Home > Jeremiah Was a Dragon-Man > Jeremiah Was A Dragon-Man: Faithless Marriages Don’t Work

Jeremiah Was A Dragon-Man: Faithless Marriages Don’t Work

One of the most powerful and common metaphors in Scripture that God uses to describe his relationship with us is a marriage metaphor. YHWH is the bridegroom and His people are His bride. I believe this helps us understand not only the depth of God’s love for us, but also what sin does to our relationship. Our sin is an act of adultery. Jeremiah 3 uses the metaphor extensively:

“Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, ‘After she has done all this, she will return to me,’ but she did not return.” 3:6-7*

When I imagine myself in these circumstances, with my wife going out and whoring herself to man after man everywhere she can find them, my heart and soul break. God’s response to His bride prostituting herself is far different than my response would be. My anger and brokenness would not let me take her back, but YHWH is not concerned about vengeance or brokenness or finding another bride who would not be so faithless. He just hopes that when His bride realizes there is no life outside of His fountain of living water, she will come back to Him.

Judah also went out and played the whore, and came back to Him, but it was a farce.

“Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the Lord.” 3:10

A pretentious return to YHWH is like a wife saying to her husband that she wants to be married to him and have a relationship with him while she continues in unceasing adultery. Faithless marriages are sham marriages. Judah wanted the benefits of being married to their God while keeping up her adulterous ways with other gods. It doesn’t work.**

Beautiful, loving YHWH is still not deterred by the incessant whoring of His wives and their pretense toward Him. He is deeply concerned about, angered by, and hurt by their breaking of the marriage covenant, but He is continuing His relentless pursuit of them. YHWH just wants them to admit their wrong and come back to Him, for He will remain faithful even when they are not. His love will not be stopped even when it is rejected.

In the middle of Israel and Judah’s whoring, YHWH, although He is the last one who deserves to be treated like this, is willing to endure all of the shame their actions cause Him if it means there is still a chance for the restoration of relationship. This God, our God, has always been willing to take the shame of our sin upon Himself and rid us of it through forgiveness, restoration, and the new life of His cleansing waters. The shame Jesus endured on the cross is the epitomic example of what God has been doing for us all along. No one has a more humble and powerful love than our God.

So, you and I, we’ve played the whore. We’ve followed other gods. We’ve pursued life elsewhere. We’ve broken the terms of the marriage covenant with our bridegroom. Our sin is not okay, it’s horrible and disgusting, but it is made okay by God’s love if we would only return and receive His new life. He doesn’t ask us to get better and return, but merely to acknowledge what we’ve done and return with our whole hearts. No longer is there any need to worry about our shame, for our God, as He as always done, has taken our shame upon Himself and eliminated it. Do not fear, with a husband who loves like this, it is always safe to come home and find hope and life and love beyond comprehension in His embrace. May we never leave His arms.

*When I write these, I’m hoping that you’ll be reading the whole chapter along with it. Chapter 3 comes highly recommended by Jeremiah.
** The desire to have both God and other gods is discussed more extensively here.

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  1. September 14, 2012 at 8:32 pm

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