Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Gracious Jealous God

American culture today teaches us that jealousy is an immature and selfish emotion. Man's jealousy is a cruel and consuming thing... an unhealthy attachment... self preservation extending itself outside the mind and into the world.

But, God is jealous also. There are two Strong's references to jealousy in the Hebrew scriptures. Qanna (H7067) a word that is only supposed to reference God's jealousy and Qana (H7065) a word that means 'red faced' and references everyone else's jealousy. The funny thing is that they are both the same word with the same consonants but with slightly vowel markers. The word for God's jealousy has something a little more 'added to it'. Just in case you aren't familiar with Hebrew. The vowel markers were added later by translators. The consonants are what has survived millennia of time.

Jealousy is so ugly that the translators just could not bring themselves to ascribe the same word to God as they do to man. Yet God describes himself as jealousy several times.

"So these nations feared the LORD and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children’s children - as their fathers did, so they do to this day." 2 Kings 17:41 ESV

"I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests, those who bow down on the roofs to the host of the heavens, those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom" Zephaniah 1:4-5 ESV

Our God is the God of all grace. Yet, Things like compromise, double mindedness and casual commitment produce a strong reaction in Him. I like this group of verses. They are placed in the context of sexual immorality in the book of 1 Corinthians.

"But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him... Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:17, 19-20 ESV

Sin is paid for and God has formed a union with each believer that is unbreakable. Still communion is a choice an act of will. A kind of surrender.

Grace removes any game playing with God. It is a full Yes and Amen expressed to us from Heaven. The only correct response is Yes and Amen in return. Grace does not hinder our freedom it provides freedom to live in fullness.

When we are far from God He is jealousy for us and waiting to be gracious again. Jesus' blood has brought us close to God let's linger staying close to Him today. We are prone to wander.

I don't want to think or do things to provoke God's jealousy today. I don't want to be far away so that He longs after me. I want to be close by in communion with Him. I can't do that by my own power it is a response to God's grace that makes that happen.

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