Betrothal… Hosea’s Picture of the New Covenant

First, read Hosea 2:16-20 by clicking here.

Hosea 2:16-17 (NKJV)
“And it shall be, in that day,”
Says the Lord,
“That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’
And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’
For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals,
And they shall be remembered by their name no more.

The prophet Hosea quotes God, describing a day when His people will refer to Him, no longer as a “Master,” but as a “Husband.” A few verses later God repeats the notion in another way…

Hosea 2:19-20 (NKJV)
“I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the Lord…”

Betrothal

To “betroth” means to enter into a formal agreement to marry. In other words, God is again describing the nature of the relationship with His people in the future when betrothal will be realized, and as a result, they all “shall know the Lord.” This is significant, because they all did not yet know Him, in the current relational dynamic, as they would later on… “in that day.”

The New Covenant

Hosea 2:18 (NKJV)
In that day I will make a covenant for them
With the beasts of the field,
With the birds of the air,
And with the creeping things of the ground.
Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth,
To make them lie down safely.

What is interesting is that in Hosea’s telling of what God said, he quotes the Lord saying that He will “make a covenant for them.” This explicitly reveals that another covenant is to come, one where they “will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master.’” Conceptually, the notion of God becoming even closer to His people in the future was not unique to this Old Testament prophet. Hosea writes in a similar fashion to another prophet, Jeremiah.

Here is the writer of Hebrews quoting the prophet Jeremiah…

Hebrews 8:7-13 (NKJV)
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Hosea and Jeremiah

Both Hosea and Jeremiah each describe a future, new type of bond which will take place between God and His people that had never been established before. As both of the prophets pointed out, everyone of this covenant to come will “know the Lord” (Hosea 2:20) and no one of this new covenant will “teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.“ (Jeremiah 31:34)

The Creation

Not only would God’s people enjoy the benefits of this new relational dynamic between God and themselves (as both prophets described), but the entire creation would gain blessing as well.

As we saw above…

Hosea 2:18 (NKJV)
In that day I will make a covenant for them
With the beasts of the field,
With the birds of the air,
And with the creeping things of the ground.
Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth,
To make them lie down safely.

This new dynamic between God and His people, the new covenant, would change everything. It would not only bring peace and safety to its members, but it would also bring peace and safety to the creation, bringing it back to its original paradisal balance once delighted in, in the Garden of Eden.

That “now,” is… now

Even though this harmony is not yet realized in its fullness, it is already realized to some extent in its preliminary stage through the “glorious liberty of the children of God.” In other words, even though “glory” is not yet, there is an aspect of it that is already here, and we (Christians) must always keep it in view despite the discomfort we and the creation currently experience. Paul wrote about this to the church in Rome…

Romans 8:18-25 (NKJV)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

That “now,” is… now. So, be encouraged… because betrothal is here.

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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