One of the ways the Bible describes God’s relationship with us is as a marriage. This is apropos! A marriage requires two willing participants who enter into a loving relationship of their own volition. There is no coercion. There are no threats.
Like a young man taking a virgin as his bride, He who formed you will marry you. As a groom is delighted with his bride, So your God will delight in you.Isaiah 62:5 (NLT)
The Book of Revelation describes the return of Jesus (the Lamb) as the groom returning for His bride (the church):
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.Revelation 19:7 (NIV)
We can contrast this with the commonly held beliefs about God and His relationship with us: He uses threats to get us to behave properly and to love Him back.
But can threats ever instill love? Can you force someone to love you?
We would find it utterly abhorrent to witness a man threatening a woman with violence to get her to do what he says. It would be unjust, even to our mortal sensibilities, for a woman to threaten the property or life of her boyfriend to get him to marry her.
Yet, we attribute this same motivation to God, a God of love, even!
Yes, God wants us to enter into a relationship with Him. He knows that His love is the best thing in the universe for our peace and joy. He wants us to be happy! But He will not force us to do anything we do not want to do. And if we reject Him long enough, He will finally let us go to experience fully the life we have chosen.
It is time we stop believing the lies of the Enemy and start seeing the truth: God is love. He does not resort to threats to get us to obey. He draws us with love into a marriage relationship where we will find our utmost peace and joy.
God calls husbands to treat their wives like Christ treats the church:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.Ephesians 5:25–27 (NIV)
The husband is told to give his life for his wife. Have you experienced that kind of love from another? Have you given that kind of love to another?
God wants what is best for us, and is willing to lay down His life so that we can live.
This is no shotgun wedding.
It is up to us whether or not we choose to enter into a relationship with God. If we say, “I do,” we enter into a relationship that guarantees a love that will heal us and prepare us for an eternity of peace and joy in paradise.
Will you take this God?