A Tale of Holy Love, Unfaithfulness, Justice, Mercy, and Grace
This chapter opened with the declaration “I am not her husband.” However, after the LORD drew Israel into the wilderness and spoke to her heart, she responded. She returned to the devotion of her youth and again recognized the LORD for who He is.
After this epiphany, the LORD gave Himself a new name.
“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’
and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’”
God wanted His special relationship with Israel to turn from one of fear to one of love. Baal was a common term used among Jewish women for their husbands. The term “my master” was commonly used throughout history in reference to one’s husband. It was a title of extreme respect and submission to the head of the household. Even up to the Roman era this title was used.
However, God didn’t want to be called “my Master”, but rather the more personal Ishi, “my Husband.” This was a term of respect but also of affection. It was a title that conveyed a desire to please and honor out of love and respect rather than unhealthy fear.
God didn’t want His relationship with Israel to look like or resemble any other relationship they had formerly known. He wanted something unique and special. He wanted to hold a beloved and special place in their hearts. Hence the title, the LORD my Husband.
And He wants the same with us.
He wants to be in close, intimate fellowship with us. He doesn’t want to have an overbearing, master/servant based relationship, but one built on love. He doesn’t want our relationship with Him to resemble any human relationship we’ve experienced. He wants it to be perfect and unique.
So did you have an overbearing, easily angered father growing up? Don’t compare our Abba Father to him. He’s a good, unconditionally loving Father.
Has a spouse been unfaithful and caused you to fear intimacy? Don’t transfer the experiences of past human failings onto God. He is perfect in all of His ways.
Do your friends betray you when the going gets tough? Don’t fear God’s friendship. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother.
We must be careful not to take our hurts and wounds from human relationships and transfer them to our relationship with God. He is the God of the universe, the Maker of heaven and earth, the only perfect One, and He desires a special, intimate relationship with you.
So how do you view God? Do you view Him as a tyrannical Master? Or is He your loving, caring, and protective Husband? Within the deepest places of your heart, what title do you give Him, “my Baal” or “my Ishi”?
God wants to be known and referenced in our hearts as the LORD my Husband. So may we hold Him as such.
“For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”