I am honored to have one of my favorite bloggers guest post today. She has a love for God's Word and a gift at sharing it. I hope you visit her and am sure you will be as encouraged as I am by her words.
I love studying and pondering the names of God. Recently as I read through the Pentateuch this verse jumped off the page at me.
...for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14 (ESV)
His name is Jealous. "Jealous" is certainly not one of the names I decorate my home with or print on a bookmark. And it doesn't just show up in Exodus!
We serve a jealous God! What does this mean?
According to Baker's Evangelical Dictionary:
Jealousy is used in the Scriptures in both a positive and a negative sense. When jealousy is used as an attribute of God, it is obviously used in a positive sense. Probably the most striking example of the anthropomorphic portrayal of God is in those passages where he is said to be jealous. The language is based upon the relationship of husband and wife and is frequently associated with Israel's unfaithfulness to God.
Jealousy is inappropriate when mixed with covetousness and fixed on something that does not rightfully belong to me. If I am jealous of the material possessions, ministry influence, popularity, appearance, etc. that belongs to someone else, I am in sin.
However, jealousy is appropriate in regard to something that I do have exclusive claim to. If I see another woman trying to win my husband's attention and affection that belongs only to me within our covenant of marriage, I will be jealous - and rightfully so. To not be jealous would reveal serious problems in our relationship!
God was jealous for the Israelites' worship - He is the one true God who had redeemed them from slavery and made covenants with them; they were His people. They were not their own, they had been bought with a price.
We Americans love to feel autonomous. We want to choose our own truth, our own reality, custom-mix our own way of following God. But, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I am not my own - I have been bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) He is jealous for my worship, my time, my affections. I am not doing Him a favor by spending 5 minutes in a devotional and living the rest of my day however I want. I owe Him my all.
Are you worshiping and serving God alone - or have idols crept into your life? Success, personal comfort, financial security, public recognition, even ministry or our families can steal away our worship. Who or what are you sacrificing your time, affections, attention, money to? Are you functionally polytheistic? He is jealous for you today. His name is Jealous - God and God alone is worthy to be loved with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Kristi Stephens blogs at KristiStephens.com, walking with women into the riches of God’s Word, helping them develop a bigger view of our awesome God. She is a wife of nine years, homemaker, and mom to 5 year old daughter AG, 3 year old son LB, and six month old baby brother BW. You can join her this summer on a fast paced tour of the "big story" of Scripture - One Summer, One Story, One Great God!