Will You Marry Me?
The Ten Commandments are not just a set of rules that God wrote in stone and said do this. Read more…Recently I’ve been reading the book of Hosea which has caused me to experience God’s love afresh and it has been heart changing. God’s love is so amazing. My heart melted and I began to cry as I read about how He called Israel into the wilderness in chapter two so He could redeem them to Himself. Understanding the pain that God experiences when His people are unfaithful is heart wrenching. But, what is so encouraging is the covenant promise that He gives His people.
God likens His relationship with Israel to marriage. When He calls them to return to Him, He offers them dowry gifts. He offers them three gifts. The first and last gifts are singular, but the second comes in two sets. Today I will talk about the first set in the second gift.
Hosea 2:19 says, “And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice.” Righteousness is right relationship with God. God is telling Israel simply that He will do everything He can to help them come into and remain in right relationship with Him after they had left Him to worship false gods. He just wants loyalty and commitment. This is Israel’s most basic need. Like Israel in the Bible, it’s the same with us Christians today. When God’s people are in right relationship with Him it is pleasurable for God and for the person. Our relationship with God reveals what we value, and our values reflect whether or not we are in right standing with God.
The Hebrew word for justice can be translated a few ways. There are two that spoke specifically to the context of this verse. Mishphat is the word for justice. But in its plural context it is misphatim. Mishphatim are rules. But they are not rules as we understand rules. They are not something enforced that we have to follow, like how we have misunderstood the Ten Commandments to be. The Ten Commandments are not just a set of rules that God wrote in stone and said do this. They are a set of values that are His character, when received in love become our values. But, when we reject His love we are judged by them. Hence the reason we see them as rules. Are they the law? Yes they are law. But, God also said that He would write His law on our hearts. And when we live from our heart what our living by? Our set of values. The “thou shall not’s” of the ten commandments actually translate directly from Hebrew, “when you love me you will not…” But rarely is taught that way. Likewise the mishphatim were values. They are ways people who lived inside the Jewish culture acted because of what was important to them. They were cultural exemplars. Not legislated behavioral requirements that are made into a checklist of do’s and don’ts. So righteousness and justice work together. When God is prioritized above everything else in someone’s life they are in right standing with Him; which means they are automatically justified. Now the fruit from that is instruction, direction and guidance to live these values. And it comes from God being sought to do what we can’t do on our own. It’s all about relationship. When we are covered by His righteous and live in His justice we are one with Him. It’s marriage.
Peace and God’s abundant blessings