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Ralph's Daily Devotional - Monday, July 9

In Exodus' prohibition against idols, God gives us His reason: "For I am a jealous God!"  On the surface this is a strange thing for God to say.  We often say things like, "God is good.  God is great.  God is holy."  But how often does anyone say, "God is jealous"?  That seems too petty an attribute for the God who created the universe to concern Himself with.  If He is God, then what's to be jealous over?  He ostensibly owns everything!

I believe the word "jealous" has an associative and helpful term, "zealous."  God  is willing to share with us many things.  But one thing He will not share is His glory.  To do that would mean we lose our respect for God as our Lord, and in so doing we both debase Him and ourselves, reducing Him into our own image rather than ourselves created in His.

Take Jesus for example.  He was zealous, not in a fanatical way, but in a way that demonstrated His love for God.  He cleansed the temple because He was both zealous and jealous.  He saw the temple being abused by selfish merchants exploiting those who came to worship.  He was jealous in that He felt the temple was being misused, and His zeal in cleansing it was the response of His jealousy.

We should feel indignant whenever we see truth manipulated or injustice perpetrated, because God is our great lover and anything that comes ahead of Him we should zealously seek to confront.  Paul did this in Athens.  He was jealous for God's glory as he witnessed the idols.  He didn't put the idols down.  Rather, he zealously lifted the true God up!

When God sees people whom He created and loves foolishly turning from Him to darkness, themselves and the devil, He becomes jealous in a good way; not based on His own sense of insecurity or selfishness, but on truth and a concern to see us free and secure in Himself to whom we owe everything. 

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