As I have reflected on the death of Christ this past Good Friday I think of His side pierced and the blood and water that gushed forth from his body. It reminds me of Adam, who was also put “to sleep” and a bride was taken from his side. Both the first and the last Adam received a bride from their own body. As Adam slept, God the Father fashioned a bride for Him. As Christ “slept” he poured upon humanity the washing and cleansing needed to present Himself a bride without spot or wrinkle. (Eph. 5 v 29-30)
Through this paradigm, Christ as bridegroom, we see a progression of one of the most poignant themes in scripture – the narrative of a bleeding heart husband.
As we read the words that The Lord put into the mouths of the prophets, we can hear the startling vulnerability of Almighty God revealed in His longing for fidelity with Israel.
Can a virgin forget her ornaments,Or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number. (Jer 2:32)
The infidelities of Israel are recounted with shocking imagery through the Prophets. God compares His wife to a donkey in heat (Jer 2:24), He calls her a harlot and admits that she has broken his heart.
When I was a child I remember hearing my Mother and her friends converse about a woman who was committing adultery. I recall a comment about the woman’s husband, who as yet, did not know anything about the affair. It was said “He is the fool of the town…everyone knows she is off with someone else. But she will never leave him…because he has money”
Even as a child, that statement struck me. A grown man described of as a fool. Others talking about him because his wife a publicly consorting with another man. I felt sorry for the man they spoke about.
As I read The Old Testament I see a very similar story. A husband who loves his wife and wife who turns aside to other lovers. Israel makes no secret of her infidelities, but fornicated on the high places with foreign Gods. All the nations saw it. Then, as a consequence, some disaster befalls Israel and she turns back once more to the one who can save her. The Lord, willing and loving turns away His wrath and restores Israel again. But the pattern repeats. Her heart wanders again and she is unfaithful. Eventually The Lord declares that His wife is a prostitute and He is a bleeding heart husband.
What a story! Has The Lord not read The Boundaries book? Why did He keep taking her back? Why did He allow Himself to be hurt like this? Doesn’t He know that He might look like a fool?
As the narrative of the Old Testament pulses towards the cross, there sounds clear message. It is summarized best by the apostle Paul:
love is patient, love is kind, love does not keep a record of wrong.
So many times I have heard people agonize about the “inconsistencies” between the manifestation of God in the Old Testament versus the New Testament. To those who feel that tension I would like to present this paradigm of God as husband. It is a key into God’s understanding God’s emotions, His motivations and it provides a clear narrative of His love. His motivation has been the same throughout human history.
He wants to be wanted by His bride.
One day He will return for that bride.
She will be ready and she will be looking for Him.
She will be faithful.
Let us set our affections upon The Lord again today.
Let us be washed and made clean by that water that gushed from His side.
Let us return to our first love.
For He is altogether lovely!
Stephanie Jones is the co-pastor here at New Day, alongside her husband Scott. With their 4 children, they moved from Michigan to Summerville to start New Day Community Church over 4 years ago. Stephanie has been radically impacted by the Father’s love and makes it her life’s mission to impart what she has with those around her – healing of the heart, hearing God’s voice, evangelism and flowing in the prophetic. You can listen to their sermons and read more about them on our main site: http://newdaychurchsc.com