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Matchmaker, Make Me a Match

An arranged marriage is potentially one of the scariest things I can imagine.  Someone else choosing a lover and life-long companion for me absolutely cuts to the root of my control issues and seemingly flies in the face of my romantic ideals.
Of late I’ve been studying God as the Lover of Our Souls.  Over and over again the Bible gives us pictures of the Lord as our Bridegroom, but one reason we have difficulty digesting this reality is due to our own cultural understanding of marriage is vastly different than the ancient Hebrew culture within which the Scriptures were written.
In biblical times, and in fact for much of humanity’s history, marriages were arranged.  A father chose a mate for his daughter and the bridegroom paid a price for the bride.  In 21st century America we hear this notion and gawk at the lack of romance involved.  There’s no “falling in love,” no chemistry, no spark, no passionate attraction, and no shared passions or hobbies.  But it could be argued that the ancient Hebrews were some of the most romantic, passionate people on the planet.
Have you ever read Song of Solomon?  In it the lovers say, “Eat friends, drink, and be drunk with love.”  They knew romance that was intoxicating!  In another place the bridegroom says to his bride, “you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes.”  Woah!  In fact, their culture of arranged marriage provided fertile soil for romance because theirs was a love based on choice.  They loved one another because they belonged to one another.  Perhaps the most romantic statement in the whole book is “I am my beloved’s and my beloved’s is mine.”
Isn’t this what we all really want?  We long for someone to love us – not because of how we look or what we can do for them or because of our merit – but simply because we’re theirs.  This is precisely why Jesus, your Heavenly Bridegroom, has set his love upon you.  The Father has given you to Him and he is a covenant keeping God.  (John 6:44, 17:24, Deuteronomy 7:6-9).
It’s not because you impressed him, not because you always have it all together, not because you always show up on time and with your make-up on, it’s not because you have great kids, it’s not because you have a well-organized schedule, it’s not because your finances are in order, it’s not because you make a homemade, organic meal for your family every night, it’s not because you have a fruitful ministry, it’s not because you’re a mighty prayer warrior, it’s not because you ran a marathon and completed the Insanity workout DVDs, it’s not because you’re no longer an addict…
Christ’s love is not one of flippant affection or fleeting infatuation.  It’s rooted in choice.  His affection comes with the security of covenant.  And steadfast, covenantal love frees me to be me.  There is no more dating game…no more striving to impress…no more slavery to performance.  This heavenly prearrangement chases away my fears.

 

Ashlee Johnson

Ashlee is the wife of a pastor, mom of two busy little ones, and a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. She is passionate about communicating the truths of Scripture to women and magnifying Jesus as the All-Satisfying Treasure and Almighty Redeemer. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life and loves making the most of the sidewalks and parks in her 1940s neighborhood. Ashlee enjoys healthy eating and exercising, but finds it nearly impossible to resist homemade cookies!

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