- The Beholder’s Definition of Marriage
- Is Marriage a Covenant or Contract? Society’s dilemma
- A Snapshot in Defining a Covenant Marriage
- Relational Characteristics of a Covenant
- Searching Below the Surface – Looking into unexpected Islamic ideas.
- En Route to Defining a Covenant Marriage – Countering Contract
- Essence of the Covenant Matrix
I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord – Ez. 16:62
God’s relational covenant with his people traces how the Bible defines a covenant marriage. Isaiah 55:3 states, “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.” A divinely witnessed promise of love summarizes the covenant way in salvation, this divine-human relationship re-echos in marriage.
All sacred relationships invoke divine integrity guided by a steadfast commitment and sacrificial love.
Ezekiel 16:8-14 demonstrates the divine personal covenant relationship with his people: “When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. 9 Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. 14 And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.”
The imagery of marriage is entirely on display in this passage. God’s covenant defines as a divinely witnessed promise of love. His promise declaration establishes the exclusive belonging between the covenant-keeping God and his beloved, especially in words, “you became mine.” The divine-human bond provides a covering and adorning of protection so that the divine husband cherishes his new bride. Interestingly, the covenant commitment focuses only on one direction. God first accepts, protects, washes, clothes, and honors his bride. Finally, as the sacrificial lover, he bestows honor and blessing on his bride. He reflects the covenant nature of the divine lover.
The passage evidences incredible meaning, but for our purposes here, connecting the divine relationship with humanity gives a strong perception that marriage is a covenant. Furthermore, the divine actions manifest a covenantal bent toward continued sacrificial acts. God’s love shows permanent, unconditional steadfast commitment despite their many sins but still expects purity. At the end of the chapter, God confirms resolute acceptance and belonging, 59 “For thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, 60 yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant. 61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and I give them to you as daughters, but not on account of the covenant with you.” (Ezekiel 16:59-61). His steadfast love draws his beloved back as his righteous actions heighten the shame for breaking the covenant, declaring a mutual belonging together despite shortcomings.
In context, the Lord declares unbroken faithfulness based on a remembrance of the covenant promise even if Israel committed shameful actions. The covenant basis on the joyous commemoration of the promises, seeking continued acceptance.
In this passage, a covenant’s ethos forms an identity in how God works. His actions point to a covenantal character, which pursues one’s beloved diligently in a sacrificial way to promote relationship and further unity. The divine sacrificial lover takes the opportunity to move toward further oneness with his beloved bride. So, she may say, My beloved is mine, and I am his (Song of Solomon 6:3).
When we realize the covenant nature of our loving God, then we can understand how he continually and sacrificially pursues us as his beloved. This understanding propels us to apply a similar covenant ethos in our marriage.