Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, April 27, 2014

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God had important plans for Jerusalem and Zion. He had made amazing promises regarding them. It was the place where He had placed His Name; the place where His throne of worship was set up in the Holy of Holies of the Temple; the place from which He planned to govern the nations. When Israel as a nation (even after the exile) finally rejected Him, and Jerusalem was destroyed, then all God’s plans and promises for Jerusalem and Zion devolved upon His final remnant who are Christ’s and heirs according to those promises (Gal 3:29). They are the contrite and humble who tremble at His word (Isa 66:2b). Individually and corporately they became His temple – mini-Jerusalems – the trophy of splendor in His hand (v.3). Now called “Christians,” they are married to their bridegroom (61:10) who loves them with the faithful love, the hesed, of a husband (Isa 54:5).

I’m always deeply touched by the expressions of mutual delight and rejoicing that characterizes our love-relationship with God. How tender, how deep, how all-embracing is this devotion God longs to have with each one of us (eg: Isa 61:10; Zeph 3:17). As we would call a loved one Darling, or Sweetheart, God calls his bride special Hebrew names, Hephzibah (Delight), and Beulah (Sought After and Married).

As God set Adam and Eve to be caretakers of His new creation, God sets his beloved ones to watch over His new Kingdom. There is full commitment in this union! They work together as one in purpose and attitude. Our Heavenly Husband neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps 121:4), nor does His “wife.” They are on call day and night (v.7). In fact they give each other no rest, urging each other on until they reach their mutual goal.  These watchmen, these intercessors pray without ceasing, they are bold in the “big things” they ask for. Their aim is their Lord’s promised goal (v.8): to establish “Jerusalem” as “the praise of all the earth” (v.7), to become trustworthy themselves and to make God’s churches safe places of worship for all people (v.8; 56:8)

We are to go ahead, open the way, build people up, remove stumbling blocks, and raise a banner of victory (v.10), the standard of justice, the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel, over all the nations. Then, when the pre-advent judgment is complete, our Saviour will return, bringing His reward with Him (v.11). What a day that will be! We, His Holy bride, the Redeemed of the LORD (v.12a), will finally enter into the heavenly City (v.12b) founded, designed and built by God (Heb 11:10 Jerusalem Bible) together with all those who through the ages have loved the Lord and longed for His appearing. There we will live happily with our Heavenly Bridegroom forever!  Amen.

Aleta Bainbridge
Partners in Ministry Coordinator
Greater Sydney Conference, Australia