UNDERSTAND the ‘INTIMATE’ RELATIONSHIP of GOD with ISRAEL
August 2 Bible Reading: Isaiah Chapters 52-54
"For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused," says your God. "For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," says the Lord, your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:5-8)
In the above verses, we get a glimpse of the intimate relationship that God has with Israel when He introduces Himself as her Maker, her Husband and her Redeemer. The point of the titles - the Lord of hosts (1:9), Redeemer (41:14), and the God of the whole earth - is that God did not forsake Israel out of necessity or weakness (50:1–3). He is the Lord of Hosts (who will fight for her), He is the Holy One of Israel (who will be loyal and faithful to her), and He is the God of the whole earth (who will provide for all her needs). In the past, He was her Maker, both as individuals and as the theocratic kingdom. In the future, and He will be her Redeemer, and this is what He says: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine" (Isa. 43:1).
Why did Jehovah God have such a special relationship with Israel? The answer to this question is found in one of the discourses of Moses, the man of God, to the children of Israel who were about to enter The Promised Land: "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt." (Deut. 7:6-8)
The Jehovah God addresses Israel as His wife (62:4, 5), and like a woman forsaken and refused, Israel was in exile (see 40:27; 49:14; 50:1). Now, as her ‘husband’ and ‘Redeemer’, God is now calling Israel back into a personal relationship with Himself, and reveals how deeply He loves His people and how effectively He cares for them. In so doing, He unveils an important dimension of human family life with particular reference to husbands: a husband is to love and take care of his wife and children! God is now both a Protector and a Provider to His people!
God’s relationship toward Israel is a picture of committed love. The Word in Life Study Bible has beautifully listed nine characteristics from Isaiah chapter 54 that describes God as a godly ‘husband’ of Israel: who helps his wife find fulfillment (vv. 1–3); who seeks to allay her fears (vv. 4, 14, 15); who builds up her reputation (v. 4); who displays godly character toward her (v. 5); who does not allow prolonged conflict to keep him separated from her (vv. 6–8); who replaces anger with kindness (vv. 9–10); who brings comfort in the midst of stress (vv. 11–12); who instructs children in spiritual matters (v. 13); and who protects her from dangers and threats (vv. 16–17). All the shame that Israel had experienced during her Egyptian slavery (youth) and Babylonian captivity (widowhood) would soon be forgotten because Jehovah God will bring Israel back into fellowship with Himself demonstrating His great compassion and everlasting kindness.
As we understand the intimate relationship of God with Israel, we should also comprehend the same intimate relationship of Christ with His bride, the Church. Let us understand that Christ has loved us so much that He has died for us on the cross. He is now in the process of sanctifying us so that we will be holy and blameless before Him as a glorious Church. Let us live daily with the knowledge that Christ wants us to be intimate with Him every moment of every day!