The Old Testament is full of the tales of the prophets- messengers of God, delivering His words. They were emissaries sent by the King of Kings to His beloved people warning, commanding, leading, foretelling and encouraging them.
From an overlook of the Old Testament, some people are terrified of the God they see there. They focus on the warnings, commandments and forebodings of an all-powerful King; the people no longer see a Lover, who pursues the heart of every person with an intensity we can only try to imagine.
This passionate love is the underlying current of the Old Testament – the prophets foretell the story of God’s perfect romance time and time again. “A Groom is coming!” the prophets proclaim.
The prophets describe the Groom’s character, and foretell many of His acts, even His final act- that Jesus would give His life in order to take us as His bride. “No one has greater love than this—a man laying down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13, Weymouth New Testament)
But why prophesy? Why foretell God’s plan? Surely God has such great reasons that neither you nor I are able to understand them fully. But one thing is clear – God gave His people hope.
21 “… There was always the hope that at last the Creation itself would also be set free from the thralldom of decay so as to enjoy the liberty that will attend the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole of Creation is groaning together in the pains of childbirth until this hour. 23 And more than that, we ourselves, though we possess the Spirit as a foretaste and pledge of the glorious future, yet we ourselves inwardly sigh, as we wait and long for open recognition as sons through the deliverance of our bodies. 24 It is *in hope* that we have been saved. But an object of hope is such no longer when it is present to view; for when a man has a thing before his eyes, how can he be said to hope for it? 25 But if we hope for something which we do not see, then we eagerly and patiently wait for it.” (Romans 8: 21-25, Weymouth New Testament)
God gave His people hope through the words of the prophets. Hope in redemption; hope that they would be pursued by such great love; hope that Christ would come. And their hope was fulfilled! Christ came! But does this mean we can no longer hope, since we have seen the fulfillment of God’s promise to redeem us through Christ? For who can hope for what already is?
But God continued the work of the prophets even after the resurrection of Christ, because there is yet more to put our hope in. It has been prophesied that Christ will come again. So we have this to put our hope in: “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) The wedding is yet to come.
So let us celebrate what hope has already been fulfilled, and yet continue to strain our eyes for the coming days in which this promise of God, given through the prophets, will come to pass: When the Groom will come again!
* * * *
A child of light
Given to us by the Almighty
You, who came to save
You, who was foretold
Born of a virgin into flesh
The Way, the Truth, and the Light
He who fulfilled the prophecies
Of those who spoke truth
Our Prince of Peace, Our Savior, Jesus
Artwork: Karen Harvey | Writing: Caitlin Funnell | Poem: Rebecca Dingman