Who Are You Calling Jealous?
I admit I’ve been jealous. It’s that feeling that comes when the gold medal is lost by 2/100ths of a point. This fickle emotion can drive a man to punch someone who tries to kiss his wife. I understand those scenarios, but I have trouble attaching this attribute to the Lord.
“They [the Israelites] angered God … they made Him jealous with their idols.” (Psalm 78:58 NLT)
Jealousy sounds out of character for a perfect and generous God. And yet even the Apostle Paul said,
“For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself, …” (2 Corinthians 11:2 NLT)
So, I asked, “Lord, help me understand this strange jealousy.”
He then took me down memory lane.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I had planned on going back to work after he was born. What was there to do at home with a baby anyway? Change diapers. Feed them. Change more diapers. But my 8-pound-2-ounce bundle of solid boy stole my heart. Within a month of bonding, I was jealous.
I was very jealous.
I would be the one to see his first smile. No stranger was as worthy as I of viewing even this tiny miracle.
I would be there when he crawled, when he took his first step, and to hear his brilliant first word, “Doggie.”
Who carried him for 9 months? Who sang to him while he was in the womb? Who endured the pain of his birth and later on stayed by his side in sickness? I did!
No one else deserved the privilege of witnessing his first feats.
When he turned to his friends to learn about male/female relationships, he provoked my jealousy. What could one eight-year-old teach another eight-year-old about sex? Nothing but foolishness! I had the answers he needed. “Come to me, child. I will not misguide you.”
No one else deserved the privilege of teaching him right from wrong.
No one else deserved the right to instill moral values.
He learned to worship while sitting on my lap.
He listened to the stories I chose with his heart in mind.
His character was my responsibility. Our time together was short, and I did not waste a single minute.
Five years old. I activated the school-crossing signal for a four-lane road. The cars stopped, and we walked our bikes across the first lane, then the second lane. Halfway across, I noticed the 4th lane was empty but the approaching car was not slowing. My beloved son, unaware of the danger and out of my reach, continued on across the 3rd lane. He had started across with complete trust in me not to misguide him. He now headed toward unseen disaster.
Jealous for his life, I cried, “Luke, stop!”
He knew my voice and stopped instantly. A foot in front of him, the car sped through the red light. First-time obedience saves lives—a value I’d instilled in him for that very purpose.
Yes, I was jealous for my children. A shameless jealousy. They are of my blood, of my body, of my heart, and they resemble me. This is not possessive or excessive. This is heaven’s passion, and it is radical.
I get it now.
God, my Father, is jealous for me. He alone knitted me together in my mother’s womb and made me in His image. He alone heard my first word and empowered me to crawl. To walk. To run.
He cries with me and laughs with me. Like a hen gathers her chicks, He gathers me under His wing (Matthew 23:37). He sings over me (Zephaniah 3:17). He wants my full surrender. He wants my first-time obedience. And He justly deserves the honor of “raising” me as His own.
He wants me to learn His voice and practice yielding to His nudges to avoid disaster, to discover special blessings, and to convey His love to others.
When I turn to earthly things to ease my pain, turn to mortal man for wisdom, or rely on my worldly wealth to sustain me, I provoke His jealousy.
“You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.” (Exodus 34:14 NLT)
He is a jealous God! And He’s radically in love with you and me.
Ask Him to show you how jealous He is for you, and may His answer surprise you. May His answer cause you to fall deeper in love with our Jealous God.
By: Liz Kanoy, crosswalk.org
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” – Matthew 13:44-46
What did Jesus mean when He said the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field that when found should be re-hidden and then bought? Here’s what He did not mean. Jesus did not mean that the gospel should be hidden and not shared, and He did not mean that the gospel could be bought.
The parable was meant to show the value of the gospel that it is in fact the most valuable thing you could ever possess. That if you found it, you would sell everything you owned so you could have it.
However, the gospel is so valuable that it can never be bought. You could never have enough fine things to sell or offer that would equal the value. But that’s the beauty of the gospel! It is the most valuable thing in existence…but it’s also free!
This means that God knowing your inferiority, your inability to come close to His standards, came down to earth as a humble baby, lived a perfect life on earth despite temptation, and died a sacrificial and substitutionary death even though He was innocent, just so you could receive the gift He offers.
What is the value of the gospel? It is like a field with the finest buried treasure; you’d be willing to sell everything you had – not just yard sale type things, but everything even the things you need to sustain your life – just so you could look upon it. The good news is that you don’t have to, and even if you wanted to you couldn’t.
The good news is that Jesus died and rose again, so that you could have the most valuable thing in the world for free. The gospel had a high price, one that you and I could never pay. There was only ever One who could pay it, and He finished that payment once and for all on the cross. He did this so that those He calls can accept His grace and become His children and heirs forever.
As believers, do we really treat the gospel like it’s the most valuable thing we have? Do we speak of it to others like it’s the most valuable thing they can have? And do our lives reflect that the grace of Jesus Christ is free, or do our actions show others that we are still trying to earn something?
“Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity … You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” – Micah 7:18-19 NASB
Today is Rosh Hashanah (also known as the Feast of Trumpets). This Jewish New Year starts a ten-day period that ends on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). This was one of God’s special feasts. His people were to search their souls and seek to make things right with him.
On this day, some Jewish households carry on the tradition of Tashlich (“cast off”). This tradition involves going to a body of water, tossing breadcrumbs into the water as they pray, and asking God for forgiveness.
This action is a reminder of God’s promise to forgive and have compassion on us. The purpose is to remind us that He does not retain His anger forever. In fact, He casts our sins “into the depths of the sea.”
Right now, God offers you the opportunity for a new beginning. Start by cleansing your heart. Confess your sins, worries, and problems. Are there things blocking the flow of His blessings? Are you anxious or worried? Have you allowed sin or bad habits to grab a hold in your life?
The Bible is clear: God is ready to forgive all your sins. Be honest and lay every burden and sin at His feet. And accept His forgiveness! Remember, God wants to bless you in new ways. Experience the joy of forgiveness and being clean. Then start celebrating. Let this be a day of new beginnings!
Listening Hard for God
From: Streams In The Desert
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29 :18).
Waiting upon God is necessary in order to see Him, to have a vision of Him. The time element in vision is essential. Our hearts are like a sensitive photographer’s plate; and in order to have God revealed there, we must sit at His feet a long time. The troubled surface of a lake will not reflect an object.
Our lives must be quiet and restful if we would see God. There is power in the sight of some things to affect one’s life. A quiet sunset will bring peace to a troubled heart. Thus the vision of God always transforms human life.
Jacob saw God at Jabbok’s ford, and became Israel. The vision of God transformed Gideon from a coward into a valiant soldier. The vision of Christ changed Thomas from a doubting follower into a loyal, devout disciple.
But men have had visions of God since Bible times. William Carey saw God, and left his shoemaker’s bench and went to India. David Livingstone saw God, and left all to follow Him through the jungles of dark Africa. Scores and hundreds have had visions of God, and are today in the uttermost parts of the earth working for the speedy evangelization of the heathen.
There is hardly ever a complete silence in the soul. God is whispering to us well-nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear the whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not hear, because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.
–F. W. Faber
“Speak, Lord, in the stillness,
While I wait on Thee;
Hushed my heart to listen
“Speak, O blessed Master,
In this quiet hour;
Let me see Thy face, Lord,
Feel Thy touch of power.
“For the words Thou speakest,
‘They are life,’ indeed;
Living bread from Heaven,
Now my spirit feed!
“Speak, Thy servant heareth!
Be not silent, Lord;
Waits my soul upon Thee
For the quickening word!”