Jeremiah speaks in detail about the relationship between God and Israel when Moses sprinkled the blood of animals to confirm the Old Covenant (see Exodus 24:8). In these verses, He speaks to a highly apostate, corrupt Judah some 850 years after the construction of the Tabernacle. The house of Israel was already in exile, and soon Nebuchadnezzar would carry the house of Judah captive into Babylon. Jeremiah quotes God as He fondly—almost wistfully—looks back in time, remembering Mount Sinai, remembering when the Old Covenant was confirmed.
God actually says that, "Israel was holiness" to Him! When they built the Tabernacle of meeting, physical Israel was probably closer to God than they ever were or would be in their history. In fact, they were in their first love! One of the fruits of their extremely close relationship with God was the properly finished Tabernacle. Israel submitted to its husband, Yahweh Jireh.
God Our Provider
The Revised Standard Version, in the middle of verse two, read, "I remember your early devotion, the love of your bridal days." God uses the bridegroom and bride analogies because they picture the kind of fervent relationship He desires with us. Fervency is warmth of spirit. It is an attitude.
Does a person desire a relationship with somebody who shows no interest in him? There is a possibility that something like that might occur because someone could be attracted to another, but the other is not paying any attention. So, unless the attracted person makes a move to build a relationship, the other will never notice him. He has to seek the other out.
Now, we need to put God into this scenario. He does not need us in any way, and we are not holy like He is. We do not have the mind He has or His character. In fact, we know almost nothing about Him at the time He begins to make the effort to have a relationship with us. He would like to have one with us because He can see where it can go.
But what kind of reaction will He get from us? He wants the reaction of two people in love. It is helpful to look at this from God's point of view in terms of the end of the relationship. If we were God, would we desire to have a relationship with one who is not showing any interest in us? We would not want to marry anybody who did not have as much interest in us as we have in them. Marriage should be made on the basis of equal, fervent, mutual interest. It occurs because of a desire to be together, to do things together, to accomplish things together, to build a family together, even a desire to mature and grow old together.
This is exactly the kind of relationship that God wants. In several places, He specifically says, "I remember what it was like in our bridal days," because there was heat in the relationship. Each was truly seeking the other out.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Prayer and Seeking God