Tuesday, August 10, 2010

His Name Is Jealous (Part 2)

"For the LORD whose name is jealous, is a jealous God." Exodus 34:14

Trying to delve into the topic of the jealousy of God is a daunting task. The topic is simply too large and deep to come to a full and all compassing realization. But, that doesn't mean that God doesn't want us to try. It is like telling ourselves that God is "holy," totally unique, and different than our frail frames and therefore, we should make no effort at all to seek and know Him.

If we can just get a glimpse of Him, then maybe God will be pleased to reveal an even bigger portion of Himself. When we choose to behold Him, love for our Savior will shine through the cracks of our brokenness until wholeness and victory fuse those cracks shut.

Let's look at just one way that God is jealous: The Lord is exceedingly jealous of his deity. We, as Christians recognize that Jesus is the One True God, and so for us to hear that we are to worship no other God than the triune God, we exhale with relief. Whew, we have this one down, because we don't carve wooden images nor bow down to them.

But, at second glance, we know that God knows our hearts. He came to take up residence within those hearts and He is quick to know that many of His own children set up idols in their hearts instead of before their kneeling legs. But, really, is there any difference?

Spurgeon says, "To you (those who serve another god) Jehovah is nothing. God is not in all your thoughts; you have no fear of Him before your eyes. Like the men of Israel, you have set up your idols in your heart. Your god is custom, fashion, business, pleasure, ambition, honor. You follow after the things which perish, the things of this world, which are vanity. God can perceive the idols in your hearts; He understandeth what be the secret things that your soul lust after; He searcheth your heart, He trieth your reins: beware lest He find you sacrificing to strange gods, for his anger will smoke against you, and his jealousy will be stirred."

I know this is heavy stuff today and please know that I desire freedom in our lives. It sometimes just takes some conviction to get there.

How many of us are scheming up ways to purchase our dream vehicle or home?
How many of us live for the next meal, wondering what savory food will enter our mouth next?
How many of us peruse the fashion catalogs, wanting to merely exist for vanity's sake?
How many of us dare enter the church's walls with a flippant attitude, simply because going to church is the socially correct thing to do here in the south?
How many of us put our spouse or child on a higher level of worship than our Creator?

Then to us, Jehovah is nothing.

And yet, He should be everything. He resides in our hearts. He redeemed us from the pit. He should have our whole beings, not just what is left after we feed our lusting idolatrous hearts. It is like throwing God a bone after devouring a steak.

Surgeon says that grief can even become a source of idolatry. I tread very lightly and reverently with this topic because I believe that after losing a loved one, a person may always be in some stage of grief. It isn't that God doesn't want us to grieve, but "a grief carried to excess, a grief nurtured until it prevents our attention to duty, a grief which makes us murmur and repine against the will of Providence is sheer rebellion; it hath in it the very spirit of idolatry; it will provoke the Lord to anger, and he will surely chasten yet again, until our spirit becomes resigned to his rod. "Hast thou not forgiven God yet?" was the language of an old Quaker when he saw a widow who for years had worn her weeds, and was inconsolable in her grief. We may weep under bereavements, for Jesus wept; but we must no sorrow so as to provoke the Lord to anger, we must not act as if our friends were more precious to us than our God. We are permitted to take solace in each other, but when we carry love to idolatry, and put the creature into the Creator's place, and rebel, and fret, and bitterly repine, then the Lord hath a rod in his hand, and he will make us feel its weight, for he is a jealous God."

Again, I type those words with utter respect to those in grief. I wouldn't dare write them at all if I didn't understand what grief does to a heart or if I hadn't in some way had grief as an idol in my life. I know how all consuming it can be. And I know what it is like to put the lost loved one on some kind of pedestal.

I know this is heavy stuff today. May our prayer be:

"Let me seek Thee in longing,
let me long for Thee in seeking;
let me find Thee in love,
and love Thee in finding." Anselm

El Qanna, give us grace to see what threatens our relationship with you.

No comments: