God is a Jealous God

A Bible study from me related to why I see God as jealous of His people (both those of Jewish heritage and those children of Abraham through faith).

 

Then Moses climbed up the mountain, and the cloud covered it. And the glory of the LORD settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from inside the cloud. To the Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the LORD appeared at the summit like a consuming fire. - Exodus 24:15-17 NLT
Then Moses climbed up the mountain, and the cloud covered it. And the glory of the LORD settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from inside the cloud. To the Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the LORD appeared at the summit like a consuming fire. – Exodus 24:15-17 NLT

 

The Setting

Then the LORD told Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. I will write on them the same words that were on the tablets you smashed.
Be ready in the morning to climb up Mount Sinai and present yourself to me on the top of the mountain.
No one else may come with you. In fact, no one is to appear anywhere on the mountain. Do not even let the flocks or herds graze near the mountain.”
So Moses chiseled out two tablets of stone like the first ones. Early in the morning he climbed Mount Sinai as the LORD had commanded him, and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands.
Exodus 34:1-4 NLT

 

God Demonstrates Himself Before Moses

Then the LORD came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh.
The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy!
I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected–even children in the third and fourth generations.

Moses immediately threw himself to the ground and worshiped.
And he said, “O Lord, if it is true that I have found favor with you, then please travel with us. Yes, this is a stubborn and rebellious people, but please forgive our iniquity and our sins. Claim us as your own special possession.”
Exodus 34:5-9 NLT

Moses wasn’t allowed to physically look directly on God but he was treated to a demonstration of the almighty holiness of God.  When God declares His name, His attributes and His actions it isn’t out of hubris, bravado or some need to be worshiped.  God’s nature is the very basis of all life.  He deserves to be worshiped and all His creation is fulfilled when it worships the perfect, holy and righteous Creator.

 

The Only Living God Declares That He Will Perform Unparalleled Miracles

The LORD replied, “Listen, I am making a covenant with you in the presence of all your people.  I will perform miracles that have never been performed anywhere in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people around you will see the power of the LORD–the awesome power I will display for you.  Exodus 34:10 NLT

I have witnessed amazing miracles of the living God.  He transforms lives, setting prisoners free, raising dead dry bones to life for His righteous name’s sake.  He loves us and pours out His grace and mercy for us but in all He does His name is exalted even when we can’t understand it.

 

God Warns Israel, Declaring His Jealous Nature

But listen carefully to everything I command you today. Then I will go ahead of you and drive out the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.

“Be very careful never to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are going. If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped.
Instead, you must break down their pagan altars, smash their sacred pillars, and cut down their Asherah poles.
 You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. 
“You must not make a treaty of any kind with the people living in the land. They lust after their gods, offering sacrifices to them. They will invite you to join them in their sacrificial meals, and you will go with them.
Then you will accept their daughters, who sacrifice to other gods, as wives for your sons. And they will seduce your sons to commit adultery against me by worshiping other gods.

Exodus 34:11-16 NLT

 

God loves people even in spite of our wickedness and iniquity.  His plan, which was revealed immediately upon the fall of humans from perfect fellowship with Him, has been redeeming His creation to Himself even as He upholds His holiness.

His holiness required that a holy, perfect and righteous sacrifice be made in payment for iniquity.  His love caused Him to take this amazing step over thousands of years.  His patience means He still waits, pouring out His mercy, contending with people day and night, presenting Himself in His righteous authority, willing to forgive the sins of anyone.

Today is the day of salvation.  Be reconciled to the glorious Creator and Sustainer of all creation.  Crawl deeply into His love so that you can join the Psalmist as he writes

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8 NLT