The story of the adulterous wife...and some renditions are more graphic than others. And yet - I find it to be such a depiction of the Gospel message. Through Israel's example, it sets up the unmerited love of God; our vile, sinful rebellion (in shades that we would not otherwise like to admit); and God's merited wrath at such unfaithfulness. The problem of sin is clearly set up. God's pain is evident. His broken heart is there. And yet, in the face of Him promising the consequences of such actions (His wrath), He still offers restoration at the end.
Again, the heartbeat of His love carries through. He promises in verse 60, "Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you" (NIV). God, in the image of the betrayed husband, offers to His wife more than any human could ever offer considering the magnitude of betrayal.
The passage ends with Him describing the new relationship in verses 62-63, "'Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, so that you may remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you for all that you have done,' the Lord GOD declares" (NASB).
Pause for a moment and let that sink in.
This passage is directed at the nation of Israel, but we can still learn from it and see how it points to the cross. Just as Israel fell short and was unfaithful in the covenant with God, so we as indivuals also rebel. Pride fills us individually (and as a society). We are good. We are beautiful. We are young. We are strong. We don't need God. We can do it on our own.
...at least, that's what we often wish to believe. We work harder and harder to convince ourselves that these things are true, and our frenzy consumes us. And when we are faced with the truth about our character, it can be devastating. This is true of ME. This is true of YOU.
Yet, God speaks of a covenant. Looking at the covenants in scripture, they became more inclusive and more one-sided as God offered then on the contingency of His own faithfulness (rather than ours). Ezekiel 6:60 promises an eternal covenant. Through Christ, his (innocent) death on the cross (for our sins), and his resurrection, that covenant offers redemption to the unfaithful. The humiliation spoken of is not one of vindiction. I think it is merely the recognition of realizing the depth of the depravity that we were saved from. We no longer boast in our own goodness, because we realize that our goodness is there because of God.
The cost to God was unimaginable to us. In the face of the heartache at being rejected, betrayed, and stolen from, He then gave more of Himself - to the point of a sacrificial death on the cross - in order to bring about a restoration of the unfaithful. This is true of me. This is true of you. And that love is what saves us from destruction when we have our masks pealed back so that we might see how bad off we really are. The strength of God's love rescues us from being crushed beneath the weight of our sin.
I don't understand that kind of love. I mean, I cannot fully comprehend it. But it is my prayer that I come to understand it more.
How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only son
To make a wretch His treasure