The Jealousy of God, God Desires our Complete Devotion Pt. 2.
“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God am a jealous God.”
The ten commandments have long been cherished for their brevity and the scope of their coverage. In these few statements, God establishes the moral, ethical and religious foundation for a society to flourish and success. In Deut. 5, God again graciously offers the people of Israel the opportunity to entering a binding relationship with them. If they are willing to do so, then he will be their God and he will bless them and protect them, giving them the promise land as their inheritance. However, as their king, God sets forth in the 10 commands what he requires of them. These ten commands provide the bedrock of living in his kingdom and encompass their relationship with him as well as how they are to relate to one another. Christ would later sum up these commands (and all the moral, ethical and religious commands of the Bible) with two succinct statements: We are to love the Lord our God and we are love our neighbor as ourselves.
At the center of these commands is the fidelity that they are to demonstrate to him as their king. Just as a citizen cannot pledge allegiance to two different kings, so God requires that we give him our complete devotion. To have other gods, to form idols, or to worship another would be a violation of their loyalty to him. Consequently, he reminds them that he is a jealous God. We often view the term “jealousy” negatively, to refer to an overbearing and possessive spouse who treats their love as a possession to control rather than a partner to love. However, the word jealousy can also have a positive meaning as well. When used positively it refers to the intense desire to protect a relationship from any intrusion that might lead to a fracture in the relationship. It is this type of jealousy manifested in the deep love a married couple has for one another. In Song of Solomon, the wife request that her husband place her as a seal over his heart and that he loves her with a jealous love (8:5-6). In this request, she is asking that her husband be solely committed to her and that he protects their relationship with a protective zeal (vs 7). When we speak of God’s “jealousy” it refers to the commitment that God has for his people that results in our salvation and blessing.
God desires an exclusive relationship that has no rivals, one grounded in complete loyalty and devotion. God expects us to love him in return. But this love is more than an emotional response, it is a structured relationship where demonstrate our loyalty through our obedience. When adversity strikes in our life, it serves to strip away what is unimportant and a distraction. It reminds us that people and relationships are far more important that accomplishments and possessions. The same is true of our relationship with God. When all is said and done, at the end of life, there is only one thing that truly matters: Have we maintained our fidelity to God? It is easy in life to allow many different “idols” to intrude in our relationship with God: work, hobbies, the pursuit of success, the pursuit of wealth, pleasure, the philosophy of the world, and list could go on. When we are facing trials it provides us an opportunity to assess life and assess priorities and to ask ourselves, “Is God first in my life?”