Faces on Faith: From Baali to Ishi
A few weeks back, as the dark clouds began to move in on the beaches of Sanibel, I stood with a precious couple ready to repeat their wedding vows before God and all those gathered with them. Needless to say, I spoke quickly, and the wedding kiss came before the storms.
I love weddings. I’m not sure folks love to have me officiate their wedding, because often I cry. I cry because every time I do a wedding I am overwhelmed by the love of God. Many years ago I was reading casually through the prophet Hosea and this little verse popped out at me: “It will come about in that day, declares the Lord, that you will call Me Ishi, and will no longer call Me Baali.” (Hosea 2:16) Honestly, I could not remember calling God either of those things. But when I looked deeper for the Hebrew meaning, (and in an easier translation), I found that Ishi means “husband,” and Baali means “master.” Through His prophet, God was declaring that He was not looking for a bunch of slaves in the human race.He was looking for a bride.and that has always been His heart.
The prophet goes on to say, “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justicein loving-kindness and compassion.” (Hosea 2:19) The God of the universe desires an intimate, marital relationship with each of us. Wow!
The same marital picture is reflected in the New Testament story as well. Jesus is called the Bridegroom, and His church is called the bride. (Ephesians 5) It says, “He will present the Church to Himself a glorious bride, without spot or wrinkle or any other defect, but to be holy and unblemished.”
So when I look at that beautiful couple, so enraptured with love for each other, I get a glimpse of the eyes of God looking at us. In righteousness, justice, loving-kindness and compassion He has called us His betrothed. And the really cool thing about our union with God is that He will never leave us, nor forsake usHe is the God Who keeps His marital vowsHis covenant.
-Daryl G. Donovan, Senior Pastor, Sanibel Community Church