Engagement of Philemon Mwelase and Holani Xaba
16 “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.
19 I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.
This is a marvellous word! This is God Himself speaking to people who continually trouble Him. They’ve broken their covenant with God time and again. They turned aside from God Who brought them out of Egypt with an outstretched hand and great power. Time after time they would repent, often half-heartedly, but then fall back worse than before.
God refers here to “the names of Baalim” in their mouth – serving many Baals. You might serve many things, money, honour or pleasure.
God says that He will make a covenant with them and the beasts of the field. What does He mean by this expression? There’s a reference in the Bible that “you may not muzzle the ox who treads the corn”, and it is applied in the New Testament to refer to those who sow the Gospel. So too these animals are a symbol of people.
Dogs are known to howl at the moon at night, especially when it’s full-moon. But the moon is completely silent, ignoring the noisy cacophony below. So too, God is untouched by all the schemes and plans of men – only His plan will stand and be fulfilled, though the whole of mankind might try to thwart it.
Now these animals are symbolic of people with animal characteristics: perverts, the sexually immoral, those who like to quarrel and fight, etc. But God says He will make a covenant with all these and change them to lie down in safety.
There are teenagers who dress like grannies, with dresses sweeping the floor. Others again dress as explicitly as possible, walking in nudity. Both worship their clothes and these are their Baals. They are swept away by every fashion. They cannot be steadfast and dress the way that will please God.
With others their Baal is their hair.
Some are violent and murder and kill. But God says that He will break the sword and bow and so make them lie down in safety.
Some young people are continually troubled about marriage and make themselves tired about the matter. No, leave the matter in God’s hands. When God was about to give Adam a wife, He brought a deep sleep over him and then fashioned his wife and brought her to him. Do not run after marriage or money, otherwise God will call you to account for the time you’ve wasted chasing after them.
There’s a story told about the Animal School, where all animals had to learn to run, swim, climb trees and fly. However, try as they might, each could only excel at their natural way of doing things. They failed to change.
So too, a promiscuous person can be taught the right way, but as soon as he or she is on their own, they carry on in their old promiscuous ways.
How can the very nature of a person be changed? A thief cannot stop stealing and a liar cannot stop lying. It is through God Who changes the very nature of a person by the New Covenant.
In verses 19 and 20 of our text, three times the Lord says that He will betroth us to Him. In verse 16 we read that God says, “you will call Me husband”. God wants to be married to you in the New Covenant.
There are many earthly marriages. But here we read of the much greater marriage when God betroth us as His bride to Himself.
Most of the book of Jeremiah is full of lamentations and woe, but in Jeremiah we read:
31 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Isn’t this marvellous! No more will you have to be taught repeatedly how to obey God, for His law will be inscribed into your heart. One cannot change the nature of a pig. Wash and powder it, but at the first opportunity it will dive into the mud. You might instruct a child in God’s ways, but if it has the heart of a pig, it will go to the mud at the first opportunity.
A certain white man put duck-eggs under a mother hen. When they hatched and she walked with them past a pond they dived in and she was all flabbergasted and upset and couldn’t understand it. So too, unless God changes your very nature from within, you will remain lost, though raised in a Christian home.
You need that Divine operation where He takes out your old heart and implants His new heart into you. That’s the only way your nature can be changed. You must be changed from within. When God changes a teenager from within, he or she will no longer long after the things of the world.
I know of some children who were so changed from within that they went to their parents and asked that the TV be removed out of their house, as it defiles their home. But some Christian parents bring the TV into their home and cause their children to be separated from God. How will they stand before God?
Remember Spurgeon’s mother when Spurgeon was 15 years old. She prayed to God concerning her children who refused to go God’s way that her soul will be a swift witness against them, if they do not part from sin. It made such an impression on Spurgeon that he met the Lord and became known as the prince of preachers. His mother was consistent and did not compromise with sin in her house or her children’s lives. Woe to parents who excuse sin in the lives of their children. (Read the full account of Spurgeon’s conversion here)
Today God is proposing marriage to you. Can you answer, “Yes Lord, today I agree to be married to You and put Your ring on my finger”?