Read His Words Before Ours!
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” ― A.W. Tozer
Our Creator God is a jealous God?? In what human relationships is jealousy known to be a good thing? Have you ever experienced the benefits of jealousy?
Upon first consideration, this idea of God as holy AND jealous seems confusing or contradictory, right? Yet, it’s clearly communicated throughout Scripture. So let’s dig into this concept together, asking God to enlighten our spirits.
As you read my words, and more importantly, the words of Scripture, I pray you will recall Isaiah 55:8-9, which reminds us our thoughts are not God’s thoughts nor our ways, God’s ways.
While we are made in God’s image, some aspects of God are wholly “other,” with no human or creature reference at all. For example, His omniscience. Is there any reference point we, in our limited human understanding, have to grasp an ALL-knowing Being? No.
I would urge you to understand the Holy Jealousy of God in this light. It is a perfect jealousy; it is not tainted by insecurity, capriciousness, rage, or malice.
It is rooted fully in the perfect and sacrificial love of God.
One has only to go to the foot of the cross to see undeniable and compelling evidence for how much God loves us; there, we understand God’s jealousy for our worship of Him alone in the light of His LOVE for us and His zealous desire for our highest good.
Let’s turn to God’s Word to wade into the deep waters of understanding God as other and God as jealous.
“No god was formed before Me, and there will be none after Me. I—I am the Lord. Besides Me, there is no Savior. I alone declared, saved, and proclaimed—and not some foreign god among you.” (Isaiah 43:10-12)
“I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God but Me.” (Isaiah 45:5)
“Look, I am the Lord, the God over every creature. Is anything too difficult for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)
“The God who made the world and everything in it—He is Lord of heaven and earth—does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He himself gives everyone life and breath and all things.” (Acts 17:24-25)
“He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see, to Him be honor and eternal power. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:15b-16)
When we consider God’s jealousy for our worship is birthed out of His love and passion for us to experience only the highest good, we can rightly frame God’s jealousy as holy. Our worship of God alone brings wholeness and peace, rightly ordering our affections and pursuits.
I have seen this truth within my own life. By the time I reached college, I had an inward sense that I was born a worshiper. (I know now that we are ALL born to worship something.)
For most of my life, I worshipped my own image with greatest devotion. By college, I finally became aware of my self-absorption. I longed for others to think well of me.
I also longed for a boyfriend who would one day become my spouse and (in my Disney-inspired, imagined sense of reality) make all my dreams come true, fulfilling my longings for love and acceptance.
Long story, short, I did marry . . . but not the first man who caught my eye. My husband wasn’t even the second or third man who swept me off my feet and stole my heart. Three times over, I watched my idol of a life partner burn to the ground, its ashes left to demonstrate the hollow and fleeting nature of the object of my worship.
Now, after nearly 2 decades of marriage, I understand no earthly spouse can hold the weight of my needs and expectations to be loved and accepted.
Only God could do this.
Only the God who numbers the hairs on my head (Matthew 10:30) could also be my ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
Only God, who knows the words I will speak before they even come out of my mouth, could also demand my whole-hearted affection, devotion, and thanksgiving like no other.
He is jealous for our worship.
Not to satisfy His own need, but to satisfy our hearts in His sufficiency.
He is a worthy, jealous God.
For further study:
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!