“The Bride belongs to the Bridegroom. The friend who attends the Bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the Bridegroom’s voice.” John 3:28-30
[NOTE: John, one of the 12 disciples chosen by Jesus, described well the key people and roles involved in ancient weddings. It also gives us an insight into the first “wedding”…in God’s Garden.]
God was the first Wedding Planner. He created the Garden setting (Perfect!), the Groom (Adam…handsome “model man,” I’m sure, although he was missing a rib), and the Bride (Eve…an absolutely divine creation!)
It was perfect!
At that moment in Time, God Himself stepped into the role of Friend of the Bridegroom. In ancient times, this role was very important. The Friend of the Bridegroom acted as the go-between for the Bridegroom and the Bride. Plans, details, and any other important communications between the Bridegroom and the Bride were carried out through the Friend of the Bridegroom. The Bridegroom and the Bride did not have any contact before the wedding. All information was passed between them by the Friend of the Bridegroom. He had weighty responsibilities to carry out between the Bridegroom and his Bride, and had to be completely trustworthy. In that first love story, God conducted the wedding ceremony.
Fast forward in time… God chose a man named Moses to be His Friend. God had chosen His Bride (the people of God), through whom He would bring the Messiah. They had been in slavery for 400 years and had lost much as a result. The generations who had known God were gone. It was as if God had to press a “re-set” button to prepare His Bride, reminding her of who she was, Whose she was, Who God was, and how to relate to Him as well as to each other. Their centuries of slavery had changed them. God had to lay new groundwork for this nation of slaves (His Bride) through whom He would create His Own Nation…a Family.
God chose His “Friend of the Bridegroom”….a man who was of God’s own People, yet had been raised and trained in the most powerful Pharoah’s own home. His name was Moses. His leadership and scholastic training was from the best. Moses had been trained in leadership skills necessary to rule a mighty nation, the mightiest on earth at that time. Yet Moses had also spent 40 years out in the middle of nowhere “leading” sheep. It was his time to personally encounter God, and to learn to be a shepherd of “not too bright” sheep. The drastically different skill sets of an Egyptian Prince and a desert shepherd would all come into play for the mission the Bridegroom (God) had for Moses to carry out for Him.
Once God had His chosen Bride’s full attention, having walked down the aisle of a parted sea, the Bridegroom was ready to communicate with His Bride about how their life together would work.
Moses (Friend of the Bridegroom) went to meet with Bridegroom, God, on the mountain top, and began writing down what the Groom was laying out as the foundation of their new Family, a chosen nation. In 400 years of slavery, they had lost much of who they were.
The Friend of the Groom (Moses) would come down the mountain to relay what the Groom said….how their family would function….how their marriage would work…how they would live together as a Family. He had written it down….in stone. The Bridegroom trusted His Friend Moses with this history-making responsibility which was intended to last throughout the entire history of the family/nation He and His Bride would establish.
The first version did not go so well. The “document” literally broke apart.
The Friend of the Groom returned to the mountain top meeting place, and the Groom again dictated to His Friend Moses all the foundational agreements (10 Commandments) that were necessary for this Family to succeed, to last. No longer slaves, they had to learn how to live in freedom.
They had to learn how to live as a family…and as a nation.
Moses spent a lot of time with The Bridegroom on that mountain top. He made a lot of trips up and down the mountain on the Groom’s behalf. But Moses kept the Bride’s focus on the Groom, not on himself. He knew that he was in the shadow of the Groom, and his role was to faithfully and truthfully represent the Heart of her Groom, continuing to help her know Him in all of His Truth, Faithfulness and Love. The Groom had entrusted His Name, His Reputation, and His Heart to His Friend Moses.
Moses remained the faithful Friend of the Groom for the rest of his life. He represented The Groom well. Moses led the Bride to the Land that was to be her Home…the Home she would share with her Groom.
At last, Moses stood at the Doorstep of that Home, the Land of Israel, and watched the Bride walk through the Door with her Groom.
Then Moses rested.