The Object of Jealousy
For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14
Sometimes reading the Bible raises questions. For instance, we are warned in Scripture to avoid jealousy and envy—it is “rottenness to the bones” (Proverbs 14:30)—and yet one of God’s names in the Old Testament is “Jealous”—for He is “a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14).
Why is jealousy an attribute for God but a sin for us? Because of the motivation. God is not jealous for us because He envies something we have that He doesn’t have. Instead, think of “jealous” as “zealous”—God loves us so much that He is zealous for us to worship Him alone, to live in close communion with Him. God is jealous for us because He knows we will benefit from our devotion to Him. On the other hand, when we are jealous, it is for selfish reasons. We want something for our own pleasure that another person has. God’s jealousy is others-centered; human jealousy is self-centered.
If you find yourself experiencing jealousy, ask yourself, Who is the object of my feelings? Do I want the best for the other person or the “best” for myself?
God is jealous for the good of His redeemed people—but He can never be jealous of anything or anyone. John Blanchard
Exodus 34 14 A JEALOUS GOD CHARLES SPURGEON
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? James 2:14
Thomas knew what he needed to do. Having been born to a poor family in India and adopted by Americans, upon a return trip to India he witnessed the dire needs of the children in his hometown. So he knew he had to help. He began making plans to return to the US, finish his education, save a lot of money, and come back in the future.
Then, after reading James 2:14–18 in which James asks, “What good is it . . . if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?” Thomas heard a little girl in his native country cry out to her mother: “But Mommy, I’m hungry now!” He was reminded of the times he had been intensely hungry as a child—searching through trash cans for food. Thomas knew he couldn’t wait years to help. He decided, “I’ll start now!”
Today the orphanage he began houses fifty well-fed and cared-for children who are learning about Jesus and getting an education—all because one man didn’t put off what he knew God was asking him to do.
James’s message applies to us as well. Our faith in Jesus Christ provides us with great advantages—a relationship with Him, an abundant life, and a future hope. But what good is it doing anyone else if we don’t reach out and help those in need? Can you hear the cry: “I’m hungry now”?
Reflect & Pray
What needs around you touch your heart? What’s one thing you can do to help others—even if it seems insignificant?
Direct my steps, O God, toward the actions You want me to take to help someone in need. Thank You for allowing me to be a part of Your work on earth.
Do you feel loved by God? Let me ask the question a different way: Did you know that as a believer, it’s possible to mentally understand God loves you without actually sensing it? In fact, the reverse can be true as well—we may say we love God, all the while knowing that our feelings of affection for Him are limited.
There are a variety of reasons that a Christian might not sense love from God or affection for Him, some of which stem from childhood experiences. Perhaps love was absent in the home, or maybe it just wasn’t expressed verbally or demonstrated in practical ways. An individual’s personality could also be part of the equation—some people are naturally expressive while others are more reserved in their emotions.
Although this discrepancy between knowledge and experience can be distressing, there is hope. Meditating on all the ways God has demonstrated His love for you—and asking Him to help you perceive it—can begin to move that truth from your head to your heart. Remember that love is God’s very nature (1 John 4:8), not something conditioned on your performance. And if you’ve been adopted into His family through faith in His Son, God has chosen to lavish kindness on you in Christ.
Believing and accepting that you are loved by the Father will in turn affect your feelings for Him. Commit to knowing Him more intimately and accurately through His Word, and your affection for Him will begin to grow. As you spend time with Him in Scripture and prayer, you’ll discover that the saying “to know him is to love him” is certainly true of God.
“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Hebrews 9:24)
Although we usually think in terms of two appearances of Christ, once at His first coming and again at His second coming, the ninth chapter of Hebrews specifically refers to three “appearings,” each involving a different Greek word. With reference to His first appearing, we read: “Now once in the end of the [age] hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (v. 26). The word used here means “to make manifest.” It is the word used in 1 John 3:5: “He was manifested to take away our sins.”
His second coming is the topic in Hebrews 9:28, where the word means to show oneself visibly. “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
But there is also a third appearing mentioned in Hebrews 9, and this is the one in our text referring to Christ’s present and perpetual appearance on our behalf in the presence of God in heaven. The word here means “to inform,” referring to His advocacy on our behalf as our “defense attorney,” so to speak. Not only did Christ die for us; not only will He come for us; right now, He is interceding for us!
This work of Christ on our behalf is vitally important, although we do not think of it nearly as much as we do His two other appearings. This appearing affects us right now, every day, and is of infinite value. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2). “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). HMM
So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
—1 Thessalonians 1:7-8
I would like to see a church become so godly, so Spirit-filled that it would have a spiritual influence on all of the churches in the entire area. Paul told some of his people, “ye were ensamples to all that believe” and “in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad” (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8).
It is entirely right that I should hope this of you. I could hope that we might become so Spirit-filled, walking with God, learning to worship, living so clean and so separated that everybody would know it, and the other churches in our area would be blessed on account of it….
There is no reason why we could not be a people so filled with the Spirit, so joyfully singing His praises and living so clean in our business and home and school that the people and other churches would know it and recognize it. COU009-010
Please, Lord, enable us to be models of godliness, spirit-filled victory, joy and worship. Amen.
For Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work: I will triumph in the works of Thy hands.—Psalm 92:4.
Consider it (This outer world we tread on) as a harp—
A gracious instrument on whose fair strings
We learn those airs we shall be set to play
When mortal hours are ended.
Every year has been to me a softening of the impressible nature, and a clearing of the eye in all the fields of divine goodness, quite irrespective of the hard, hot, choking work of the external world and its attacks. I feel more and more how all right spirit life is a gladness and a glory increasing; how divine goodness is speaking in all tones that reach the heart with joy or sorrow, awe or ecstasy, everywhere and in all things, if we can but hear it; how completely the spirit within can be in communion with light, independent of external circumstances; and yet how external circumstances and creation are the medium through which God speaks. And if it is indeed a speech of God, an ever present incarnation of the divine mind, then the power of reading the divine mind run only exist for those who are in accordance with it.
“God shall be with you.” Gen. 48:21
Good old Jacob could no more be with Joseph, for his hour had come to die: but he left his son without anxiety, for he said with confidence, “God shall be with you.” When our dearest relations, or our most helpful friends, are called home by death, we must console ourselves with the reflection that the Lord is not departed from us, but lives for us, and abides with us for ever.
If God be with us, we are in ennobling company, even though we are poor and despised. If God be with us, we have all-sufficient strength, for nothing can be too hard for the Lord. If God be with us, we are always safe, for none can harm those who walk under His shadow. Oh, what a joy we have here! Not only is God with us, but He will be with us. With us as individuals; with us as families; with us as churches. Is not the very name of Jesus, Immanuel — God with us? Is not this the best of all, that God is with us? Let us be bravely diligent, and joyously hopeful. Our cause must prosper, the truth must win, for the Lord is with those who are with Him.
All this day may this sweet word be enjoyed by every believer who turns to “Faith’s Check Book.” No greater happiness is possible.