I Will Betroth You unto Me Forever
I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD.—Hosea. 2:19-2
The betrothal, or the making of a covenant of love, of which our Lord speaks is certainly a reality seen in Heaven for the Bridegroom who here declares: “I will betroth you to Me forever” is none other than the eternal, omnipotent God Himself; and the bride to whom He addresses these words and to whom He would betroth Himself is the communion of His saints, His elect, His invisible Christian Church on earth. However, St. Paul, in his Letter to the Ephesians (ch. 5:25), relays God’s truth to you today, for the Eternal Bridegroom is the model for your life as a Husband, and your life as a Bride, is likened to the Church.
Hear again God’s words recorded by St. Paul:
“Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it.”
So we, too, may see this Word of the God recorded by the prophet Hosea regarding the betrothal of the Christ and His Church as pertaining to you, and may say: this covenant, this declaration of love on the part of the Lord God, is applicable also to you as you stand before His altar this evening,
I. As a Word Which the Lord Addresses to You Both
“I will betroth you to Me forever.” This word your good and gracious God addresses to you in these solemn moments soon to come, as you kneel at His altar to receive His blessing. He speaks again the promise made at your Baptism when He said “You shall be My people, and I will be your God.” This is a covenant that He has faithfully kept unto this hour. Your God has accompanied both of you along life’s path, has guided and led you aright, and has filled your hearts filled with deep gratitude,
But it does not stop there for he says: “I will betroth you to Me forever.” That is the solemn covenant God would make with you this XXTimeXX, as you join heart and hand in mutual consent and enter the covenant of wedded love and faithfulness. XXGroomXX, this bride, who will presently lay her hand in yours, with the vow to be your own until death do you part, is, even as you and I, a mortal being; and XXBrideXX, this your loved one, whom you will now promise that you will love and cherish him and keep with him this bond of wedlock holy and unbroken, is yours to have and to hold as long as you both shall live.
But there must inevitably come a day of separation, when death’s bright angel shall knock at your door.
Yet this heavenly Friend and Counselor, your Lord whom you take into partnership, declares to you: “I will betroth you to Me forever.” He will be with you to all eternity. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Receive Him therefore as the silent, yet ever-present Partner in your home and in your lives; not only put your hands one in the other, but put your hands in His knowing that He will be yours forever.
“I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in judgment.” Never forget this. As a just Judge, and holy Witness of all deeds, He demands to be received into your union. He desires, as a welcome and much-beloved Companion, to walk with you along your appointed path of life. There is then the responsibility to live your lives holy and upright, worthy of a partner who is God himself. And yet again the reality of your Baptism shapes the relationship with your Lord, for even when we fail, when we fall short, when we sin, as forgiven faithful children we hear Him say to us, “I will betroth you unto Me in loving-kindness and in mercies.” In Christ Jesus, the Bridegroom of your souls, you will find this God a most gracious Lord; goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life; out of His fullness you shall daily receive grace for grace, one measure of blessing upon another.
Oh, what a blessed betrothal God has planned for you, what a happy marriage yours must be, if in perfect trust you will receive Him who would betroth you to Himself in loving-kindness and in all mercy!
Then, of a certainty, shall be brought to pass His promise:” I will even betroth you to Me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.” Notice here if you have not before the order of the words. “I will betroth you.” You may have determined to be here today, but God is the one who will join you. You will make your pledges one to the other, but it is God’s pledge to you that will give you the strength to keep your promises. You hope to know each other better year by year, but it is only in knowing the Lord that you will know the plans God has for each of you together.
By the actions of God this day you will be joined together in a holy, sacred, and blessed union in the Lord, and this word of Scripture, this covenant of the Lord God with His bride, the Church, will apply to you also.
II. As a Word Which You, This Day, Address to Each Other
So, then, betroth yourselves to each other in mercy and loving-kindness, and your life together will be a peaceful and a happy one in God. With every passing day you will come to know each other better and, in joy and sorrow, in labor and in prayer, grow in a love which is the bond of perfection, to be one heart and one soul. Such a union, in which both bride and groom are betrothed, above all, to their God and Lord, and then to each other, is a source of pure joy to men and to angels.
“I will betroth you to Me forever.” So XXGroomXX and XXBrideXX make your vow this day to each other in this glad assurance: “We are betrothed together to the Lord, and though death shall sooner or later separate us here, we shall, on that great Day, meet again in Heaven, together with all the saints in His home of many mansions, and there to be with Him forever.
Now may God, the Author and Finisher of your faith, keep alive in your hearts such an abiding faith and trust. May He perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you, in joy and in sorrow, for time and for eternity. May He grant you, here already, a foretaste of that joy which shall someday be yours, when you shall behold in His glory the Bridegroom of your souls.