She was an outcast and a nobody – her own family wanted nothing to do with her, and the day that she was born they didn’t even bother cutting the cord. Instead, they left her, still covered in filth from the birth, exposed and abandoned to die by the roadside. She wasn’t even a person to them, just a piece of detritus for the carrion birds to deal with. Other babies might be tenderly cleansed and wrapped, but no one had enough compassion on her to care if she lived or died.
He was the Almighty one, the King of kings, and when he passed by he saw the filthy infant lying there, and bid her live. He cleansed her with his own pierced hands, cared for her tenderly and saw that she thrived. All that could be done for her was done, and as she grew she became truly beautiful. And the time came when he passed by again, and saw that she had become a woman. But she was still naked and no one had covered her nakedness. She was alive and she was lovely, but she had absolutely nothing.
So he took her to himself, and became her husband. He clothed her and covered her nakedness, and adorned her with the richest of jewels. There was nothing she owned that was not his gift to her. And then he took her, in all her glorious beauty, and made her his bride, committing himself to her with a solemn oath, and entering into covenant with her. She became the object of his care, and his delight was in her. The finest food, the finest clothing, was given to her, and she became a queen, and the nations of the world acknowledged her beauty.
But she was faithless. She put her trust in her own loveliness, rather than in the one whose love had gifted everything to her, and turned away from her one eternal true love to commit adultery with others, even using his gifts to bedeck the bed of her infidelity. Her body was given to every kind of lust, and her heart indulged in every possible idolatry, even to the sacrifice of her own children. And he declared the sentence of his wrath upon her, and her suffering would be as dreadful as her sin.But this not the end of the story, for her lover is her Lord and her Redeemer, and she will be restored. And, she will be transformed. For he took her place and suffered for her, and just as the first bride came from the first man, so she is reborn from his pierced side. In this world she struggles, sometimes forgetting her true identity and falling back, sometimes oppressed by the cruelty of others, sometimes weak and confused. But he holds her to her course and sustains her with the hope that is to come, the marriage supper that will be the fulfilment of the ages. She will be clothed in fine linen, clean and white, his radiant bride for all eternity. Upheld by the joy of that anticipation, she awaits his coming.
(see Ezekiel 16)