God loves Israel. He loves her for an early devotion.
“Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, thus said the LORD; I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your espousals, when you went after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness to the LORD, and the first fruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come on them, said the LORD.” (Jeremiah 2:2,3)
He loves her for early righteousness.
“How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.” (Isaiah 1:21)
He loves her in a unique way, as a peculiar people.
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:2)
And He loves Israel for her origination, known to Him from everlasting, but first manifest in the Patriarchs.
“When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.” (Hosea 9:10)
How transparently personal is God’s passion here! Our God avows His love like a suitor, placing His heart in Israel’s hands. He cannot have all His big dreams if she does not say yes, and He will not have peace without her approval. What will God do, what great act of heroism, or grand gesture will He make, to resolve His crisis?
This is exciting poetry, and grand in conception. In that personal light even the least lyrical elements of the Hebrew Bible: the genealogies, and enumeration of parts of the tabernacle, the numbering of the troops, the order in which the tribes of Israel must travel, are all very personal because they are the constitution of the Lord’s people, the foundation blocks of the family of Jesus, who branches out to save the entire world (which he loves equally as much.) Much of the Hebrew Bible names what is essential to the making of the people.
In singing of God’s relationship with Israel, (and the flock is one in Israel), He works in the greatest microcosm, even to a stone beneath Jacob’s head, up to the greatest macrocosm: the salvation of the world through the death of the Son of God.
That Living Word which issued eternally from the bosom of the Father, has spoken by His prophets in order to adopt us as His children. What do we need to know most, but God Himself, for knowing Him is eternal life? (John 17:3)
Often it is that chief poet of a people who has a special claim to the deep spirit of the country. For example Homer, Virgil, and Walt Whitman sing the epic of their people. In scripture, the Author of Life Himself, has spoken in a way so powerful that He actually creates a people. From stone to hearts of flesh, and hovering over darkness without discernment He fashions brothers and sisters conforming to His own image. As in Genesis, His word possesses an originating power, and a sustaining and blessing power.
At His feet we will all be taught of God, even as Mary Magdalene, who chose for herself a fine part.