Find out How He Loves.
“[F]or you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God...” Exodus 34:14
In university, my best friend and I liked to joke that we were just like the Lord: we were “jealous lovers”. When the celebrities we adored (heaven-forbid) married women that were not us, or if one of us made plans without the other, that jealous love would rear its ugly – and often hilarious – head. It may have been a possessive “love”, but in reality, it was not much like God’s.
In scripture, God’s jealousy unfurls when His people give the worship that belongs to Him to an idol. He is jealous for those things that belong exclusively to Him: praise and worship, service and thanksgiving, our very hearts.
God could demand our love, even compel us to worship and adore Him, but by giving us free will He requests it instead. It is given in a commandment, but we have the freedom to obey or not, to pour out our affections and attention in any direction. Even though He is the only One who deserves it, this gift of free will tells us that God wants us to worship out of desire rather than force. Our love for Him, like His for us, should be a gift that we take joy in giving. As God reveals Himself to us and we begin to see Him clearly, we know that no idol could merit our love and devotion the way He does. His is a holy and righteous jealousy.
Lord, You said that the pure in heart would see You. Help me to be pure of heart, free from jealousy and the sin that gets in the way of how I love and worship You. Thank You for the gift of free will, so that I can give you my heart freely. Thank You for waiting on me when I lose my way, and for always calling me to Yourself. I love You, and I want Your name to be the first and most important name on my lips. Amen.
Our jealousy can come from a place of desire for things that do not belong to us or that we do not deserve. It’s easy to justify or make light of it, but deep in my heart at least, I struggle with that sin and make a habit of comparing myself with others. A good antidote to unhealthy jealousy is to give thanks. Today, make a list of 30 (or more!) things (people, gifts, experiences, or even struggles) that you are thankful for.