God has a wife! Am I talking about Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene, as was popularized in The Da Vinci Code? No. While that is a thrilling story, it based on fiction. What I am talking about is a different section of the Bible that tells a story about God getting married. Unfortunately for God, the marriage is difficult. Before we talk about God’s wife, we need to learn the answer to a riddle.
We talked about the riddle in the previous post. Here’s the riddle from Ezekiel 15 verse 2: “How is the wood of a vine better than that of a branch on any of the trees in the forest?” As we learned in the previous post, the main purpose for grapevine is to make grapes! When grapevine wood is no longer making grapes, it has only one purpose remaining! What do you think that one purpose might be?
Look at Ezekiel 15, verses 4-5 for the answer.
Vine wood is better than the other word of the forest, because it is the best fire starter. Kindling. Dead vine wood is not good for much else, but to be burned!
Why does God share this riddle? God explains it to the people in verses 6-8. The riddle about dead vine wood is actually a prophecy against Jerusalem using figurative language. What is the figure of speech? It’s a metaphor: just as the dead wood from the vine is best used for starting fires, God will treat the people of Jerusalem in like manner. Why? Because they have been unfaithful, he says in verse 8. That word “unfaithful “is the perfect transition to chapter 16, where God gives another prophecy against Jerusalem using metaphor. Turn in your Bible to chapter 16. It is a long chapter, and rather than comment on it verse by verse, I’ll summarize it. I think you’ll see how the metaphor in chapter 16 connects to the word, “unfaithful.”
God compares the city of Jerusalem to a baby that is unwanted and left out to die. He rescues the baby, speaks life over the baby, and brings it to health and maturity as a beautiful woman. Then, surprise, through the covenant of marriage, he makes her his queen. But the queen becomes arrogant and proud, caught up in her own beauty and fame, and she becomes a prostitute. Through this metaphor, God is describing his people, the Jews. How they broke his covenant and pursued foreign nations and false gods. In verses 30-34 God describes the people of Jerusalem as a reverse-prostitute, where instead of receiving pay for services, they run after suitors offering them bribes.
Imagine being God. He is the husband in this scenario. Though he rescued the people and made them flourish, what do they do? Look at verse 32. They prefer strangers to their own husband. God is so emotional in this prophecy, as I’m sure any spouse would be when their spouse is not just receiving other lovers but chasing after them with bribes. God is basically saying, “How much do you hate me?”
What is so surprising, then, is that God says he will restore their fortunes.
Why? And how? We’ll talk about it in the next post, and what seems to be a rather dark section of Scripture, turns out to have great hope!