As a Bridegroom Rejoices in His Bride

…So shall your God rejoice in you. — Isaiah

Anytime the Bible talks about weddings, or marriage, or the Bridegroom and the Bride or being a spouse, two things can happen in our minds.

The first is a tendency to start thinking about actual marriages between people, as if these were Biblical instructions for us on how to be married.

The second is a feminist or black-pilled inspired deconstruction of text. A small mental scoffing, an inability to recognize what it truly means for the bridegroom to rejoice in the bride because we look at real life relationships as imagine that those are the models.

“No more shall people call you “Forsaken” or your land “Desolate,” but you shall be called “My Delight,” and your land “Espoused.” For the Lord delights in you and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your Lord rejoice in you.”

What does it mean to be the bride of the Lord? It means the Lord loves you, he cherishes you. And he lavishes gifts on you. The problem is, when you think of a rich man with a beautiful wife the tendency is to think “this guy is just paying for sex” or “this girl is just a gold digger.”

But those are not the characteristics of the Lord and his beloved.

The Lord loves you. And if you say yes to him, he will shower you with gifts. But his gifts aren’t necessarily fine clothes and shoes and jewels, or a big house, or money. They are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and he gives them to us to serve each other.

“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter.

But the main gift that God the Bridegroom gives to our soul, His Spouse, is life. Life in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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The Lofty City

The more you read the Bible, the more you see that there are two worlds, coexisting. They overlay each other, like a two layered skirt. You can live in either one at any time. One is separated from God and the Kingdom of Heaven by sin and the affects of sin, and the other participates in Grace.

For he has brought low the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust.”

Isaiah 26:5

I missed blogging yesterday because I’ve spent the last day very very sick with a stomach flu. The vomiting was not so bad as these things go, but I was so dehydrated that once when I sat up I passed out and fell forward and split my head open.

I am chronically dehydrated, I think. I don’t notice much from day to day but when I got sick, it became very apparent that this is a problem for me. It’s hard for me to not make an analogy between this kind of thirst and the thirst for the living water, the grace of life that Jesus offered to the Samaritan woman at the well. Or, to today’s gospel: the house built on sand.

Everyone of them who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
Matthew 7: 24-25

People who build their house on rock seem to step out of this world and walk with God when they go through tragedy or setbacks or hardships. They become more sure about what is important, more full of Grace, more thankful, more kind, more present. This is just a personal observation I’ve made of friends and family who have suffered immense and almost unthinkable badness.

But people who live in the lofty city or who merely sit at its gates slavering to get in are brought to utter desolation when something goes wrong. They isolate, they grow bitter, become angry, lash out. I include myself in this category, in the past and surely also in the future.

The lofty city maybe looks shimmery and bright and powerful and high up and real, but it disappears when you reach out to touch it and ask for something you really need. Or if you are in it, you find yourself ignoring it if someone reaches out to you. It provides no sustenance, no living water.

If you live in the lofty city you discover it only when the rain or the fire or the floods come.

and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew 7:27

It’s hard to know if you are living in the lofty city. Not all things that are fun and glittery and insubstantial are bad. Rich people can live in the city of God, poor people can live in the lofty city. There’s nothing wrong with fun or frivolity taken in its turn. So here’s my shorthand.

The lofty city has no neighbors.

Hidden Kingdom

Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more.

Psalm 72

God’s kingdom, the kingdom of the faithful, is hidden from the eyes of the world. He asks us to walk by faith and not by sight. And sometimes that means what we see is evil unpunished by the world and good go unnoticed. We see the poor cry out in vain. 

In those times look for the hidden Kingdom.

I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.”

Luke 10