June 20, 2012

Covenant Renewal

His own people, his peculiar people, his chosen, loved, and favoured ones, whom he cherished as the apple of his eye, who were graven on the palms of his hands, and loved with an everlasting love, even these he led through the wilderness... It is one of the Lord's sweet truths that so perplex those that are without, but which are so full of consolation to his own children, that the wilderness and mercy are linked together of God in indissoluble union here. "I will allure her," saith the Lord, "and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her." ~Barton Bouchier.
My wilderness seasons have, and will continue to serve as sweet reminders of God's Hesed love for me. The Hebrew word Hesed is one of my favorites. I pray that God etches it upon my heart so that I may never forget his great love for me. Hesed can be described and defined as...
God's loving kindness--the consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, one-way love of God. It is often translated as covenant love, loving kindness, mercy steadfast love, loyal love, devotion, commitment, or reliability... it refers to a sort of love that has been promised and is owed--covenant love. ~Mark Driscoll in Doctrine
...never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love. ~The Jesus Storybook
It's so important to see the ultimate purpose in our times in the desert: covenant renewal. In the Bible there's a prophet named Hosea. God tells Hosea to go and marry a prostitute and take her as his wife, knowing full well that she will be unfaithful to him. Knowing that she will run to another lover over and over again. Knowing that she will deeply grieve his heart. But, over and over again, he will forgive her and taker her back as his. I'm sure he was just over the moon with that plan, but he obeys God and takes Gomer as his wife. While the story is about Hosea and Gomer's covenant with one another, the story also mirrors God's covenant with Israel, with His children with you and I. When we chase after sin and idols, we're committing spiritual adultery. Here in the book of Hosea, we see one of many illustrations of desert seasons found in the Bible. Because Israel had been unfaithful to God, because Gomer had been unfaithful to Hosea, Israel and Gomer are lead into the desert to be striped of all their idols. To be wooed by God's tender love, the real lover and husband of her soul (Isaiah 54). He speaks to us in our wilderness seasons, "'Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her'" (Hosea 2:14).
To speak to the heart is to bring comfort, to soothe grief by a kind word, to offer kindness, and to hold forth some hope, that he who had previously been worn out with sorrow may breathe freely, gather courage, and entertain hope of a better condition. ~John Calvin
Now look back at verses 19 and 20 (from Hosea 2). Verses 19 and 20 are so beautiful: "And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord." Basically there's a wedding going on in that verse. The word betroth means "to engage in matrimony/marriage." That word, engage, is active. God is active in His covenant with you and me. He's not sitting around just watching from the sidelines, indifferent. No. He enters into our lives, leads us, cultivates us, washes us clean, and makes us His. His beloved.

Gomer isn't a beautiful sounding name, is it? But it's meaning is. Gomer means complete. The root word (Gamar) means to perfect. Gomer's unfaithfulness is proof that she is anything but perfect, and it's the same for you and I. But a sacrifice is paid to make us complete, to perfect us: Christ's death on the cross. Hosea 2:19 says, "...I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy" (emphasis mine). Righteousness, justice, steadfast love, and mercy were the bride price for Israel. They are the bride price paid by Jesus on the cross for you, and for me. His righteousness, justice, steadfast love, and mercy covers our unfaithfulness so that we may stand before God as complete and perfected. The covenant has been renewed, remember it. Receive and respond to His tender love in the wilderness. 
Don't miss the wild for the wilderness. ~Marian Jordan on God's wild love for us
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  1. This is one of my favorites of this series. The quotes you included could not be more aligned the message conveyed. Can't wait to read more!

  2. Love love love this Natalie! This entire series is great and truly God-breathed!!

  3. Have you read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers! Reading this made me want to read it again (and I've already read it twice!)

  4. Natalie,

    Thanks so much for reading and visiting! I love your writings already and will definitely be subscribing!

    Come by anytime if you want need prayer! I am also looking for guest writers in a month so if you want to write that'd be amazing!

  5. you, miss natalie, you're good. love this series on in barren land!


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