Exodus 20:4-6 You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
You shall not make for yourself a carved image…You shall not bow down to them or serve them
I’m guessing that if you’re anything like me you haven’t done much carving since the soap carving you did in 2nd grade. So maybe you feel like this verse is old-fashioned or irrelevant. But the truth is though we don’t carve our idols, but we do put other things ahead of God. Maybe it’s a person or a car that your obsessed with and think about more than God.
For I the Lord your God am a jealous God
We are called to keep our focus on God. He is the one who has created us, provided for us and delights in us. He wants the glory in our lives. So many things can keep us off track. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers, and I’m very focused, but I know in the past I have kind of gotten obsessed when I’m dieting. I’m trying not to make this about that, but to keep God at the center of all that I’m doing.
Isn’t Jealousy Wrong?
1 a :
intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness
b : disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness
2: hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage
3: vigilant in guarding a possession <new colonies were jealous of their new independence — Scott Buchanan>
Intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness
When you look at the definitions of Jealous, it helps us to understand how our perfect and Holy God could be something that we usually think is bad. But not tolerating unfaithfulness is something every husband, wife or friend can understand. If your best friend you’ve had for 20 years sleeps with your husband, you might find yourself intolerant of the unfaithfulness, and no one would think you were wrong for feeling that way. It is understandable, pure and holy to have that emotion of jealousy. I think the second part of the first definition doesn’t apply to God, because He doesn’t have to suspect someone – He knows if you have been unfaithful. As our God, He is in the most intimate relationship with us. He knows everything about us and wants to keep us close to Him, not because He wants to keep us away from others, but because He loves us.
Hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage
Yes God can be hostile toward a rival. God doesn’t like the devil. The devil is constantly looking for a way to get our attention off of our one true love, God. He is jealous too, but not out of piety or care for his relationship with us. His motives are purely evil. He wants nothing less than to pull us into sin, distraction and dismay. God doesn’t stand for that kind of behavior from the devil. He is hostile toward Him, and wants the devil to have no power over the Lord’s beloved, you.
Vigilant in guarding a possession
We belong to the Lord, and the Lord is vigilant in protecting us. We are His people, and He is our God. Isn’t the guarding protection of the Lord something we want? Jealousy like this would be welcomed by me.
Are you jealous?
What difference in your life would it make if you acted towards the Lord the way He acted toward you. Are you as protective of your relationship with Him as He? Do you protect His name? Do you keep His word close to your heart? Do you think of Him first?
Showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments
He loves us, He really loves us. He knows that this side of heaven we’re not going to keep His commandments perfectly (that’s why He sent Jesus to save us). But He loves that we want to keep them, that we want to keep Him at the center of our lives. As we practice keeping our eyes fixed on Him, we’ll find it easier and quicker to come back and remain even more steadfast. It’s a discipline. A discipline of jealousy.
Are you jealous?