God loves love. He is love. Ever notice how the Scriptures contain so many references to this subject, not only with regard to the concept of love but love as the core foundation of romance. That’s right, our God is a romantic and delights in the affair of the heart. He is the ultimate Suitor and Seducer, and for those who just got a little uneasy at that last comment, take a moment to read among one the Bible’s many love stories these words:
“Israel, I, the LORD, will lure you into the desert and speak gently to you.”
(Hosea 2:14, CEV)
The word translated “lure” has the meaning of ‘deceiving’ for good purposes, to lure away from (other lovers) by seduction. We’re not talking Desperate Housewives stuff here. No, this is love pure and square. The story in which it is found involves a prophet, a whore and unconditional love. This is God enjoining the stuff of heaven, stuff of earth for our benefit, showing us He is a God who pursues, who loves, who romances, and, according to Genesis, even takes pleasure in matchmaking.
Right out of the gate, we learn how marriage, romance, union and procreation are really important to God and endemic to the human experience. In the True Account of the Origin of Man we have God creating and setting His Man in the earth and, in time (a week? day? minutes? years?) bringing forth from Him a Woman, a Bride, and Man says upon seeing her, “Aha!”* In modern vernacular, it would sound something like this: “Whoooo-boy!” or “Boo-ya!” She’s like me and yet there are some obvious differences…Me likeee…May I have another? (that last bit’s the Joseph Smith version, BTW)
We know that the First Adam and Woman began the humanesque cycle of lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life, bringing upon the whole of the human race the seedy issue of fallenness: spirits dead and unresponsive to the Creator. Tumbling out of the sacred pages henceforth are the symptoms of the fall: greed, jealousy, murder, incest, rape, polygamy, sadism and a litany of other lawless deeds, all of them pointing to the capital ‘S’ Sin which was the First Adam snubbing God and opting to rule himself instead.
But there’s still a Tree of Life. There’s still a Garden.** And God still loves love. So He sets to work refining His Love Story by inserting two young kids into the narrative who are head over heels in love with each other. Forget that a scandal tries to tear them apart. No, not these two. As a foreshadowing of the Love to come, theirs was a delicate melange of justice and mercy.*** As their married life starts out, amid all the whispers and prejudice, they happily raise a Child who is the Last Adam, the Lover from whom will come His “Aha!” And, as the Second Man****, He is the progenitor of a new race, a heavenly race.
The whole of the Bible is the telling of this Sacred Romance. It starts out with God’s Man from whom will come a bride (guess who?). There’s a whole book dedicated to the art and act of marriage and its call for monogamy in a world of polygamy. Perhaps after a few readings of the Song of songs, the dutiful reader will discover its bigger picture, the ethereal Love of One who will not relent, and His Bride who will save herself for only Him.
Yeah, Scripture is chock-full of the good, mushy amore. There’s the tryst between Hosea and Gomer, as I alluded to earlier, which is a killer-good love story if there ever was one. Isaac getting his bride and Jacob working for his. David and Abigail. Ruth and Boaz? Are you kidding me? Harlequin only wishes for a storyline like that one. And there’s the not-so-subtle inclusion of Christ’s first miracle taking place during a wedding. There’s Paul, raising the bar on what is expected of a husband in the Roman world. Then, as the canon of Scripture closes, we find a Bride making herself ready for her Husband and making an entrance surely powerful enough to elicit an “Aha!” from her Bridegroom (Rev 21:9-ff), even though I somehow believe the Bride’s “Aha!” will reflect far more wonder.
Well, there you have it. Not exhaustive by any stretch, but adequate to swoon in the facets of such Love. Put yourself in the stories. You are Gomer. You are Abigail. You are Ruth. And Rachel. Rebekah. The Shulamite with brown skin and longing heart. They’re not just good stories. They were meant to tell THE story: God is love and His eyes have found you across a crowded floor.
And He’s not looking away.
****1 Cor 15:45,47