Lent • Day 21

“In that day,” declares the Lord,
    “you will call me ‘my husband’;
    you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
    no longer will their names be invoked.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them
    with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
    and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
    I will abolish from the land,
    so that all may lie down in safety.
19 I will betroth you to me forever;
    I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
    in love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
    and you will acknowledge the Lord.

Hosea 2:16-20

The soon-to-be bride immerses herself in the waters of the mikveh (bath), signaling a great change is coming. She’s about to become someone and something new. She’s like Moses passing through the waters of the Nile, from orphan to royalty. She’s like the Hebrews passing through the Red Sea, from slaves to free; through the Jordan, from homeless to home. She will soon become a wife; forever loved, protected and provided for.

She meets her groom under the chuppah. The canopy symbolizes the home they’ll build together. There is no furniture or decoration under the chuppah – the beginning of home is only the two of them together.

The ketubah is read aloud. The small tablets, no bigger than a human hand, are a written contract – promises the groom makes to his bride: food, clothing, shelter, intimacy. Two copies are made and one is given to the bride and the other to the groom.

The ketubah will be displayed in their home as a sign of their commitment to one another. Like wedding rings, the tablets will remind them – and all who see them – that a forever promise has been made.


The Hebrews consecrated themselves in the desert, washing their clothes and bodies in preparation for the big day (Exodus 19:10-11).

They “stood under the mountain” while Moses went up on their behalf to meet God under the canopy of clouds (Exodus 19:17).

A ketubah was recited by the LORD and written down on stone tablets: One copy for Moses to keep and the other to be placed in the LORD’s ark (Exodus 20).

But while Moses and the LORD were meeting on the mountain, the people of God made a bull of gold down below and worshiped it and thanked it for its protection and provision (Exodus 32:1-4).

When Moses came down from the mountain and caught the bride betraying her Husband on their wedding day, Moses smashed the tablets, shattering the ketubah (Exodus 32:19)

But the LORD did not divorce Israel that day and go searching for a more faithful people. Are any people forever faithful?

Like Hosea remarrying his prodigal prostitute wife, the LORD married his adulterous bride all over again.

A new copy of the ketubah was written. The LORD once again met with Moses in the cover of clouds. And the LORD’s vows were repeated…to provide for and protect his bride.

Her sabbath rest, justice, holiness – her whole way of life – would be a sign to the nations that she was the LORD’s and the LORD faithfully loved her.

“The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin…Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

Exodus 34:6,7,14

Reflection

• Is my life a sign of my faithful love for God and God’s faithful love for me?

Our Prayer

Faithful God, today we rest knowing you are faithfully protecting and providing for us.

Today we confess the many ways we have been unfaithful to you with our thoughts, feelings, desires, and decisions.

We thank you, we celebrate you, for being always faithful in our unfaithfulness.

Amen.