Have you ever been jealous? Wanting something or someone only to yourself? I know I have. Jealousy is not a sin, in and of itself, for even the LORD’s name is Jealous. And we all know that the LORD cannot sin. (2Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; Ps 145:17)
What then, is the LORD jealous of? or jealous for? He is jealous of glory given to idols and jealous for you and I. He wants us only to Himself and He wants our worship only to Himself.
As worshipers and worship leaders we should have a good understanding of what worship is and who it is for. We speak and write about giving glory only to Him. Do we have the principle of worship clear in our understanding? Surely that is the case….. or do we?
Moses, in Exodus 34 has gone up Mt. Sinai to receive, for the second time, the two tablets of stone upon which are written the 10 commandments. There he has an encounter with the LORD. An encounter that causes him to fall to his knees and plead with the LORD for mercy….
Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, “keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. Then he said, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.” Ex. 34:5-9
Frankly, I was surprised the first time I read verse 9. To think that the LORD would honor that kind of boldness! To ask for a pardon and admit the blatant sin goes beyond man’s reasoning. The children of Israel had only days before worshiped the Golden Calf while Moses was receiving the first set of Tablets. The LORD judged most harshly when Moses found them in revelry.
Now the LORD was talking of mercy and forgiveness and Moses was asking a pardon. Wow! Can you see the mercy of the LORD? His jealousy drove Him to judgment all the while His mercy drove Him to deliver!
Today, we are not very unlike the children of Israel. We send our representatives to meet with the LORD while we go about our carnal lives. We revel in the pleasures of this world and then expect our pastors and leaders to bring us a Word from the LORD at our worship services, and expect that the LORD will receive our songs and prayers.
The LORD thy God is jealous for you! He is jealous for me! He wants to cleanse us and purify us from the sin of idol worship and give us the joy of mercy and grace …..
And He said: “Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you. Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.
Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images ‘(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),…. Ex. 34:10-14
Can you see that it is a work of the LORD that makes us able? He has made a covenant with us, to drive out from before us the very things that draw us away from Him. But He also gives us a warning. We must take heed to ourselves not to engage in those very things that He has called a snare to us.
In Romans 8:2 Paul teaches us that it is the new covenant of grace in Christ Jesus that has made us free from the law of sin and death. Jesus, Himself, has cut down and destroyed the bondage of sin for us. And Romans 5:8; But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For the LORD our God is a jealous God and before Him there is to be no other!