On Sunday, we heard it mentioned that God is jealous for our hearts. We wanted to take a moment to unpack that idea in our devotional this week.
Jealousy is not a revered characteristic. I am not sure that is ever has been. It has the undertones of envy (wanting something that belongs to someone else), which is actually a sin. We get the picture of a person who is angry and controlling.
So, how is the truth that God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) a positive thing? We talk about it as though it is a reminder of God's great love for us, but it can sound possessive, even oppressive. How can we understand this?
We have to be aware of Who we are talking about. God is not like us. (1 Samuel 2:2) There is no sin, nothing but "goodness" in Him. God has standards for us, but He has no standard outside Himself; He is the standard. For example, we are encouraged to be humble. God has no need to be humble - He is God!
Also, associating God's jealousy with envy doesn't work either. Remember that envy is the desire for something that does not belong to you. However, we do, legitimately, belong to God. Not only is He our maker and creator, but when we ran away and sold ourselves, He purchased us back at the highest price. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Think of the patient love of Hosea, the prophet who married (and loved) an adulterous woman. He loves her despite her gallivanting and gives her gifts she will attribute to her lovers, all as a living picture of how we treat our Great Love.
God is jealous because of His incredible love for us. He bankrupted heaven to buy back His greatest love in order to have a relationship with us. Yes, He is jealous for our time and our affection. His greatest desire is not that we serve Him, but that we would love and adore Him. If anyone on earth were to invest this much care and resource to show their affection to us, we would blush with humility and be won over by such steadfastness.
Will we give ourselves fully to returning such affection today? This will lead to blessing, fulfillment, peace, and joy. It is the very thing we were designed for.
PS - Did you hear about our Zoning Application? Get all the details here. If you have any questions, we're hosting a Q&A on Sunday night after Deep Roots (7:30pm).
Our outbound message is called Gifted:
"I will be preaching on the spiritual gifts in preparation for 5th Sunday (which will be so much fun). Let's explore together what it means to be gifted and what potential it holds. See you then." - Bjorn