Thursday, December 8, 2011

God’s Love – To Woo and Win Us

“How long will you waver, O faithless daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth: a woman encompasses a man.”

~Jeremiah 31:22 (NRSV)

How do we describe the never failing nature of God’s love?

There is a beautiful word picture presented above; one that is quite rarely known in human love terms—when a woman surrounds and “protects” a man and the loveliest of seductions occurs. In the literal context, above, this act of passionate love on behalf of the woman is in response to the wooing of the man—whatever he has done, he has won her.

Even though it looks as if the woman has initiated, the man has initiated; the woman has responded.

But, this is a problematic passage; particularly the last five words—“a woman encompasses a man.” Many of the most learned commentators reflect thoughtfully over it. On the surface it seems not to fit; Israel taking the lead in a relationship with her Lord.

When we picture the redemption path of the Lord, toward the ‘location’ of salvation, we can see how Israel has been wooed in such a way as to devote herself to her Lord. This is surely the vision for the church—in besotted love with her Saviour.

Christ has wooed us by his sacrificial life and incomprehensible death—no less by the ascension into the heavens, to be with the Father; to be God, no less.

Love Is No Better Than By Wooing

Without giving too much away, the best lovemaking manoeuvres that we can personally experience are at the hand of a man giving himself for his woman, in such ways as to charismatically woo her.

As the man is aroused typically by pressing the “on” button, the stereotypical woman has a complex set of levers, dials, switches—a genuine procedure needs to be followed in achieving the journey toward comprehensive arousal. This can require great skill, patience, and humble curiosity.

Similarly, the Lord has found us—the church, humankind—ambivalent to arousal. We have taken years, and many setbacks, to finally receive the Lord’s wooing. And love’s response to such a wooing process is true devotion; we genuinely want to “encompass” Jesus—not so to protect our Saviour, for that would be ridiculous, but to act in such ways as to prove that we’ve been won by Divine hand.


Blessed are we if the Lord has wooed us and won us. No longer ambivalent in faithlessness, we stride out in the new day, following ardently after the Spirit. We are the new Israel—any and all humankind won for the Lord their God.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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