The Jealous God
To realize that peoples response to God has always been important to God. He looks upon his Church as a new "Bride" and acts out of loving zeal in His relationship with it.
Ex 20:5 & 34:1, John 1:1-18, Phil 2:9, 2 Cor 8:9
Packers "Knowing God", chapter 17
Are there any aspects of God you don't like? Read Exodus 20:5 - ( the 2nd commandment) The Jealous God, doesn't this sound offensive? Jealousy is considered a vice today and a serious issue in relationships.
-> Stop for a minute and consider a time in your life when you have been jealous.
The Back Door:
How could one even imagine God as jealous? To start with let me say that "imagining" is what we should not do .. for as mentioned previously, were we to "imagine" a god, we would likely give him only the characteristics we admire.
The following are references to God's jealousy. Take a minute to read each of them.
From these passages we can see that jealously is regularly described as a motive for God's actions, both in wrath and in mercy.
Wow! .. Well now that we see it, what does it mean? What is the nature of this divine jealousy? How can jealously be something good in God and yet a vice in men? How can a loving God be jealous?
To understand this we must keep 2 things in mind,
1. The Bible uses anthropomorphism's (that is, "descriptions of things drawn from the life of man") to describe God. Since we are made in God's image, God often paints Himself in terms of human experience. It is the clearest medium of description.
2. God is not limited as we are. We cannot ascribe limits to an emotion God has just because of the limits it has in us. Now bearing these in mind, let's look at Gods jealousy.
First, jealousy in humans comes in two flavors (kinds)
1. An expression of the following - I want what you have and I hate you for having it instead of me.
2. An expression of zeal to protect a love relationship or avenge it when it is broken.
Now scripture consistently depicts God's jealousy in terms of the second kind.
Today Many "Christian" sects have very strange ideas about who God is. Revelation chapter 18 describes the church at the time of Lords return as the "Great Prostitute" who is once again in "bed" with the kings of the world.
Key Message: From these passages we can see what God meant when He tells us that He is jealous. He asks absolute loyalty from those he has loved and redeemed and He promises to defend his claim on the relationship if we betray his love by unfaithfulness.
Calvin wrote ..
.. the purer and more chaste a husband is , the more grievously he is offended when he sees his wife inclined to a rival; so the Lord, who has betrothed us to Himself in truth, declares that He burns with the hottest jealousy whenever , neglecting the purity of His holy marriage, we defile ourselves with abominable lusts and especially when the worship of His deity .. is transferred to another or adulterated with some superstition.
You see, God has shown us he has some objectives. They include;
Considering this what should be our response? The following verses say it well.
... who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:14 (NIV)
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Rom 12:11 (NIV)
I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 2 Cor 11:2 (NIV)
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! Rev 3:15 (NIV)
These verses encourage us to respond by having zeal for God. A burning desire to please Him, to not disappoint Him and to do his will... This is our zealousness for God.