Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
This message is a continuation of the foregoing message.
Throughout the centuries, God has had a romance with man. God created man with the purpose of having a counterpart (Gen. 1:26). His intention in creating man was not mainly to have servants. If we read the Bible in a pure way, without any preoccupations, we shall realize that God’s purpose in creating man was to gain a counterpart. God is not a fighter; He is a lover. He created man in the image of Himself as a lover. This means that He created man so that man would love Him. In eternity God was alone; we may even say that He was lonely. His desire for love could not be fulfilled by angels. Therefore, God created man according to His own being. God is loving, and He wants man to love Him. In this way there will be a mutual relationship of love between God and mankind, those created to be His counterpart.
The Old Testament indicates clearly that God came in to choose Israel to be His spouse. In Jeremiah 31:3 the Lord says, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” When God appeared to His people, He “dated” them and later even courted them. According to Ezekiel 16, God loved Israel when He saw her in the wilderness. Verse 8 describes this love: “Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.” By entering into a covenant with Israel, God betrothed her to Himself. Jeremiah 2:2 also speaks of this covenant, this engagement: “I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thy betrothals, how thou followedst after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown” (Heb.). This verse indicates that the covenant was enacted in the wilderness after God had brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. Chapters one through nineteen of Exodus were the time of Israel’s youth. The Lord remembered the kindness of Israel’s youth and the love of her betrothals. I have wondered how much Israel actually loved God in this way. Perhaps in this verse the Lord was comforting Himself as does a young man who tries to encourage himself when the one he loves fails to respond to his wooing. Such a young man might be encouraged if the one he loves even looks at him. Where in the first nineteen chapters of Exodus do we see the love of Israel’s betrothals to God? Where do we find such an espousing love? Although it is difficult for us to find, Jeremiah 2:2 nonetheless tells us that the Lord remembers the love of Israel’s betrothals and the kindness of her youth. It seems to me that Israel was not so kind, polite, or courteous to the Lord. Yet Jeremiah tells us that He remembered the kindness of Israel’s youth. The expressions used in Jeremiah 2:2 reveal how much God loved the children of Israel. In a sense, we might say that God was blinded by His love for His people. After creating man, He chose a people, the children of Israel, to be His spouse.
When the Lord Jesus came, He came as the Bridegroom for the bride. Many Christians are familiar with John the Baptist’s declaration: “Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). However, not so many realize that John also referred to the Lord Jesus as the Bridegroom. In John 3:29 he says, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom.” This word is included in a chapter on regeneration (John 3:3-6). The goal of regeneration is to produce and prepare the bride for the Bridegroom. Since Christ is the One who will have the bride, He is the Bridegroom. As God incarnate, Christ came not only to be our Redeemer and Savior; He also came to be our Bridegroom.
In Matthew 9:15 the Lord Jesus referred to Himself as the Bridegroom. To the blind religionists who were asking Him about fasting, the Lord said, “Can the sons of the bridechamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” In dealing with the question raised by the disciples of John, the Lord revealed Himself as the Bridegroom coming to receive the bride. In their blindness, the religionists could not see that Christ was the Bridegroom. It is crucial that our eyes be opened to see the Lord as our Bridegroom.
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