March 7, 2015

A Jealous God

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 7, 2015

Guest Writer: Meet my son-in-law Tripp Prince. We are blessed to have him write our Lenten devotionals for seven consecutive Saturdays. Today’s is the 3rd. Thank the Lord for you, Tripp!

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God. Exodus 20:4-5

What does it mean for God to be jealous?

Most often we think of jealousy as a form of envy, where we want something someone else has or simply begrudge them for having it. Yet to be jealous can also be a form of suspicion, what the dictionary more specifically calls a “suspicion of rivals.” This distinction is most helpful and moves us to the very heart of what it means for God to be jealous. Simply put, God is suspicious of all rivals.

God’s jealous suspicion of rivals isn’t rooted in some form of divine insecurity or lack of confidence, where God is afraid that we’ll find someone we love more than Him, leaving Him rejected and alone. No, God’s jealous suspicion is rooted in His unceasing love for us and His desire to see us give ourselves fully to the only thing that will truly satisfy, namely, Himself.

He knows that our hearts are prone to worship lesser gods, to give ourselves to rivals like greed, money, or power, which promise much yet always fail to deliver.

The Bible has another word for these rivals: idols.

In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller defines an idol as “anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.” When defined this way, it is easy for us to see that “idol worship” is not an ancient, irrelevant practice but is in fact as much of a temptation as ever.

Here’s a simple test- when you let your mind wander, where does it go? Do you catch yourself daydreaming about a promotion? About that master’s degree you’ve always wanted? About your next vacation or excursion? About a bigger home?

The list could go on and on, and while these things aren’t necessarily wrong in and of themselves, when they claim our primary attention and become sources of identity or self-worth, then they have likely become idols that take the place of God in our hearts and lives.

God seeks to save us from this worship of lesser gods. He desires that we know the freedom that comes from being known and loved by the King. As we do this, we will come to more fully love and appreciate our jealous God.

Prayer: Father, free us from the love of idols and empower us afresh to love and serve You in everything we do.

Related Readings: Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; Ezekiel 39:25; Zechariah 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 John 5:21

Post/Tweet this today: God knows our hearts are prone to worship lesser gods, which promise much—yet always fail to deliver. #jealousGod #wisdomhunter

Additional Resource: 4 minute music video- Hillsong: Lord of Lords

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  1. rd says:

    So simple. So beautiful. Love God with all your heart. Fill your heart with God and leave no room for those things that will never lead to happiness or like eternal.

  2. Gwynne says:

    Thank you “rd” for your sincere and clear feedback. You state it beautifully: “Fill your heart with God and leave no room for those things that will never lead to happiness or like eternal.”
    We appreciate your comments and look forward to hearing from you again.
    We are thankful that you are a fellow wisdom hunter!

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