A Jealous God – Part 8

jealousy

 

Our final post on jealousy, and I want to thank you for tagging along with me on this series.

Little did I think after taking the challenge of my Sunday School teacher on studying jealousy, that I would find some of the teaching I have – It has been challenging, and rewarding at the same, and I want to thank the Lord for His jealousy for my soul.  His jealousy has sought me out and seeks my good.  His jealousy is not like mine, in that His jealousy is patient, full of mercy and seeks my good along with His honor.

Thank you

So, let us proceed with 1 Peter.

1 Peter 2:1

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

I find it interesting that Peter links slander with envy in this verse.

The work of envy will result in malicious gossip and slander of another’s character.  The character of believers and non-believers. 

And yet we are to walk in truth. 

We are to live without deceit, so (follow my logic here…) if someone has a character flaw, is it not proper, nay, even required to inform others of this flaw?

Tsk tsk tsk – you have fallen into the trap I am slowly climbing out of.  Hear Peter calling out to us.

1 Peter 4:8

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

If my brother has a character flaw, I can freely go to him and lovingly seek to help him in his weakness, realizing my own weakness and frailty.  I am not to be his judge, passing judgement (real or perceived) upon him in front of others, by spreading slander.  I am to be his brother.

By the way, the Master walked in truth, coupled with grace.  Don’t let truth become your only foundation!

John 1:14, 17

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of graceandtruth.

For the law was given through Moses; graceandtruth came through Jesus Christ.

One more verse that speaks of jealously in the New Testament.  I knew this verse was coming up in my study, and it has arrived.  Let’s consider.

James 4:5

Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

OK – here is the one New Testament verse that links jealousy with God directly. 
 
But I still am not sure of the exact meaning.  I found a commentator that seemed to capture my confusion.
 
David Guzik tries to explain…
 

Is it God jealously yearning for the devotion of our spirit which He put within us, or is it the Spirit within us jealously yearning for the full devotion of our heart

No matter, the jealousy of God is expressed in the New Testament in this verse and calls for each of us to draw closer to Him on a continual basis.

But let me ask you something.  Upon the time you decide to draw near to God, seeking to worship Him in truth and in spirit, competition for your affection from various sources becomes stronger. 

Do you not find that to be true my brother and sister?  This is the battle, and for one, I am finding that my battles are becoming increasingly distractive. 

Constant thoughts of prayer in a few minutes instead on asking for His help at the time.  Too many items to mention at this time, and my intent is not to discourage. I have one challenge for my reader – Right now, before you end reading this post, seek to draw near to God. 

Put away those things that are distractions – this blog being one of your distractions – and draw near to the Living God.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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A Jealous God – Part 7

jealousy

Jealousy in the New Testament reveals our weakness and insecurity in many passages.  Let’s continue to consider passages that address this emotion.

Philippians 1:15

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.

Paul again brings up the issue of envy within the church, and this time he hits preachers /  leadership.  (By the way, what does envy in a believer tell you about his maturity?)
 
These preachers were preaching, and Paul was defining two types of preachers.  One that preached out of envy.  One that preached out of good will.  Two types.
 
Which group might you fall into.  Want one more notch on your gun handle?  One more decision?  One more one more one more….
 

1 Timothy 6:4

he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,

Boy does this verse bug me.  Most of my Christian experience I have lived in the middle of this verse, seeking a controversy here or a quarrel over there.  Anything to satisfy my need to feel superior over my brother or sister in the Lord. 
 

Let me tell you that the envy, dissension slander and evil suspicions that took hold in my life ate me up.  

Avoid at all costs the temptation to separate yourself from your brother over some insignificant finding or doctrine.  No one cares what I think about the location of the New Jerusalem, or where the Ark of the Covenant is, when all they see is dissension, disunity and continual bickering.   

Titus 3:3

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Funny how Paul mentions that we passed our days in malice and envy, and yet looking back over my life, even after my conversion (to my shame!) I have spent far too much time comparing myself with others, nursing thoughts of malice, and wishing I had a better situation. 
 
Golly Carl – you need to grow up!
 
 

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A Jealous God – Part 6

jealousy
 

In our previous post on Jealousy, we looked at the last Hebrew words associated with jealously that described God and some of it’s implications for the believer.

With this post, I would like to consider the New Testament teaching on jealousy and if this characteristic is continued to be associated with God.

 

NEW TESTAMENT JEALOUSY

As we considered in our previous post, jealousy is associated with men and with God.  This first portion of our post will deal with jealousy on the horizontal, that is between created beings.

Common Jealousy

The following two verses describe the same jealousy / envy of the priests of Israel had concerning Jesus. 

Matthew 27:18
For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.

Mark 15:10
For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.

The priests were driven with jealousy and envy over the popularity of the Messiah with the masses.  Of course, popularity is an addictive drug, and jealousy is it’s pit of danger to fall into.  

Brothers and sisters, find no satisfaction in loving popularity.  This is a huge challenge for myself, since I seek approval from many in my life.  This is not to be sought after.

Romans 1:29
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,

Paul brings envy into the picture as he describes the debauched life of the lost sinner.  (Careful Carl, let’s not get too judgmental here.  Some fingers may start turning back on me!!!)

1 Corinthians 3:3
 
for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
 
Envy
As believers, when we exhibit jealousy, which as believers we sometimes do, we are described as children, immature believers. 
 
I love it that Paul clears the air and states that jealousy typifies believers that are acting human.
 
Just human.   That should be an indictment to me.  The Christian life is not a life that includes jealousy and strife.  
 

Galations 5:26

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Paul tells us not to envy in Galations.  Should be simple enough, eh?  Envy is a work that erupts out of competition, and whether it be the competition for love, or status or wealth or whatever, if it is found in your church, you may want to consider the wisdom of being involved in it.
 
sunday-school-high-attendance-promotionsOne church I was involved in often had contests for the highest Sunday School membership or attendance for the quarter. 
 
I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but looking back, I’m thinking it has some serious drawbacks.
  • The competition sets teachers against each other
  • The competition considers numbers more important than the students
    • If a student would benefit from Bobby’s class, but I needed one more student to win the booby prize, welllll….
  • The competition allowed for an “ends justifies the means” method of attracting students
  • The competition created a spirit of dissatisfaction in all the teachers who were not “winning”.
 
Paul was right. 
 
Let us love one another.  
 
 

 


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A Jealous God – Part 5

jealousyGod and Phinehas – Joint Jealousy 

 
One more instance of the concept of jealousy before we leave the Old Testament.  I bring this passage up since it refers to man’s jealousy in the same breath as God’s jealousy.

Granted, when the Old Testament describes Phineas’ jealousy, it uses  the Hebrew word H7065, and this is the term I considered common jealousy.  (In the verse below, it is translated as “zealous”)
 
When the author decided to describe God’s jealousy, he uses H7068, which is based on H7065.  The author seems to describe both God’s jealousy and man’s jealousy as the same basic emotion.
 

Numbers 25:11

Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.

Phinehas takes action in this passage. 
 
The background is the intermarriage of the Israelites with the daughters of Moab, and the subsequent idolatry that inevitably follows this sin.  Moses, upon direction from the Lord, pronounces the death penalty upon all the Israeli men that had committed idolatry. 
 
Sometime after this decree of judgement, along came an Israeli who thought he was above the law, flouting his Midianitish wife/woman. 
 
PhineasFlouting his sin in front of the entire congregation!  Phineas couldn’t handle it! His jealousy for the honor of the Lord took hold, he grabbed a spear, hunted down the Israeli man, found the culprit and killed both him and his woman.
 
Upon this action of jealousy, the plague that was raging through the congregation of Israel was stopped, and the death toll was limited to 24,000.  
 
Twenty four thousand Israeli succumbed to the judgement of God, the jealousy of God that the Israeli nation had been warned about, and now experienced in historic proportions.
 
Phineas was given a covenant of peace.  
 
Can you think of any time in the Word that an action of violence, such as described above, resulted in peace?
 
Tick tock tick tock ….

 


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A Jealous God – Part 4

jealousy

Let’s consider the jealousy of God one more time, and this time I promise, it will become obvious, if it isn’t already, what emotion is linked to jealousy. 

So, let us move onto to the book of Nahum.  Nahum has one of my favorite Old Testament verses in it. 

(This one, I confess, is not it!)

Nahum 1:2
 
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
the LORD is avenging and wrathful;
the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.
Anger

Nahum brings the wrath component into the mix.  The wrath and the vengeance – He is making a serious point that the reader cannot afford to ignore.  The people of Ninevah were in for judgement from an avenging God.  Nahum links jealousy and avenging together.  This seems natural in my mind.

Rabbit Trail Coming

Let’s think about this.

Nahum identifies those upon whom wrath will fall.  It is God’s adversaries and God’s enemies.  But Carl, Nahum is pronouncing judgement on the nation of Assyria, that judgement being the impending invasion of the Babylonian army.  The Assyrians are the enemies of God and of Israel.

Of course the Ninevites are the enemy, the adversary.  Why would this lone prophet be sent to this non-Israeli nation, this people group that has no knowledge of God’s holiness, expectations, etc.

jonah-and-the-whale-dan-phyillaierLet’s remember that about 150 years earlier, a prophet by the name of Jonah wandered into the city of Ninevah, preaching repentance.  The greatest non Israeli revival in history occurred due to Jonah’s preaching.  God reached out to the nation of Assyria, in the midst of their idolatry and revealed Himself, with the entire city of Ninevah repenting.  

Now, about 150 years later, Nahum is calling down judgement on the people of Ninevah.  Because He is a jealous God.  The Ninevites were going after other god’s after they had begun worshiping the true God!

You may remember in previous posts that I have sought to define the remnant within the nation of Israel, those who had faith in the living God among the general populace of Israel.  (See Daniel 9:24-27 – 8).  Nahum is warning the general populace of the nation of Assyria, but an interesting (disturbing) truth erupts in my mind, and I’m sure in yours.

 
battle of Ninevah
In the city of Ninevah, there may have been those that were truly God’s, and were going to experience the wrath also.  If the wrath is the invasion of Babylon, (which the nation of Israel would experience soon enough) then the entire nation would come under the judgement of God, both the remnant (if any left in Ninevah – I’m thinking there was) and the adversaries/enemies mentioned in Nahum 1:2.
 
This concept bothered me for many years, sometimes thinking that it wasn’t fair.  (Carl – let’s get over this thing about life being fair!  That is poppycock!)
 
With God’s people being in the midst of judgement on a nation, it just bugged me, that is until I came across another Old Testament verse that gave some relative comfort.
 
Habakkuk 3:2
 
O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.

 

 


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A Jealous God – Part 3

jealousy
 

Last we discussed the jealousy of God, we considered the first two Hebrew words in the Old Testament that are translated jealousy.  

We understood jealousy to be in the nature of God and in the nature of man, and yet there is a difference.  Jealousy is a characteristic of God that is a part of His image, and as such, when man was created, became a part of man’s being.

Of course sin twisted the entire image of God in man, including jealousy.

As I mentioned above, we looked at the first two Hebrew words translated jealousy in the Old Testament, and with this post, will proceed with one additional Hebrew word. 

This word includes a corollary emotion that needs to be considered in it’s relationship with jealousy.  (Can you guess what that emotion this is?)

Gods Jealousy קַנּוֹא

One additional word is used when referring to God’s jealousy.

The Hebrew word H7072, קַנּוֹא (qannow’), jealous or angry:—jealous, which occurs 2 times in 2 verses

Joshua 24:19

But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.

I have never really understood what Joshua is trying to say here.  It turns out that Joshua’s statement is true, but it seems so anti-motivating to bring it out to the people of God.  I can’t see it as a prophecy of the future of the nation, because he says “they can’t” so it isn’t associated with destiny or free will, as far as I can tell.

Also, the admonition to serve in verses 14 – 15, which includes Joshua’s commitment to serve, adds tension to the passage.

Joshua 24:14 – 15

“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua’s first verb in verse 19 is a clue I think.  They are not able.  They have no strength?  Maybe. 
 
Let’s continue with the verse. God is described in two ways.  He is holy.  He is jealous.  They are not able to serve the Lord because He is Holy.  He is a jealous God.
 

I think the issue is the differences of nature in man and God.  With Israel’s decisions of the past 40 yrs in Joshua’s rear view mirror, he is calling them to repentance.  He is telling them they are not able to serve Him in the manner they live.  He is a jealous God and will not accept their current manner of life.

Could it be similar to the Master’s statement in Matthew 6?

Matthew 6:24

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Joshua 24:19 will continue to give me more questions than answers, but the core truth is the challenge to live according to God’s nature, and not our own.

I intended to get to the corollary emotion associated with jealousy, but didn’t quite.  I promise to address it with the next post.

By the way, have you got a thought on what emotion might be linked with jealousy?

Hope to see you next time as we continue Considering the Bible.

 


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A Jealous God – Part 2

jealousy

 

Let’s continue our study on the jealousy of God, looking at one more Hebrew term translated as jealous in the Old Testament.

God’s Jealousy קַנּוֹא

The following words for jealous are used only of God, and the remainder of the post will consider God’s jealousy

The Hebrew word H7067,קַנּוֹא qannôwʼ, kan-no’; jealous or angry:—jealous, which occurs 6 times in the following 5 verses.

Exodus 20:5

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,
Jealous for me

Moses, in the first occurrence of this concept of God’s jealousy, directly links jealousy with worship and service.  This is a recurring theme in the verses we will look at.

Jealousy is also rooted in covenant, since the law is being given in this passage, and this passage is the establishment of the Sinaitic covenant, the covenant that establishes Israel as a Theocratic kingdom on earth.

Consider the marriage covenant.  Two people promise themselves to one another.  One breaks the promise by being unfaithful.  Jealousy rears it’s head.  As humans, we tend to immediately seek selfish revenge.  Can we attribute this selfish revenge to God?

The covenant warns those entering into it the severity of the covenant.  Iniquity will be visited up.  There were no secrets, or hidden clauses that Israel could accuse God of.  And yet, the visitation of God upon the nation of Israel was not swift and severe.  It tended to be forgiving, patient and merciful.

Now Carl you have gone to far!  

Consider the verse we are looking at. Note that God will visit the iniquities of the fathers generations later.  The average Israeli could expect judgment upon his life, or 60 to 80 years after the sin, (if I read this right, given that a generation is 20 years).

Exodus 34:14

(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

A reiteration of the above conditions the nation entered into at Sinai.
 
Deuteronomy 4:24
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Deut-4-24-200x300
This verse should sound very familiar if you read the New Testament.  The author of Hebrews quotes this passage, warning the people of Israel of the coming judgement on their nation.
 
The nation’s rejection of the Messiah certainly roused the jealousy of God.  They not only serve other gods, and worship other gods, but they wholesale murder the God whom they were to worship and serve.
 
And yet note, that the judgment that fell on the nation that killed the Son of God was held off for about 40 years.  Did I mention one of the differences between our selfish jealousy and God’s jealousy is the merciful forgiveness and patience He exhibits.
 
Please be clear that God’s jealousy is not to be discounted, assuming He is different somehow today than He was under the Old Covenant.
 
The author of Hebrews bring this passage into the Christian experience in order to remind us He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Deuteronomy 5:9

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 fourth generation of those who hate me,


As the book title means “Second Telling”, this verse repeats Exodus 20:5

Deuteronomy 6:14-15

You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—

for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

God’s jealousy in this verse is directly associated with anger.  We will find this concept of anger /wrath associated with the second Hebrew word translated jealousy also, which we will look at in our next post.
 
But let us consider this verse for the time being.
 
The Lord their God in their midst is a jealous God.  Does this not imply that the Israelite’s were currently chasing other gods?  As many readers may know, this habit of chasing other gods became a consistent sin for the nation.
 
Due to this sin, the Jealousy of God was kindled and many passages in the Old Testament speak of this anger and wrath. (I may look into the difference on the two terms of anger and wrath in a separate post at a later time.)
 
The nation hobbled along for approximately 500 years before the Babylonian exile took the nation away from the land.  Even then, the Lord watched over His people for 70 years, sending them prophets and leaders to give them direction.  Eventually, the people returned to the land, with God again sending prophets and teachers for close to 600 years eventually culminating in the Messiah.
 
We are talking of approximately 1200 years of the Jewish nation, in varying degrees of idolatry, being patiently dealt with by the Father.  Yet the verse says He will destroy you (the nation of Israel) from off the face of the earth.
 
The Jealousy of God is so different from the human counterpart in many ways. 
Is anger a common thread?  Yes.  Is the competition of ones devotion involved in both?  Yes. 
Is both jealousies patient and concerned about the “traitors” life?  Not so much. 
Human jealousy is selfish and impatient, concerned only with my rights and refuses to consider the responsibilities of the relationship.
 
Father Son HugGod is not so.  When a relationship is broken, the Father heart of God seeks restoration. 
 
When the idolatry/adultery is raging, and the anger is building, the heart of restoration continues to beat in the breast of God.
 
Jesus pronounced woes on the nation of Israel throughout the 23rd chapter of Matthew, speaking of the judgement to fall upon that generation.   Jesus left the mount of Olives that last time, speaking of the broken heart of God, and giving a lament of the stubbornness of the nation to the patient kindness and long suffering of God.

Matthew 23:37

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

God is a jealous God, and His patience and longsuffering in the midst of His anger is beyond understanding. 

But it isn’t beyond some limit.

 


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A Jealous God – Part 1

jealousy

I was in my favorite Sunday School this morning, when the teacher challenged us to find out more about the God we serve.  He suggested attributes such as grace, mercy, and jealousy.

Jealousy?

Jealous muchI told him that would be my topic for study for the following week and I would get back to him about my findings.  Hence this series on the Jealousy of God


During class he did warn us that when studying the attributes of God, a natural reaction is seeing the sin in us.  I fully expect this, and was surprised when, as a young believer experienced this for the first time.  I was hanging out with the brother who led me to the Lord, and was discussing how dirty I felt. He asked me what I had been studying and told me to get used to it.

OLD TESTAMENT JEALOUSY

To start with, I wanna know if the jealousy that God is defined by is the same as that which, by association, is evil in us.  

General Jealousy

The English word jealousy is first found in Genesis 26:14.

Green eyed monster

Genesis 26:14

He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him.


The Hebrew word is H7065, קָנָא qânâʼ, kaw-naw’; to envy, be jealous, be envious, be zealous.

This word occurs 42 times in 29 verses. 

I understand this word to define common or general jealousy, since it seems to be dealing with jealousy and envy between men.

Another good example of this jealousy being displayed is between the sons of Israel (God’s people?).

Genesis 37:11 describes Israel’s sons attitude toward Joseph.

Genesis 37:11

And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.


In this world we tread, suspicion, fear and competition enter into our experience and create a sometimes irrational emotion described as jealousy.   Actual (or feared) loss of the love of a friend, sibling or parent will cause jealousy to rear it’s ugly head.  The results of this jealousy is at most times evil.  From spreading slander to fits of rage, to murder and self destruction, jealousy has some wicked fruits.

To be jealous is to see true love slipping away, to fear the attention of your love to be directed to someone else.  The results or outcome of jealousy can vary wildly.  I believe this will become obvious as we venture on.


As you can see from a cursory glance of the verses following, jealousy is closely associated with worship, the act of love from the saint to the Savior. 

This makes sense since jealousy is closely related to the competition for ones love. 

Hope you can visit with me next time we look at this topic of jealousy.  In the mean time, Love God and His Son.  


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