Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7, ESV)
Weddings bring a lot of smiles, a few sentimental tears, and happiness for the couple about to embark on their new life together. The long-anticipated day has finally arrived, and the bride is radiant. A minister who had married many, many couples smilingly said he had never seen an ugly bride. This is the one day in her life when she looks most beautiful, glowing with love for her bridegroom.
One thing I enjoy about the Bible is its love stories—Jacob and Rachel, Ruth and Boaz, Mary and Joseph. In fact, the entire Bible is a love story, and you and I are in that story. We are the bride preparing for the arrival of our bridegroom. When we understand the customs of that day, the stories become even more meaningful and lovely to us.
Whether large or small, lots of planning (and money) goes into a modern wedding. The bride and her family usually plan details of the ceremony and reception. The bride wants everything perfect on her special day—the dress, the flowers, the reception meal. She has selected her bridesmaids, hired a photographer, and ordered the invitations. The excitement—and stress—build.
In biblical times, there was also much preparation before a wedding, but customs were very different. The father of the groom picked an appropriate bride for his son; there was no dating. Once the fathers agreed, a “bride price” was paid to the girl’s father. (Yes, that’s just what it sounds like.) The bridegroom returned to his father’s house to build on an addition for their new home. Only when all was ready did he return to claim his bride. Family and friends gathered for the wedding feast, an event that would last up to seven days. But one thing could end the marriage: if the bride was found to be impure.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Oh, yes! First Corinthians 6:20 tells us that we have been bought with a price. Our bride price was costly, the blood of Jesus Christ. He has now gone to prepare a place for us, and we are awaiting His return at any time. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3, ESV).
Our Bridegroom is waiting to take His lovely bride to the place He has prepared. As His bride, it is important we keep ourselves unspotted from the things of this world while we wait (Ephesians 5:27). He will only accept a chaste bride. When that day comes to claim her, He will rejoice. He and His bride will spend all eternity together. What a love story! What a beautiful bride!
“. . . As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5, ESV).
Lord, I eagerly await Your return to take me to the new home You have prepared for me. I’m looking forward to spending eternity with You.