Introduction: This is our last lesson in the series on Old Testament
marriages. Why do we find so many illusions to marriage in the Old
Testament? One answer is that God often uses marriage to tell His
side of the story about His relationship with His people. When the
Bible speaks about our individual relationship to God, He is often
referred to as our Father. When the Bible speaks about God’s
relationship to His people as a group, it often refers to a marriage.
Why, out of all of the relationships that exist, would God use
marriage as an illustration? Let’s dive in and find out why!

  1. Our Spouse

    1. Read Isaiah 54:5. Why would God choose to call us His
      wife? What attributes of a marriage do you think applies
      to God’s relationship with us?

      1. I think the context helps us here. Read Isaiah 54:4.
        What specific attributes of being married does God
        say He brings to our relationship with Him? (He
        protects us. He brings a good name to us. He takes
        the place of our missing husband. He takes away our

        1. What shame do we have? (This reflects the
          controversy between good and evil. God is our
          protector and our redeemer.)

    2. Let me set the stage for this next text. Babylon has
      invaded Judah and taken God’s people captive. Many Jews
      now live in Babylon. If you were a Jew in Babylon, what
      would be the desire of your heart? (To return to my

      1. Of all things that represented home, what would be
        the most important? (Any of your family who still
        lived there. The city of Jerusalem and the
        magnificent temple.)

      2. In this context, read Ezekiel 24:20-21. What is
        coming upon Jerusalem and the people who remained?
        (Total destruction.)

      3. Read Ezekiel 24:15-17. What terrible thing is coming
        to Ezekiel? (God is taking away “the delight of his

    3. Read Ezekiel 24:18-19. Who was the delight of Ezekiel’s
      eyes? (His wife. God told him his wife was going to die.)

      1. Why would God be so hard on His prophet Ezekiel? (Not
        only did Ezekiel lose his beloved wife, but God told
        him not to mourn her loss. This seems outrageous
        until you work this through in your mind. Verse 19
        tells us that people asked Ezekiel why he was acting
        as he was. He would tell them that this represented
        what would happen to God’s people. The seriousness of
        this situation should arrest the attention of any
        reasonable person.)

        1. Why was it necessary to take Ezekiel’s wife?
          Why not his dog? (God not only wanted to show
          the people the seriousness of what was going to
          happen in terms of their lives, He is
          illustrating His relationship to us.)

        2. We say “God loves me.” What if we added, “God
          loves me like a spouse?” How does that change
          the force of the statement?

      2. Ezekiel is God’s man. He is obedient and is speaking
        for God. What does this teach us about the righteous
        being kept from all suffering?

        1. Is the pain out of proportion to the point God
          is making? (If you truly believe that God loves
          us like a spouse, then this kind of pain comes
          to God all the time when we reject Him and go
          our own way.)

          1. How is the death of a spouse better than
            divorce? (When your spouse dies, they have
            not rejected you. God’s pain is worse than
            Ezekiel’s pain.)

          2. Do we see this “acting out” parable of
            God’s suffering anywhere else in the
            Bible? (Genesis 22 – God tells Abraham to
            sacrifice his son Isaac.)

  2. Our God

    1. Read Jeremiah 31:27-28. What does God promise His people
      for the future? (He will rebuild their nation.)

    2. Read Jeremiah 31:29-30. What change in God’s relationship
      with us is He predicting?

      1. What does God mean when He speaks of fathers eating
        sour grapes and the children having their teeth set
        on edge? (The actions of the fathers affect the lives
        of their children.)

      2. Will marriage to a nation be an apt symbol for the
        future? (No. Instead of God’s relationship being
        focused on a nation (His bride), now God’s
        relationship is being focused on the individual. God
        still has His body of believers (see Colossians
        1:24), but the emphasis is on the individual rather
        than a nation.)

      3. Is this cause for rejoicing? Or, would you rather
        have God look at the group instead of looking
        specifically at you?

    3. Read Jeremiah 31:31-32. What reason does God give for His
      change in our relationship? (Even though He was “husband”
      to the people, they broke their contract with Him – they
      did not obey God.)

    4. Read Jeremiah 31:33-34. How is this new covenant
      (contract) different from the old covenant? (The law is
      written on our hearts and minds instead of stone.)

      1. What does that mean? (I think it refers to our

      2. How do we get to this attitude? It does not make
        sense to me that God says “Okay, we will have a new
        agreement here. This time you will have the right
        attitude!” How does this new attitude happen? (The
        key is in verse 34 “I will forgive their wickedness
        and remember their sins no more.”)

        1. Read Matthew 26:27-28. How did God forgive our
          sins? (By dying for us!)

    5. Read Hebrews 9:15. (You should take time to read Hebrews
      chapters 8-10.) How does this event (Jesus’ death) change
      our attitude? (Recall how we were shocked that Ezekiel
      lost his wife to help illustrate God’s point? Here, God’s
      point about His relationship with us, God’s point about
      the awful nature of sin, are vividly illustrated in the
      death of Jesus for us. That should change our attitude
      about God and sin!)

    6. Read Hebrews 10:19-24. What specific new attitudes of the
      heart are inspired by Jesus’ death on our behalf and His
      current role as our High Priest? (Confidence, sincerity,
      assurance, guilt-free, hope, trust and a desire to spur
      others to love and good deeds.)

    7. Friend, can you see how God wants to have the closest kind
      of relationship with you? He points to a spouse, He points
      to a Father, and He gives up His life for you! Will you
      give your heart to Him? Will your attitude change to
      desire to have a relationship with Him? Will you choose
      life eternal?

  3. Next week we start a new series of lessons entitled “The
    Refiner’s Fire.”