DayBreaks for 3/21/16 – A Jealous, Zealous God
Deut. 4:24 – For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God…
I grew up being taught that some emotions are not good ones. It is wrong to be envious, it is wrong to be hateful…and it was wrong to be jealous. And so it is that this verse always troubled me from my earliest days. If jealous was wrong, how could God be jealous and yet be perfect? There must be some kind of righteous jealousy, right?
Paul Copan, a philosophy professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University sought to explain it, likening us to a dog who drinks water out of a toilet bowl and concluding, “It doesn’t get any better than this!” So, we humans go on drinking water out of toilet bowls and grossly concluding it is great, yet God has so much more He wants for us. And it grieves His heart of love to watch us choose so foolishly to drink toilet bowl water rather than the Living Water He provides. It makes Him jealous in the finest, most loving way.
Copan writes: A wife who doesn’t get jealous and angry when another woman is flirting with her husband isn’t really committed to the marriage relationship. Outrage, pain, anguish – these are the appropriate responses to such deep violation. God isn’t some abstract entity or impersonal principle…We should be amazed that the Creator of the universe would so deeply connect Himself to human beings that he would open Himself to sorrow and anguish in the face of human rejection and betrayal.
In Scripture, the words jealous and zealous are basicially interchangeable – it’s the same Hebrew word. We equate zealous with intense enthusiasm – and that is why God is so possessive of us – He is filled with a consuming fire of love for us.
You may have experienced love – the way your passion was like a fire for the one you loved and how your thoughts – waking and sleeping – were consumed with those feelings. That is only a faint shadow of the way love controls the heart of God – love for YOU. So when we talk of God’s jealousy, it is more of a stars of the universe all bound together.
Your God is jealous – He wants your love and wholehearted commitment so much that He acted on His love for us by fighting for us each step of the way and refuses to let go.
PRAYER: I am grateful that you are jealous for me. I pray that you will make me as zealous for the closest possible relationship even as you want that with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.