“For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
The first thing that I notice about this verse, Exodus 34:14, is that it does not say that God is simply a jealous God, but His very name is Jealous. Your name is more than just an attribute, it defines you; it’s a part of the very fibers that make up your being. Your name is what identifies you, and you identify with it. So when the Word says that God’s name is Jealous, it means that His burning, jealous love is more than just one of His character traits, but it is a part of His very being. God is love (1 John 4:8).
Jealousy has a very negative connotation that comes with it, as it should, but the type of jealousy that God’s love exhibits is not a human jealousy. Human jealousy is covetous, envious, and greedy. Unlike human jealousy, God is not jealous of us, but He is jealous for us. Human jealousy wants what someone else has, but God’s jealousy desires that which is already rightfully His. For example, if your spouse started spending time with another person and giving that person more of their time and affection than they were giving to you, you would begin to burn jealously for your spouse’s affection. Why? Because they are your spouse, they made a commitment to you, and, in a way, they belong to you and you belong to them because of the covenant that you have made together. The time and affection that they are giving to that other person is rightfully supposed to be given to you. You would be jealous for your spouse. Now, because we are human, we would naturally start to become jealous of the person our spouse was spending time with because they would have something we don’t have, something that we want. It is different with God. God never becomes jealous of the thing that is stealing our affection from Him, He is purely and passionately jealous simply for us, because we are His creations.
As Creator, God has the full right to rule in the lives of His creations. We rightfully belong to Him. This is true simply because we are His creations, but also because we have been redeemed and bought with a price, and how great a price it was. The blood that Christ poured out for us bought us back from the slavery of sin into which we had sold ourselves.
It just stuns and even kind of complexes me that, though God needs absolutely nothing from us and we have nothing of any value to give Him, He desires us. This wretched, wavering, disloyal soul He looks at and says, “You are valuable to me.” We have nothing to give to God. I have heard people say before, “Your talents are God’s gift to you, what you do with them is your gift back to Him.” Now, I think there is a small amount of truth to that, but we act as if our talents are some kind of reward for God, as if He needs what we have to offer. This is the God of the universe we are talking about, the one who has mighty angels constantly crying out to Him saying “Holy! Holy! Holy!” Anything that we might offer Him is already rightfully His.
Look at it like a parent with their newborn child. That child has absolutely no capacity whatsoever to offer any valuable service to its parents. In actuality, it requires service from its parents. It can do nothing in and of itself. It needs to be fed, loved, cared for and protected. Though this child has no ability to offer anything of value to its parents, its parents love it anyway, simply because it is their child.
This is why this love is so incomprehensible to me. He loves us though we have nothing to give Him in return… that is love in its purest form. It is so far beyond even the parental love that we’ve just discussed. It surpasses our understanding. He loves us with a burning, passionate, pursuing love simply because He wants to. And how great a love it is!
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