Our God is a Jealous God!!
Interesting how the vast majority of people – professing to be Christian or not – will respond to the question “How would you describe Jesus?” with attributes bestowed on one who was seen as good, positive, compassionate, a great role model, an all-around nice guy.
Interesting, on the other hand, when the same question is posed of God, the contrasting opinions become very obvious, very quickly. Hard lines are drawn, intolerance becomes palpable, emotions quickly bubble to the surface, and at times breach the banks of propriety.
You see, depending on which flag you sail under, God is
“Just and Right”;
“No care for my plight”;
“Ever present, Everywhere”;
“When I called out You weren’t there!!”;
But, jealous? Not an obvious or familiar word used to describe who God is.
In Exodus (Ex) 34:1-17 God once again shows mercy on the people he loves and offers to renew His covenant to bring them across the Jordan to the land he promised, driving out with extreme prejudice its current inhabitants. However, consistent with all covenants, there are expectations on His people:
Do not make peace with that which I war against, and in case this was not clear enough, make war against that which I war against. (Vs 12-14)
There can be no ambiguity, no room for compassion. The message is crystal clear; “you’re either for Me or against Me!!”
“For the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a Jealous God” (Ex 34:14, NKJV)
So, He’s jealous; of what? Of whom? Obvious question, wrong preposition. It’s not what God is jealous OF rather what He is jealous FOR.
Fast forward to the New Testament and God’s ultimate demonstration of His love for us and His desire for eternal commune with all who believe. John 3:16-17; Rom 5:8, 8:28-39; 1 John 4:16; Eph 3:17-19; and so many more. These all speak of God’s inclusive love for ALL PEOPLE, desiring our exclusive praise and worship as we accept His gift of salvation and eternal life through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Son, so that He may enjoy the presence, praise and worship of His creation.
And in return for such a gift? To live a life that honours the amazing gift of grace – eternity as He knows it to be – and to worship Him as the one, holy, sovereign God.
Now here is where it gets interesting again.
For if I was to draw a parallel with the passage in Exodus 34, a life the honours God and a heart that worships His Name must also:
Not make peace with that which He saved us from (Rom 12:2; Jas 1:12-15, 4:7,8; Eph 4:21-29; and others), and for clarity,
Be intentional in our war against the evil one, against any counterfeit message of hope which will only bring death (Ps 119:11; Eph 6:10-18; 1Pet 5:8-11; 2 Tim 2:22; Jas 4:7; and others).
It’s more than our Sunday experience, more than doing good for others, more than reading and prayer. Those are all beneficial to the heart of the believer. But if we allow our hearts and minds to be drawn into desires and priorities that do not reflect a heart of thankfulness and worship due His Name then we are sharing His throne with that which is diametrically opposed to the person, the Name of the most Holy God. And He cannot share His Name with any other, for
God is a Jealous God, jealous FOR His Name!!
God can be nothing else than jealous FOR His name, because that is the essence of who He is. And none other than His Name has
The power to reveal, refine and restore a broken spirit,
The power to give hope, joy and peace,
The power to protect and provide and most of all,
The power to offer eternity to the lost, the sinner saved by grace!
Lord God, I want you to be Lord of all in my life. I want all that I say, think and do to wholly and solely bring glory to Your Name; No ambiguity; no need for interpretation. And Lord, I need you to show me in my everyday what that looks like. Amen.