Read His Words Before Ours!
Growing up, I felt as though my parents gave my siblings and I a pretty healthy dose of freedom and responsibility.
If we were playing outside away from the house, we were to be home before dark.
If we wanted to be able to stay out later with friends, we needed to check in and assure them we were doing exactly what we’d said we would do.
If we didn’t do those things, then we weren’t allowed back out until we could prove we were responsible enough to handle their guidelines.
These checks and balances allowed them to continue to trust us, as well as gauge if we could handle an increase of freedom.
In fact, I don’t remember being told no much during my middle and high school career.
Now before you go on thinkin’ I’m a goodie-two-shoes, I’m generally wired to be a people-pleaser. If you were to do a study on birth order, you would come to find out I’m about as middle child as they come.
Middle children tend to be the peace-keepers and often possess traits like agreeableness and loyalty. Whenever I did do something wrong, the loyal, peace-keeper inside of me immediately felt guilty.
For example, one weekend as a middle schooler, a friend invited me to watch some movies I knew weren’t allowed at my house. Embarrassed to say no, I gave in and we watched 3 unapproved movies in 1 day.
The following week, I couldn’t rid myself of the nagging feeling inside. I couldn’t eat, had a hard time sleeping, and I was short and rude in conversations. When I finally got up the courage to tell my mom, I was in tears before I even said a word.
As a believer in Christ Jesus, we have access to the Holy Spirit, who lives inside of us. My mom explained that the sick feeling I had been experiencing was like the Holy Spirit’s nudge in letting me know something wasn’t right. In its purest form, it was conviction, and I needed to ask forgiveness.
When talking to my GT sisters about writing this Journey Study, they pointed out something I had never realized before. The nagging feeling (Holy Spirit) that I had inside of me then, and even now, can be directly related to the burning jealously God feels each time we do something that takes our focus away from Him.
“Do not make an idol for yourself,
whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above
or on the earth below or in the water under the earth.
Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them;
for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…” Exodus 20:4-5
“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 4:24
“I am the Lord. That is my name,
and I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.” Isaiah 42:8
Those belong to God alone, because He alone is worthy of it.
In Hosea, we clearly see that God is not only jealous,
but zealous about protecting what is precious to Him.
God did not want to share her with anyone else. So, when she worshiped other gods, committing spiritual adultery, God, motivated by jealous love, takes action.
God wasn’t narcissistically stuck on Himself, somehow needing Israel to worship Him so He could feel good about Himself.
Neither was God lonely and, out of His emptiness, was stirred to chase after His chosen Bride.
No, the Lord was jealous, and acted zealously to pursue His people, out of Pure. Love.
My parents made the rules they did, not to make them feel better about themselves, but because they deeply loved me. They chose certain movies to be on the “do not watch” list because they knew me. They knew I would love others better if I wasn’t trapped in my mind by the things I had seen.
The precious and powerful God Almighty.
He knows our lives will function to their fullest when we delight ourselves in Him,
because He’s the one who designed life.
He’s the One who knows our hearts.
Out of His great love, He chose pursuit.
He chose to woo Israel back time and time and time again,
not out of His neediness, but because of THEIRS.
Oh, this is love!
What would Israel gain?
Peace, fullness, abundance, inheritance.
What would the Lord gain?
Simply the delight of a relationship with His Beloved.
Sweet sisters. He is jealous for you.
Not because He is needy.
Not because He is lonely.
But because He purely loves you.
He knows how to bring your life to its fullest, most satisfying place.
He knows what will bring you delight.
And He knows it all begins and ends with Him. (Revelation 22:13)
Because He’s the author of it all.
With my middle-school choice, I turned away from my parents to fulfill my own desires.
With Israel, their choices reflected the same thing, they had longings they thought they could fill up with a million other loves.
With us, today, right now, we have hearts aching with desire, holes we would do anything to fill up. Longings we are chasing with a million other loves.
But One Is all we need.
A God who loves us jealously.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!