THE BIG QUESTION OF THE DAY
Moses and God are having this wonderful day in which God has promised to reveal His Glory to Moses.
Can you imagine how exciting that would be?
It seems that Moses didn’t fail to take full advantage of God’s good mood! He goes ahead and asks that million dollar question that has been up in the air for some time now.
You can read it for yourself in Exodus 34: 8-9;
Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”
At that point I’m sure Moses was holding his breath hoping that God’s mood would not change and that he would still get the privilege of seeing God’s glory.
Have you ever had to ask a very hard question of your earthly father at a time when he was in a jovial mood and you knew your question might change the atmosphere?
Then you probably know what Moses felt like.
I guess this situation was a tiny bit like a teen asking his father if he can drive the family car after his Dad just walked in from purchasing a brand new car from a very prestigious car dealership. The timing would be a bit fragile; though the question was urgent and needed to be asked right away. I think Moses might have been more blessed than most teens I know today.
Thank you for joining us in this ongoing, chronological bible study held every Thursday called COME AS A CHILD. Today’s lesson originates from Exodus, Chapter 34. If you missed last week’s lesson; you may review it here: WHEN GOD PASSES BY THE CLEFT OF THE ROCK – COME AS A CHILD – LESSON 183
GOD’S CAREFUL ANSWER TO MOSES
God’s answer to Moses was a bit long, detailed and complicated.
Again, much like a teen needing to borrow his Dad’s new sports car before Dad has had time to take it for a spin around the block. If Dad relents; there is going to be some detailed instructions, and whoever is lucky enough to receive them had better be listening very carefully.
It is easier to start by quoting God word-for-word with the following scripture passage found in Exodus 34:10-14;
Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
“Sort of sounds like; be careful if you decide to drive my car; it is pretty amazing and powerful and you can’t take it for granted! BE CAREFUL. Don’t you dare be following the crowd and doing stupid things that I would not approve of!”
Did you catch all of those instructions, cautions and rules to follow?
Did you hear God tell Moses to BE CAREFUL?
Also; I find that last line very interesting.
IS GOD A JEALOUS GOD? REALLY?
God is jealous; but isn’t that a sin?
Didn’t the Apostle Paul condemn jealousy and compare it to idolatry?
What are we to make of this sentence where God names Himself “Jealous?”
Someone once explained it to me this way:
There is a “sanctified” jealousy and a “sinful” jealousy. Each are two totally different creatures.
ONE TYPE OF JEALOUSY
The “sinful” jealousy that we humans often experience as a sin is the type of jealousy that breaks that commandment which proclaims “thou shalt not covet.”
To covet something that belongs to someone else is wrong.
As God’s children, we are to be happy for our neighbors at all times and rejoice with them in their times of well-being and at their receipt of great blessings.
On the other side of that; we are not to desire what is theirs; but we are to be happy for them.
If we fail in this type of situation, we are considered to be in the sin of jealousy. This type of misplaced jealousy is clearly wrong. Envy is a green-eyed monster that never lets humans win.
ANOTHER TYPE OF JEALOUSY
Then there is another type of jealousy that is actually a healthy jealousy.
It is the same type of jealousy that a husband has for a wife; or vice/versa.
God built this type of “sanctified” jealousy into our natures in order to help us to be careful to have the proper relationships in life.
Our relationship with God is not one of covetousness; because we BELONG to God in the first place. God isn’t desiring to have someone who isn’t already His. He is our creator; we belong to him. This type of relationship is sanctified and good. It is like a marriage.
Marriage is a covenant, and the type of jealousy that one feels when a marriage is harmed is a proper response from someone whose trust has been violated through infidelity. When a covenant relationship is broken; the union of the hearts of two parties are broken. The promise of equal good for both parties is no longer served.
This good type of jealousy is the passion of one heart that tends to want to forgive and restore such brokeness.
This is about the only way to describe and express God’s love for Israel and His people who have broken His covenant laws over and over again.
This healthy type of jealousy from God is our only hope of restoration from the sins of mankind.
Be thankful that we serve a jealous God!
Can you imagine serving one that has no compassion whatsoever and allows anything at all to happen with no concerns ever given or expressed? We would not be existing in love; we would be existing in constant compromise and a total lack of passion.
To be jealous in such cases is to show that you still have feelings for the other party in spite of their shortcomings; and a lack of jealous feelings or emotions at such a critical time would mean that you no longer loved them at all.
GOD WAS ABOUT TO MAKE A COVENANT WITH ISRAEL
Here God is making Himself plain to Moses. He does not desire for us to EVER have any other gods in our lives.
He desires for us to be faithful and true to Him and Him alone.
God obviously felt it was very important for Moses to understand this and act accordingly before any further discussions took place. They had both mourned the experience over the golden calf. Neither of them ever wanted to go through such a trial in their relationship again.
God personifies sanctified jealousy.
Those who want to follow God in wisdom and to become more like Him must be very careful to guard what God thinks and feels. God is a jealous God and we are to reflect His actions and feelings if we love Him.
We must be jealous for God against the ways of this world that God does not approve.
Our good, healthy jealousy toward the ways of God against the ways of the world help us to stay on track with our love for God.
This healthy jealousy that is reflective of God’s character is how we learn to overcome the things that must not be and move on up to the things that God has ordained in our lives.
Often this healthy type of jealousy requires self-sacrifice, obedience and radical reform.
Jesus showed this same type of healthy jealousy when He addressed the Pharisees of His day who were dishonoring God through wrong religious practices.
We read the words found in 2 Corinthians 11:2 and understand that this is a type of godliness. “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” (2 Corinthians 11:2).
God’s good jealousy over Israel/us is how He prepares His people to be ready to be One with Christ. It is how He protects us from our enemy. God commands obedience with this covenant that He is about to make with Israel and His people. God promises to drive out the enemy as long as we keep the part about being obedient. He warns us not to make a treaty with the enemy or we will fall into a snare.
Fallen into any snares lately?
Ever wrecked your Dad’s new car?
God’s continual instructions to Moses were BE CAREFUL. Do not disobey me! Do not worship other gods! Do not make a treaty with the enemy!
In other words; “Moses, guard what I am giving to you because it is very valuable and it matters very much to me!”
DON’T WRECK THE CAR!