Friday, June 25, 2010

Knowing God - Exodus 34:14

(from Pastor)

You shall worship no other god,
because the Lord, whose name is Jealous,
is a jealous God
Exodus 34:14
 
Since "jealous" is generally perceived as a negative term, some translations soften the phrase a bit. Indeed, they try to capture the intent of an uncomfortable phrase. For example, the Good News Translation renders it, "I, the Lord, tolerate no rivals." I like the New Living Translation even better: "For he is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you."
 
"Passionate," I like. "Jealous" seems harsh to me.
 
Notice those phrases: "I like" and "to me." My goal is usually to domestic God like I'd try to domesticate a cat -- i.e. bring God down to my size. God is not a cat. He's the Lion of Judah. And if he says, "I am a jealous God" my challenge -- my gift -- is to believe him.
 
Ultimately I don't want a God that can be brought down to my size. I want a God big enough to spin galaxies and resurrect from the dead. Therefore, I'd better loose myself from the bonds of any false priority -- false god -- that competes with the one who is passionately and compassionately jealous for me. (For me?! Why me? He's awesome, isn't he!)
 
In Christ's Love,
a guy who's been created wonderfully enough
that God is jealous for me
(I'd better go spend some time with him) 
===========================
jealous - intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness, disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness, hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage, vigilant in guarding a possession. From the Latin 'zeal' (eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something)

passionate - easily aroused to anger, filled with anger : angry, capable of, affected by, or expressing intense feeling, enthusiastic, ardent

Pretty intense words.  God doesn't want a rival. He in fact is aroused to anger and intense feeling when there is a suspected rival. That rival can be almost anything ... our time, what we are reading, other people in our lives, money, memories. But God also vigilantly, eagerly, ardently pursues us, guards us as his precious possessions.

I am so thankful for that.  Without his vigilant, ardent, eager pursuit of me and his guarding of my life, I truly do not believe that I would be sitting here in my kitchen typing this.  He is a jealous, passionate God who knows what his plan for us is and he will guard us and guide us to fulfill that plan.  

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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