we did not care for you! When you speak tenderly to us, soften our hearts, that we may love you in return. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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