I remember concerning you
the kindness of your youth,
The love of your bridal days,
When you followed after Me in the wilderness,
In a land that was not sown.
Last weekend I got to go to a 7th-9th grade boys retreat in the forests at the foothills of the Cascades in Easton, WA. I really enjoyed hearing a brother from Boise, ID share on the Lord’s perspective of us as Christians.
If you think about the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness on their way from Egypt to the promised land, it is easy to see them in a negative light; full of rebellion, complaining, and idolatry. However, in the midst of their failures, there is an account of Jehovah’s perspective of His chosen people in Numbers 22-24. In these chapters a certain king named Balak observed how the Israelites were destroying their enemies as they began to enter the good land and commissioned a prophet named Balaam to come curse Israel for him. However, when Balaam eventually attempted to curse God’s chosen people, all he was able to do was bless them. Jehovah put a word in Balaam’s mouth and Balaam spoke forth God’s feeling for the Israelites: that they were holy (23:7-10), perfect (23:18-24), and beautiful (24:3-9).
The brother sharing this at the retreat tied this story to Jeremiah 2:2, where the Lord fondly recalls the days of Israel’s travel through the wilderness as a husband fondly remembers his bride on their wedding day. From Jehovah’s perspective, Israel was not a rebellious people that wandered for 40 years but a holy, perfect and beautiful bride who followed Him.
When we look back on the years it’s been since we first gave ourselves to follow the Lord, sometimes we have a tendency to focus on the failures we’ve had through the course of our life. Instead of getting hung up on our sins and shortcomings, we need to remember the Lord’s perspective. God’s view of our early Christian life (whether that’s in 7th-9th grade or any other time period where we first started to pursue Him) is that these are our “bridal days.” The Lord treasures these memories of us, and we should too.