E100: 047 | Jealous God

"Who would be an Old Testament prophet? In Jeremiah chapter 1 to chapter 3 verse 5 we read about Jeremiah who had the difficult task of telling his people that God was about to unleash a terrible punishment for their idolatry. He uses a very graphic image - a bride who becomes a prostitute. But God’s love is great and he is willing to forgive and “re-marry” his wayward people." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read Jeremiah 1:1–3:5 | (ESV)

As we discovered earlier after the Israelites escape from Egypt God made a covenant with his people. In part he told them
"Do not put any other gods in place of me. "Do not make statues of gods that look like anything in the sky or on the earth or in the waters. Do not bow down to them or worship them. I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God. (Exodus 20:3-4, New International Reader's Version)
God refers to himself as a jealous God. At first I found the choice of this word difficult to understand. I view the word jealous as a negative word not fitting for our Creator. Overtime I have come to more fully understand this word in the proper context of the whole story of God presented in the Bible. I now find the word jealous used here as a beautiful expression of God's deep and passionate love for his people.

We read God's message to his people through Jeremiah.
A message came to me from the Lord. He said, "Go. Announce my message to the people in Jerusalem. I want everyone to hear it. Tell them, "'I remember how faithful you were to me when you were young. You loved me as if you were my bride.

..."What did your people find wrong with me? Why did they wander so far away from me? They worshiped worthless statues of gods.

...People of Israel, you have lived like a prostitute. You have loved many other gods. So do you think you can return to me now?" (New International Reader's Version)
God is using the context of a marriage to communicate clearly what has taken place. God's people, the Israelites, (his bride) have worshiped (loved) many other gods. They have broken the bonds of the covenant they made with God just as a spouse who has cheated and loved another breaks the bonds of marriage. Not just another, but many others. Jealously in the context of a marriage where a spouse has the sole right to the others love is not negative but part of the commitment of love between two people. I don't know if I am making any sense here. God will not share his love with any other god just as a husband or wife would not share their love with another.

God doesn't end his relationship with his people here forever. Later through Isaiah he tells his people of a coming day when...
"People will not call you Deserted anymore. They will no longer name your land Empty. Instead, you will be called The One the Lord Delights In. Your land will be named The Married One. I will take delight in you. And your land will be like a bride. As a young man gets married to a young woman, your people will marry you. As a groom is happy with his bride, I will be full of joy over you." (Isaiah 62:4-5, New International Reader's Version)
I love the opening lyrics of a song titled "How He Loves" written by John Mark McMillan.
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all
I am working through the E100 Bible Reading Challenge again. You can learn more about my journey and read the other posts completed so far at this link. I encourage you to stop back soon to read another passage.

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