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Israel, the Desert, and Lent

by Brant Pitre March 28, 2019 0 Comments



For example, the prophet Hosea says this:

[Thus says the LORD:] “Therefore, behold, I will allure her [Israel], and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her [lit. ‘Speak to her heart’]… And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.”

Then again, Ezekiel 16 prophecies:

I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish with you an everlasting covenant… I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord… when I forgive you all that you have done

So notice, when is this new marriage going to take place? When God forgives their sins. Then finally, Isaiah 54; Isaiah says to Jerusalem:

Fear not [Jerusalem],… for you will forget the shame of your youth… 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.

This is just a sampling here. There is a lot more in the prophets that we could look at.  We haven’t even touched on the fact that the Song of Songs was treated as an allegory.  It was read by the rabbis as an allegory of Yahweh the bridegroom and Israel the bride, but if you want to find out more about that you have to get my book, Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told. I deal with the Song of Songs in that in some depth. But for now, I want you to see, notice what the prophets are saying: God's going to win his people back; He wants to get his bride back.  In the first line from Hosea, what does he say? Alright, how do I get her back?  Hmmm, I think we need to go on a second honeymoon.  I’m going to allure her, I am going to speak tenderly to her, and I am going to draw her out.

Now where can we go? Cancun?  We could go to the Rockies and do a little skiing maybe?  Maybe we could go on an Alaskan cruise? No, no, no, I have got it! The Sinai desert, where it is 130° in the day and 20° at night, and there are scorpions and snakes, there is nothing to eat, nothing to drink; it is perfect. This should strike us as somewhat odd. This is not the place you go to renew your marriage. Why in the world does God want to bring Israel out into the desert?  Well, you see, the problem he has is that his bride is too in love with the things of the world, with pleasure and power, lust of the flesh and all these things.  So he has to get her away from that so she can fall back in love with him. That's why he goes to the desert. Which, by the way, is what Lent is all about. It's 40 days in the desert with Jesus, to rekindle the love for him that so often is smothered by our love for the things of the world.  Prayer, fasting, almsgiving…

Brant Pitre
Brant Pitre


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