God’s Dowry

It is said that there has been a change in dowry trends in Korea. One of the leading matchmaking companies in Korea conducted a survey using a sample of 813 subjects and revealed some interesting facts. In the 60s and 70s, dinnerware, a traditional Korean dress, a sewing machine, and an iron were deemed the most appropriate gifts for dowry. In the 80s, electronics such as the color TV were ranked number one as the most popular dowry gifts. In the 90’s, a medium to large screen TV (larger than 25 inches), a bed, and a vacuum cleaner became indispensable items for dowry as apartment living and westernized lifestyle became a norm. In the 2000’s, the double door refrigerator, front loader washing machine, and home theater system are among the most popular goods. While the functionality of goods was highly regarded in the past, the brand name and comfort of goods are now more highly regarded.

Prophet Hosea mentions three times the fact that God has called us as His bride and we will enter into marriage: “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion“ (Hosea 2:19-20). Here, God’s dowry is mentioned. It is His character and essence. That means we will receive from Him righteousness, grace, mercy, and truth as wedding gifts. He will give us not a new house, a new car, a new computer, or other electric appliances.  Instead, He will give us, His bride, His character and essence as gifts.

God gives us the heart of righteousness first. Not only does He show us righteousness, but He also makes us righteous. God hates sin. Thus, He washes and cleanses each and every one of those who have fallen into sins and iniquities in His blood. That is how he makes us righteous. Furthermore, He instills in us righteousness so that we may also hate sin. Here in the U.S., something more twisted and sickening than a graphic Japanese horror movie happened recenty. A woman was separated from her biological father at the age of four when her parents divorced. Twelve years later, she reunited with her father and crossed the line so to speak. She has decided to marry her biological father and now moved to New Jersey where the law against incest is lax. As if gay marriage is not evil enough. What righteousness can there be in a marriage between a father and a daughter?

God enters into the holy nuptial union with us in grace and mercy. Oftentimes, righteous people are devoid of emotional richness. However, God is righteous and also rich in grace, mercy, and love. It is said that marriage is not likely to last long when mercy and compassion towards each other is absent. A study conducted with several thousand married couples revealed that the key to maintaining a healthy marriage is mercy and compassion. A couple who condemn and detest each other in anger are more likely to separate or divorce. By contrast, a couple who maintain emotional composure and exercise compassion and mercy towards each other prolong their relationship. They key to maintaining a relationship between a man and a woman is gentle character. Righteousness devoid of mercy and compassion only causes fear (James 2:13; Hosea 10:12).

Aurelius Augustine, also known as. St Augustin of Hippo, (354-430) as a young man lived a licentious life indulging in drinking and worldliness. Through the prayer of his mother Monica, however, he was transformed into a man of God. After he entered the monastery, he met a woman on the street. It was the woman whom he had been seeing while living a decadent life. She immediately recognized Augustine and said “Augustine, it’s me. Do you recognize me?” Augustine answered “Augustine you once knew is dead. I am the newborn Augustine.” Then, he nonchalantly passed by her without looking back. We must take off the old robe of sin and put on the new robe of purity (Deuteronomy 21:13; Ephesians 4:24).

Through Jesus Christ, God takes us to be His bride and calls us Hephzibah and Beulah (Isaiah 62:4). The name Hephzibah means “My delight is in her” and Beulah means “a married woman.” Some of us may be divorced but we must never part ways with God. We can never find a groom like Jesus Christ anywhere.How much we resemble our groom Jesus Christ determines our bridehood. The essence and character of Jesus Christ are our true assets. There will soon be a marriage feast for us the Bride in heaven (Matthew 22:2~; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:2). May all of us prepare ourselves as the Lord’s precious Bride for the day of His coming like the five wise virgins with oil.

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