Monday, August 9, 2010

His Name Is Jealous (Part 1)

What does that title do to you? Does it stir up warm fuzzy feelings, knowing you serve the Holy of Holies that happens to have your back? Does it create anxiety deep down, knowing there are areas of sin in your life that He simply can't be pleased with? I think for me, it is some strange combination of both.

I have been trying to simply behold God over here. (As if trying to behold God Almighty is a simple task!) One way has been through the study of His attributes. Another has been through the study of His various names. I think I may have come across a word that is both His name and an attribute. JEALOUS. I always thought of that word as an adjective...describing His character. But, Exodus 34:14 goes deeper. It says, "For the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."

Have you ever thought of Jealous as being one of His names? In Hebrew, it is "El Qanna." I have come to know Him as Jehovah Jireh, El Roi, and Yahweh, but El Qanna is a new one to me and I think that He is starting to reveal Himself to me in that way.

And that both excites me and terrifies me all at once.

When God says His name is jealous, He is saying that whenever sin threatens the relationship between He and His child, then a zeal arises from deep within His being. Jealousy is having an earnest, anxious concern for the holiness of his people. It isn't an evil thing for Him to be jealous because it is out of purity...He is a consuming fire, eating away everything that doesn't point to glory in our lives.

He isn't jealous over us because He is weak or needs our attention. It is more like John Piper describes..."God is jealous like a powerful and merciful King who takes a peasant girl from a life of shame, forgives her, marries her, and give her not the chores of a slave, but the privileges of a wife--a queen. His jealousy does not rise from fear or weakness but from a holy indignation at having his honor and power and mercy scorned by the faithlessness of a fickle spouse."

We'll talk about things that God is jealous of in the next couple of days.

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