A JEALOUS GOD
We often think of God as being compassionate: (and He is)
For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; Deut 4:31 (NASB) We often think of God as caring: (and He is)
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB) We often think of God as loving: (and He is)
We often think of God as generous: (and He is)
- "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)
We even sometimes think of God as being very angry:
But do you ever think of God as jealous?
- But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him James 1:5 (NASB)
Has God changed? Is he still a jealous God? In what way is God jealous? Has he become more pluralistic in these days of divergent concepts of who God is? Mankind has had different ideas about the identity of God from the beginning. In his wisdom mankind has sought God in the stars, in nature and within himself.
- Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; 15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. Deut 6:14-15 (KJV)
I think it important for us to understand the God which we serve. In order for us to understand him it is important to know what is important to him. We get to know and understand our spouse by learning what is important to them. Three things I have learned about my spouse: she doesn’t like to be tickled; she doesn’t like to be frightened; and she like cards: Birthday, Anniversary and Valentines. I have known from the beginning of our relationship about these and other things which are important to her.
- Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Romans 1:22-23 (NASB)
WHAT MAKES GOD JEALOUS?
We need to know that God is a jealous God. He doesn’t like us being involved with other gods: the gods of the people around us. He has made this plain from the beginning. For some reason or perhaps a variety of reason, God’s creation has chosen to worship the creation rather than the Creator.
God has observed this human trait and the best word for his response is jealousy. God created us and gave us life. He loved us and gave his son. He cares. He is gracious. He is generous and compassionate. But he also gets angry. When his creation chooses to bow down to an idol made of wood, stone or metal; he gets very jealous and as a result gets very angry. “The Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
- For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Romans 1:25 (NASB)
Why did God instruct the nation of Israel to drive out from the land they were about to posses the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite? He knew that the idol worship of these people would rub off on the Israelites. He knew they would inter-marry and that eventually you wouldn’t be able to tell one from the other. That may seem hard to those of us who are here in this great land, because our fore-parents made their way to this melting pot many years ago, to become a part of the freedom to choose our religion as we see fit. But God wanted a people that would be loyal to him. “Watch yourself” was his warning. “For you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” God was telling his people, “Now this is important to me.” Perhaps that might be difficult for us to wrap our minds around but if we are to fathom what is important to God, this is something we need to know.
- "So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the Lord your God has commanded you.24 "For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.25 "When you become the father of children and children's children and have remained long in the land, and act corruptly, and make an idol in the form of anything, and do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord your God so as to provoke Him to anger,26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed.27 "The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord drives you.28 "There you will serve gods, the work of man's hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. Deut 4:23-28 (NASB)
Jesus knew that this commandment was important, yea even necessary to his heavenly father. He knew this was a line not to cross.
- Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.12 "Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst.13 "But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim 14 —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—15 otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice,16 and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods.17 "You shall make for yourself no molten gods. Exodus 34:11-17 (NASB)
- Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;9 and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."10 Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.' " Matt 4:8-10 (NASB)
He knew that worship was important to his father in heaven. His father welcomes our worship, seeks it and expects it. But he also knew something else about worship. “You shall worship God and serve him only.” The commandments said explicitly:
Does this continue to be an important issue today? Shouldn’t we be more pluralistic and ecumenical in our approach to religion? In view of the scriptures we have already examined, if you had to make an assessment in light of their teachings, what might that be? Notice particularly verse one of chapter 20 of Exodus:
Jesus made that even more well-defined when he said: "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. John 4:23 (NASB)
- "You shall have no other gods before Me.4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.5 "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.” Ex 20:3-5 (NASB)
Then God spoke all these words. Exodus 20:1 Remember the two tables of stone which Moses brought down the mountain with him? Remember what is said about those stone tablets? This doctrine relating to worship was important to God. “Whom shall he make to understand doctrine?” Isaiah 28:9 (KJV) Who then will understand this doctrine?
When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God. Ex 31:18 (NASB)
Moses knew this concept was very important to God so he made it very plain to the Israelites in the shema. Shema Yisrael (or Sh'ma Yisrael or just Shema) "Hear, [O] Israel") are the first two words of a section of the Torah (Hebrew Bible) that is a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. The first verse encapsulates the monotheistic essence of Judaism: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one,"
Jesus made it equally plain in his ministry. This was important to Jesus. It was important to Moses. It is important to God. God is a jealous God. Shema has not lost its importance to God, even though it might loose its importance to this generation or even to us.
As found in Deuteronomy 6:4 . Observant Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of the prayer service in Judaism, and its twice-daily recitation as a mitzvah (religious commandment). It is traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words, and for parents to teach their children to say it before they go to sleep at night. Wikipedia.
- "What commandment is the foremost of all?"29 Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God is one Lord ;30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart , and with all your soul , and with all your mind, and with all your strength .' Mark 12:28-30 (NASB)
This issue was of such great importance to Jesus that he made it a matter of life and death: eternal life. Is that term that Jesus used registering with you? “You, the only true God”. It would be going too far to declare Jesus to be very God when he called someone other than himself “the only true God.” Let’s get in step with Jesus and his teaching.
- "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3 (NASB)
Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles concurred with the Shema:
- We know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.5 For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 (NASB)
Paul made it plain in his first letter to Timothy:
- This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim 2:3-5 (NASB)
This also was very important to Isaiah in his OT gospel. Particularly notice the importance God placed on this issue so far as the world is concerned:
- "I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, 7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well -being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these. Isaiah 45:5-7 (NASB)
That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. Should this be important to you and me? As Israel is so are we his witnesses. God knows of no God other than himself. We truly go too far if we claim to know another God other than the one God does. This is important to God. It should be important to us as well.
- 'Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.' " Isaiah 44:8 (NASB)
Yet for us there is but one God. I Corinthians 8:6
What then should be our response?
- "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!5 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.6 "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. Deut 6:4-6 (NASB)
"The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart , and with all your soul , and with all your mind, and with all your strength .' Mark 12:29-30 (NASB)
“The LORD our God is One LORD”
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