A Jealous God

Deuteronomy 4:23-24
Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Idols.  Megan (my 7-year-old daughter) recently asked me what an idol is.  Remembering back to my theology courses, I told her that it is anything that we value or place ahead of or beside God.  She argued that they were made of wood from what she had been reading in the Bible.  Although this was true, we too often make this same mistake.
Just because we’re not creating idols crafted from wood or stone and bowing down to worship them doesn’t mean that we do not struggle with idolatry.  The idols that we worship today come in many different forms.  They could be in the form of a house, a career, our abilities or appearance, sports, our families, our comfort, our bank accounts; anything that we prioritize above or as much as God.  None of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but if our lives become unbalanced in the value and resources that we exert in these areas, we have become idolaters.  In the Old Testament, whenever people would cry out to God to save them and they worshiped idols, He would simply tell them to cry out to their idols for their salvation (Isaiah 57:13).
This evening, let’s honestly evaluate and consider how we steward our resources such as our time, energy, and money.  Have we fallen into the trap of idolatry?  Are we crying out to God to save us in some are of our lives whenever we know in our hearts that we’ve been depending on something other than Him to save us up until now?
God is a consuming fire and a jealous God.  He will not take second place to anything in our lives and He will not honor us if we are not honoring Him.  He is so worthy of first place in our lives and has promised to meet our every need so long as He remains in that place.  We were created by Jesus and for Jesus (Colossians 1:15).  Nothing else in life will satisfy!  We can pour out our entire lives to any idol and find ourselves empty and our idol failing us.  God, however, satisfies our desires with good things that bring life and blessing (Psalm 102).
God will not relent until we’ve given our all to Him.  Our God, this all consuming fire, this jealous God can best be understood by the relationship of two people courting one another.  Their thoughts, emotions, and entire lives are consumed by one another and they won’t give up until they at last are one.  This is how He feels toward us.  One of Jesus’ last prayers was exactly this; that we would be one even as He and the Father are one (John 17:20-21).
Song of Songs 8:6-7
6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
Tonight, let us allow God to be that all consuming fire, that jealous God whose love can come rushing in with unquenchable and unstoppable fury. Let’s ask God to consume us and to burn away any desires that are not from Him nor honor Him.  Let’s turn to Him alone and allow Him to satisfy our desires with good things and to simply allow God to be God in our lives!