How Well Do You Know God? (Part 5)
By Tommy Thornhill
In the last issue I pointed that God is a jealous God and this is the reason He forbade man from making carved images or likenesses of anything He had created, whether in the heaven above, the earth beneath or the waters under the earth; if they were going to use them as religious objects to bow down before and worship them.
One may see the handiwork and glory of God in that which He has created Ps.19:1-4; Rom.1:19-20, and conclude He exists. But, no one can make anything that portrays the invisible, true, God, for “God is Spirit” Jn.4:24, not flesh and blood, as we are. Anything made by man to picture the God, who is Spirit, only serves to dishonor Him, for such things obscure His glory and mislead people into thinking the LORD God can be described in human form, “for we ought to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising” Acts 17:29. God never intended for human beings to see Him with the naked eye, nor in things shaped or drawn by man. He allows mankind to see Him through His revealed word, and through His Son, Jesus Christ, who became flesh so we could behold His Father’s glory Jn.1:14. When Phillip asked Jesus to show him and the other disciples His Father, Jesus replied, “he who has seen Me, has seen the Father” Jn.14:8-9. Heb.1:3 tells us Jesus is “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.”
Some might be bothered by the idea of God being a jealous God. In fact, some are even offended at the very thought of God being controlled by a green-eyed monster that is so destructive to human relationships. This would certainly be a problem, if the jealousy of God is like man thinks it is. So, how can jealousy be a virtue with God, when men see it as a harmful and destructive vice? One reason is that when discussing this attribute of God, we need to make sure we see things from His end of the stick. God may use human terms in communication, but we must remember, He is infinite in nature and attributes, so He doesn’t have the limitations of communication skills that we humans have. It is our finite understanding that causes the problem. Neither is God’s revelation of Himself influenced by sin’s corrupting influence that effects the thinking of men. God’s jealousy is not a result of a preconceived feeling of frustration, envy and spite over what men have done, or will do, Since God has no sin, His jealousy is His holiness reacting to evil in a way that is morally right and glorious. He has predetermined that He will protect and preserve His holiness, and He will not allow sinful men to defile Him, His name (His nature and character), or anything He has declared to be holy. “I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another; nor My name to graven images.” ”For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another”.Isa.42:8; 48:11
In discussing and understanding God’s jealousy we also need to be aware that there are two kinds of jealousy, of which only one is evil and sinful. Generally, the evil, harmful jealousy is the one with which people are most familiar. People resent what others have, and they hate the other person because that person has something they covet for themselves. It may even lead one to act with anger and/or violence against another.
But, there is a jealousy that is good. A man is jealous for his wife and his family. He is jealous for them, and does not want anyone to interfere with this relationship. Since he loves his family, he desires to keep it intact. He will zealously (jealousy) guard his family and do anything within his power to protect it from being hurt or destroyed by anyone. People commend this type of jealousy, and think of it as a virtue, not a vice.
This latter type of jealousy best describes the jealousy of God. Think of it like this. The church Jesus built and paid for with His blood Matt.16:18; Acts 20:28 is described by various terms. It is referred to as the body of Christ Col.1:18, the kingdom of God Col.1:12-14, the household of God 1.Tim.3:15, and the bride of Christ Eph.5:23-29. Concerning the last figure, that of a bride, note what Paul writes about the church at Corinth. He writes, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” 2.Cor.11:2. Yes, the Lord’s church is His bride, and He will zealously guard it against harm. .
So, when we come to realize the jealousy of God as something good we can understand more of what this means. As a jealous God (or husband, bridegroom) He demands from His bride (His people) full and absolute loyalty. He is grievously offended, and burns with hot jealousy when He sees those in His family acting in an unbecoming manner and defiling the purity of His relationship with them. He will take action against those who would betray His love by unfaithfulness.
God has a sovereign purpose for His deep love for mankind and His jealousy in protecting His righteousness and holiness. He wants those whom He has ransomed and redeemed from a world of sin to show their gratitude by honoring Him, not disgracing Him. He wants His people to love and praise Him, for who He is, and for what He has done for them. He is continually seeking in man, created in His image, that which men should be seeking to do, to glorify Him. He wanted to be known, praised and glorified by us. Let’s do it.
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