Have you ever played a word association game? Word association is an interesting way to see how a person categorizes and connects different ideas, feelings, experiences and information. When I say a particular word, what is the very first word that comes to your mind? For instance if I said, “dog” you might think, “cat”. If I say “heart”, you might say “love”. If I said “fur” you might say, “coat”. What if I said “God”, what would be your first thought? “Good”? “Loving”? “Kind”? “Awesome”? Of course there are a myriad of words that might come to mind, but how about this one…Jealous?
Moses was a man who spoke with God face to face as a man speaks to his friend. If anyone knew that God was a good, loving, powerful, holy, awesome God, it was Moses. But he didn’t choose any of those words to describe God. In Exodus 34:13,14 Moses gives an urgent command to the Children of Israel saying, “But you shall destroy their altars, dash in pieces their pillars, and cut down their Asherim; For you shall worship no other god; for the Lord Whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
Notice…not only is He a jealous God, but it is His very name. Have you ever been pulled aside by a family member of someone that you were dating and been “warned” about some element of their personality? It’s almost as if Moses is giving us a warning about this God that he knows so well. He is a jealous God. This is one part of his personality that you don’t want to cross. He won’t share you with Asherah or Baal or Molech or Dagon. So break those altars, dash those pillars in pieces, cut down those groves. He wants you all for Himself and He won’t be satisfied with anything less that everything.
You don’t hear this preached very often about God. It doesn’t make for nice songs and doesn’t seem to fit the big, benevolent Santa Clause that most people have come to envision when they think of Him. But it would do us well to remember this part of His personality that is so significant it is actually His name. His name is Jealous!
Jealous is not willing to share your heart with another lover. Jealous cannot be appeased by “throwing Him a bone” on Sunday morning in the worship service or in the offering. Jealous is not “okay” with things in your life, even important things, coming in and crowding Him out. Jealous doesn’t wink at the sins that bring a cloud of separation between you. Jealous isn’t oblivious when you’re flirting with the world. Jealous is not amused by your games of minimal surrender. Jealous is not impressed by excuses or explanations…even if in long eloquent prayers. Jealous is not deceived by your words…He can see your heart. There is only one thing that you can give Jealous that is satisfactory and acceptable. He wants your heart – all of it – for Himself.