Deuteronomy 4:15-31 (Part 3) – God is Jealous? Isn’t Jealousy A Bad Thing?…

Posted: December 11, 2016 in 99-Uncategorized
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Deuteronomy 4:15-31 (Part 3 of 3)

A Warning Against Idolatry


It is like the kid who loves his little kitten so much that he presses it up against and holds it so tight that he smothers the kitty and kills it. Jealousy is kind of like that. Jealousy is usually an ugly emotion. It can consume your life. Jealousy is an emotion, and the word typically refers to the thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of status or something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a human connection. Jealousy often consists of a combination of emotions such as anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness and disgust.


Have you ever seen someone consumed by jealousy? I have a friend who is ruining his marriage with it. The emotion has created this dependency on the actions and perceived actions of another person. Jealousy has consumed him. His wife was unfaithful to him and, yes, that sin requires some repentance and tolerance of his insecurities in their marriage, but the jealousy of the husband is a blanket that is suffocating the reconciliation of the marriage. Anything she does is scrutinized. Every word she says is analyzed. Not being home at a certain time leads to the third degree. Not loving him the way he defines means that she is thinking of someone else. Angry confrontations about how she is not honoring their marriage by her actions where cutting words are spoken are followed by “l love and I cannot live without you”. Angry, jealous arguments include threats to leave and walking out of the house and saying that he is done is followed a few hours later by a return to the house and acting all lovey-dovey to her. He has let another person control his feeling of personal value even though that person, his wife, does not want to control his personal value. When jealousy grabs hold of us, it can consume our entire being. We want that other person to recognize the pain and hurt that we have and massage it but it’s never enough. We hate and love all that the same time. The pain that jealousy causes becomes our friend. It becomes who we area. We create scenarios in our head of what our formerly adulterous spouse is doing when they are away from us just so we can feel that pain of jealousy.


Isn’t it weird how that works? When we are in a cycle of jealousy, we become so fixated on our pain that we eventually do not know how to live without it. The pain of jealousy becomes our friend and we must feed it with distrust and rage. Distrust and rage consume us. We want to break out of it but we have forgotten what living life free of jealousy is like. Jealousy fixates on a person and finds fault with them but loves them at the same time. Jealous is a self-centered emotion. We want our spouse who has been unfaithful to jump through all the hoops that we put in front of them but when they do, it’s not good enough and there are more hoops to jump through or that they must go back and re-jump through the same hoops. We just want them to love us and get rid of that feeling of pain that the jealousy resulting from the adultery has caused. But they can’t do it. They cannot change the past. It happened. The formerly cheating spouse cannot make the pain go away. Like I said before, the cheating spouse who attempts to reconcile their marriage must go the extra mile for a while and overcompensate and do things that they may think unnecessary in a relationship. But that cannot go on forever. The jilted spouse must at some point let go of the jealousy and pain. They must let go of this idol. They must give it to the Lord and not go back to the cross and pick it up. It is a choice. It is hard. That is why many marital reconciliations do not last. The jealousy of the jilted spouse consumes the marriage and destroys it.


Jealousy is usually a negative emotion when we talk about human beings and that is what came to mind when I read through the passage, Deuteronomy 4:15-31, this morning. For today, let’s ponder the idea of God being a jealous God. If God is a holy, pure and perfect God, then how can he be jealous, an emotion that we typically consider to be negative:


15 You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, 16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, 17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, 18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. 19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. 20 But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.


21 The Lord was angry with me because of you, and he solemnly swore that I would not cross the Jordan and enter the good land the Lord your God is giving you as your inheritance. 22 I will die in this land; I will not cross the Jordan; but you are about to cross over and take possession of that good land. 23 Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden. 24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.


25 After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. 28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. 29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.


Here in this passage, in v. 24, we see that is said that God is a jealous God. Jealousy is a demand for someone else’s exclusive affection and all-consuming loyalty. Human jealousy is typically bad. It is destructive for a person to become jealous of another person, like the couple that I know. But when we think about it non-obsessive jealousy can be good in that it establishes an expectation. In marriage, there is an expectation that we have our spouse’s complete and total loyalty. That is the expectation established by God for marriage. We should respect that jealous expectation by not putting ourselves into situations with the opposite sex that could create negative jealousy with our spouses. We should never put ourselves in situations that will cause of our spouse to question our loyalty to the marriage and to them.


With God, being a jealous can only be a good kind in that God is holy, pure, and right in everything He does. Being a jealous God means that He wants our exclusive loyalty. God does not want anything to come between us and Him. We will give our praise, our loyalty, our honor to something other than Him, we have violated the sanctity of our relationship with Him. We have been adulterous to Him. When we make another person our god, we have committed adultery against God. When we make money our god, we have run around on God. When we make possessions and toys our focus, we have committed idolatry against God. We must treat God as the central and only focus of our praise, worship, and attention. It is a marriage between us and God from the day He created us in our mother’s wombs. When stray from Him, when we make anything (including pain) our god before Him, we have committed spiritual adultery.


This morning, what is it in your life that comes before God? Are you justifying a sin as OK because you want to continue holding on to it and participating in it? How are you committing adultery against the God who formed you and made you?


Let us be a people who identify those things that we put before God and repents of that adulterous behavior. God wants all of us. God wants us to humble ourselves before Him and say to Him, you and you only are my God. I will honor you by taking your Word and making it part of who I am, part of my DNA because it comes from you. Let us be a people who wish to honor God in everything we do and the way we know that is to honor and obey God’s Word and submit the Lordship of our lives to Him, through Jesus Christ.


Amen and Amen.

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