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GOD, THE JEALOUS

March 24, 2017

Text: “…for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God…” Exodus 34:14

The Bible truthfully and straightforwardly states that God is a “jealous” God.  Many detractors of the Bible have ridiculed the idea that God could embrace such an unseemly characteristic in his person. They should have read more of the Bible and have gotten  some understanding of what is truly indicated by the scripture. To do so would have caused them to praise God instead of blaspheme him.

This facet of God’s character is actually love and saving for himself a “remnant” of men to be his people and deliver them from sin to serve him. “In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people…” Isaiah 28:5  Of course, the word “remnant” means “a usually small part, member, or trace remaining”. The second entry down in Websters says that is also a small group of people. 

God has made a plan of salvation whose target is a small segment of the world’s people. He begins by establishing a covenant with one man, Abraham, promising him that though he was presently childless his progeny would be countless. “And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Genesis 15:3  Years passed before the firstborn son, Ishmael, was delivered by Hagar, a concubine of Abraham’s. More years passed, and Isaac was born to Sarah. It was Isaac with whom God covenanted and promised that  that offspring  would be the remnant.


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Later Abraham’s descendants fled from Egyptian bondage and became the nation that Moses ruled. At Mt. Sinai God made a covenant with the Israelites to be the remnant to whom God was “married”. This rag-tag band of freedmen were an unlikely mixture of people to serve God’s ends, but the the Lord chooses them from all Earth’s people to serve his ends.  “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”  Deuternomy 7:6-8  

Notice some of the terms of this contract between God and this “remnant”. This small group was chosen by God to be treasured  and redeemed from the corrupt societies of man around them. It was by the mighty hand of God  freed and made his possession. The Bible repeatedly alludes to this in terms of a marriage conract between God and the Israelites. Ostensibly, God is a husband who loves, provides for, and protects the Israelites (his wife). She is duty bound by the agreement to love him, honor him, and be faithful to him. If the wife breaks her bonds, she can be “divorced” from her “lord” and all of her blessings and privileges can be withdrawn. God explains that though the Israelites were fewer  and thus more undesirable as a plus for him, his election of them (he “set his love on you”)  was motivated by “keeping the oath he swore to your fathers”At that time the Israelites were just one of the sinful and idol-devoted peoples of the earth. But God intended to make them to be his unique “holy people”.  The term holy people means that they became uniquely and absolutely his. They had to abandon all vestiges of the sinful practices of their neighboring  idolaters, to keep the Law of YHWH, and be entirely devout and steadfast in his service.

After embracing the Law of Moses heartily and promising to obey it (“All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” Exodus 19:8), they drifted back into the idolatrous, sinful, morally corrupt ways of the nations about them. When Moses began to disclose to the people the laws of the covenant they were making with YHWH that day he began with a short introduction saying, “‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 7 “‘You shall have no other gods before me. 8 “‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.””  Deuteronomy 20:6-8  These words of the preamble identify the grandeur of the person with whom Israel is covenanting: the non-pareil  (“having no equal”, Websters Dictionary) Deity who has himself freed Israel from bondage.  Directly following is Israel’s prime world view to which they are now inseparably and totally devoted: the one true God. This conjoining of God with Israel excluded any other nation.  “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,” II Corinthians 6:17

Nevertheless, God knew that it was inevitable that close dealings with the idolatrous and iniquitous Canaanites would taint and entice Israel into sin and separation from him, ( Ex. Lot at Sodom. “(for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed [his] righteous soul from day to day with [their] lawless deeds…” II Peter 2:8)  So God chose a severe course of action to keep his people pure and to fulfill the promise of giving Israel the land of Canaan. He commanded the invasion forces to drive the Canaanites by war and to annihilate the lingerers.  Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst. 14(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.” Exodus 34:12-16

Verse 14 just above states that God is a jealous God and why. The Lord wants to preserve from sin his covenanted wife Israel because of his love. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,” Ephesians 2:4  So much the better for you!   Since we Christians are the bride of Christ, we are the “remnant”, the “people of God”,  “the church”, God is jealous over us to protect us from apostacy. He feeds us, energizes us, heals us, (and this is great!), he forgives us and calls us to return when we have erred. 

Now you know the “skinny” of God practicing jealousy! Let God be jealous. Let’s pray, “God, please be jealous over me!”

REM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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