Be Zealous for God
When you think about someone being jealous, what first comes to mind? Good or bad thoughts? Is being jealous ever a good thing?
The jealousy of God is another example of those characteristics we don't talk about or emphasize much, as if it were something bad. But, it is another example of what I believe furthers my confidence in the Word, proving it to be "God breathed", or sourced in God alone, the Bible being God's self-revelation of Himself, versus man simply imagining a God for themselves or how He might be. For no person would ever imagine a God who is jealous.
Look at Ex. 34:14. It states "for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." This is in the context of God making known His name, declaring exactly who He is and what He is like. God is the one disclosing this about Himself. This is not speculative nor guessing on the part of man. God is the One revealing this about Himself.
In every part of the Bible, whether it be the Pentateuch (Dt. 4:24 or 6:15), the history books (Joshua 24:19), the prophets (Ezek. 8:3-5), or even the Psalms (78:58), we find the One true God of the Bible being revealed as jealous. If we turn to the New Testament, we see it as well, as in 1 Cor. 10:22. It seems to underscore God's motive to action, whether mercy or wrath.
So, the question becomes, what is meant by this revelation of God's jealousy? What is the nature of this jealousy? How can jealousy be a virtue in God and a vice in man? How can we praise God for being jealous?
For starters, we must remember that man is not the measure of God. None of our limitations apply to Him. Limitations such as knowledge, power, foresight, strength, consistency, or anything of this kind. Additionally, we must remember that all of our human qualities have been corrupted by sin and again, this does not apply to God.
We must recognize and remember that God's jealousy is informed and guided by His righteousness and holiness. Thus, God's jealousy is not born from frustration, envy or spite, as human jealousy is so often. Rather, it appears in the Bible as praiseworthy.
If we are honest, when we think of jealousy, we think of it in this way: you have what I want and I hate you because of this. It is sourced in resentment, lack of love. Envy, or malice is at the root. This is for the most part all we know of jealousy.
But we must keep in mind that there is another kind of jealousy, one that is rooted in a zeal to protect what is loved or avenge what has been broken. This is what is meant by God being jealous. Let me illustrate: if someone attacked your wife or child, you would respond in defense of them. Protect them. This is rooted in a good kind of jealousy. Zeal to protect what is loved. And this is God's jealousy. Rooted in a covenant love for another, for His own people.
This is seen in that many of the references to God's jealousy are found in regards to idolatry and in the context of God's covenant with Israel, symbolized by marriage, demanding unqualified love and loyalty. Thus, the worship of idols and all relationships outside of this or infringing upon this covenant between God and His people would not be tolerated. God would respond in jealousy and defend what is His.
Here is what this teaches us this morning: God demands utter loyalty from His people. He will not tolerate less. God demands faithfulness from His people. Ultimately seen in His glory in securing and choosing and protecting a people until the end. Salvation pictures this well. God is a saving, gracious God, and He means for His name to be known, honored and praised throughout the earth, especially through the lives of His people.
So, how do we rightly respond to God's jealousy? For starters, we must be zealous for God. We must seek above all His honor and glory in all things. We should be passionately devoted to what brings Him glory and honor and praise. We should have a burning desire to please God, to do His will.
And above all else, in place of all else, we should live for this one thing. Be consumed by this one thing in our lives. God's glory. Pleasing God. Whether we live or die, sickness or health, rich or poor, seek to please God. Live to advance God's glory.
BE ZEALOUS FOR GOD.
Does this characterize you today? Does this consume us? Core of all we do?
May we not be content with being sound and respectable, or lukewarm. May we be jealous for God and His glory in all we do as He is jealous for us, His people.