So what is it saying when the word says that we worship a jealous God? It can be difficult to discern without first undressing our minds from all the clutter that blocks our view. We see through a veil when we use a human standard to assess what the bible says about the Lord, and it skews the perception. It is also difficult to lay aside these perceptions when we open the book. In a poem I once wrote there was a line about 'perusing the tomes of war' which referred to the tendency to read through scripture to find some ammunition against someone else and their thinking. This is what happens when the veil remains as I read. Of course the right way to come to the word is with the mind of allowing it to change how I think. A frightening concept to a human being, to hand your mind over to someone else and allow them to tinker with your treasures. These treasures often are shown for the trash they really are when we do this and that is perhaps the greatest reason for our most passionate defenses.
I found myself in this quandary recently, fumbling through the truth. It was not until I was in bed and trying to turn my brain off that the Lord finally found some purchase on the rocky soil of my mind to speak from. I guess it pays to be quiet. What the Lord started showing me was how I had a problem with the concept of God being jealous. Now this was the kind of thing where I just set it in the back of my thinking and basically ignore it because it doesn't quite fit what is in the foreground. Thankfully though He is committed to us learning and won't allow these treasure to sit there unused.
The problem I had with the idea of God being jealous is the ugliness of this emotion as it is expressed in humanity. It just didn't seem to fit on this awesome, loving God. What I had not considered was that this emotion would be untainted within the heart of God. To show me this He took me to the garden where He had just created Adam. Now to express jealousy in the human sense God's next action would be almost perverse. If He were jealous in the sense we use it He would not have allowed any other to invade this relationship. Yet, when God looked upon this man he said it would not be good for him to be alone. What!!! How does jealousy fit here?? It seems that our idea of jealousy resides within our own desires, whereas God's jealousy resides in the desires of others. His interest is in the right function of that which He has created. Even when He says in the word that He is a jealous God it is not saying that He is some egotistical lover who cannot handle some competition. It has more to do with the joy of the created than the need of the Creator. He is jealous for our good. Look at the harshness with which Christ attacked the hell-spawned ideologies of the people He came in contact with. If I begin to think that this was aimed at the hearers alone I would begin to sow seeds of judgment in my own thinking. I would begin to see pharisees wherever I look. The truth is that this jealous God was as passionate about seeing the pharisees free and living in the joy of the Spirit as He was about seeing the disciples free from their small 'g' God thinking. I have often made the error of taking sides in the pitched battles within the body, leaning towards defending those whom I suppose to be the oppressed against those I suppose to be their oppressors. Of course the oppressors are always flesh and blood. Oops! I forgot about that thing about us warring against principalities and powers, and not each other. Maybe this is what the human idea of jealousy has spawned within my own heart. A place where division can find a foothold and worse yet a stronghold.
So now I am left with this idea of a jealous God creating another love for His creation. Hmmmm, I wonder where this will lead??