Running Away From Home
Read Exodus Chapter 34
Ex 34:10 Then the LORD said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. 14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
In this passage, God not only announced that He is a jealous God, He also said that His name was Jealous. What do you think about when you ponder the idea that our God is a jealous God? Do you see a suspicious husband throwing a fit because he believes his wife is having an affair? Do you see a wife who has hired a detective agency to follow her husband to the gym, to find out if he is really going where he said? Our idea of the emotion of jealousy is not likely agree with how God thinks of jealousy.
The Lord made a covenant with Israel; to elevate them to a status above that of any other nation. He promised to provide for them, do wonders for them, and to protect them from anyone who would harm them. As a part of that covenant, the Israelites were asked to worship Him and Him alone, rejecting the gods of all the other nations. If the Lord was going to provide for all their needs, give them the love and attention that only a loving, caring Father could provide, it would be assumed that the benefactors of that love would cling to Him with every fiber of their being.
That certainly turned out not to be the case. Despite all that the Lord did for them, time and time again they chased after other gods. Let’s look at the idea of God’s jealousy in terms which we might more easily understand.
Suppose that you had a son. You raised that son, provided his every need; loved on him with all the attention and affirmation that was humanly possible. At about the age of 16, your son began to notice the father next door in your neighborhood. After school, your son would come home, collect his allowance, then run over to your neighbor’s house and spend the rest of the day fellowshipping with that dad. Your son would return at supper time and bed time, and occasionally come home to borrow your car or let you know that he needed money for tomorrow’s school trip. But after every trip home to get his needs met, he would return to the neighbor’s house. How would you feel? Not so good, huh.
Don’t we do that? We expect our Savior to provide all of our earthly needs. We run to him at the first sign of trouble, asking Him for His protection, provision, the solution to all our troubles, etc. But once we get what we need, we go out and spend our quality time with the ‘neighbor.’ We have these SSA attractions that call us away from the Father and we rush away from Him to satisfy that ‘need.’ Just as our pretend son did, what we are receiving is not really a need, it is a want. We may believe it to be a need, but it’s really not. The pretend son we invented for the purposes of making a point received all his needs from his father; we receive all our needs from our Father.
Our Lord is indeed a jealous God. His love for us goes beyond anything which our minds can comprehend. We make Him very sad when we run to our sins for our ‘sustenance.’ Why wouldn’t He be jealous? He loves us so much that He wants to spend time with us. There is nothing we bring to the table which would make us special. He simply wants our fellowship; that’s all He gets out of the deal. That is amazing! Is His jealousy unwarranted? Is He unfair to ask us to remain true to Him? Of course not!
What would we do about our imaginary son? Maybe we would slowly begin taking away the benefits of ‘home.’ Maybe we would begin some disciplinary regimen so that our son might eventually recognize how much he is loved and wanted. I don’t really know what we would do. But our Father does discipline us when we refuse to fellowship with Him, when we choose to divide our time between Him and our sin, and especially when we begin to spend most or all of our time with that other ‘father.’ Personally, I believe we should be extremely happy that He is jealous of us. He won’t allow us to live our lives apart from Him. That’s a really, really, amazing and good thing.
Prayer: Your conviction is so powerful! Of course, I have run to the neighborhood father, more times than I can count. Lord, help me and all SSA men and women to gain a stark picture of our unfaithfulness, and give us the resolve and power to stay at home. You and only You deserve our time, energy, and love. God help us! And thank You that we have all our needs. We really do!