WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 10, 2021
TOPIC: GOD IS A JEALOUS GOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” (1 Corinthians 10:21-22 New King James Version).
In some translations of the Bible, including the American Standard Version, King James Version, and New King Version of the Bible, the first use of the word jealous is with regard to the LORD. In fact, the first three mentions are in reference to the fact that the LORD is jealous. Whereas most human beings who are jealous would deny it, considering it as disapproving, the LORD unambiguously declared that He is a jealous God. He has no apologies about that.
It is significant that in all cases where the LORD declared that He is a jealousy God, it had to do with the fact that He would not tolerate idolatry from His people. He would not allow anyone to share His honour or glory with any man-made god.
In Exodus 20:4-6, the LORD said, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (New King James Version). This scripture is repeated in Deuteronomy 5:8-10.
Just as in a love relationship between a husband and a wife, neither would allow his or her spouse to share the love meant for him or her in an adulterous relationship with another person, the same way there is a love relationship between God and the Israelites (and believers today) and He is a jealous God. He will not allow His people to engage in spiritual adultery by worshipping any idol.
God is a jealous God. He will not tolerate rivals, which other gods or idols are. In other to forestall spiritual adultery, God warned the Children of Israel, before they entered the land of Canaan, to destroy their altars and gods to avoid worshipping their gods.
Exodus 34:13-16 says, “But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God ), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods” (New King James Version).
In this scripture, God described the worship of other gods as harlotry. He would not condone it. Moses reiterated in Deuteronomy 6:14-15 God’s prohibition of the worship of other gods, emphasizing that God is a jealous God: “You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you (for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the LORD your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth” New King James Version).
Unfortunately, the children of Israel didn’t obey God. They entered the land of Canaan and started engaging in spiritual harlotry, worshipping foreign gods. God, being a jealous God, did not tolerate this. They provoked His anger by their harlotry and He reacted against them, punishing them from to time, especially through enemy nations. The ultimate punishment was that the Southern Kingdom, Judah, and the Northern kingdom, Israel, were sent into exile.
Deuteronomy 32:16-18 says “They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God, to gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear. Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you” (New King James Version).
It is impossible for people to engage in spiritual harlotry and escape the repercussion. There must be consequences when the jealous God is provoked to anger. Psalm 78:58-64 says, “For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images. When God heard this, He was furious, and greatly abhorred Israel, so that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent He had placed among men, and delivered His strength into captivity, and His glory into the enemy’s hand. He also gave His people over to the sword, and was furious with His inheritance. The fire consumed their young men, and their maidens were not given in marriage. Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows made no lamentation” (New King James Version). Did you see the disaster that befell them?
God said, “They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in My anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell; It shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains” (Deuteronomy 32:21-22 New King James Version). He said in verse 23 that He would heap disasters on them and spend His arrows on them.
God will not tolerate man whom He created for His own pleasure to devote himself to the worship of gods that he created for himself. He is the only one worthy to receive glory and honor and power; for He created all things, and by His will, they exist and were created (Revelation 4:11).
However, just as God had punished the Israelites for their idolatry because He is a jealous God, He also promised to bring them back from exile, and He did. “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:’Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name — after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid” (Ezekiel 39:25-26 New King James Version).
Deuteronomy 4:24 says the jealous God is a consuming fire. “The LORD is a jealous God, filled with vengeance and wrath. He takes revenge on all who oppose him and furiously destroys his enemies!” (Nahum 1:2 2 New Living Translation). God cannot speak in His burning jealousy or jealousy and fury without those who provoked Him suffering for it, such as the nations, especially Edom, which showed utter contempt for Him by gleefully taking His land, Israel, for themselves as plunder (Ezekiel 36:5, 6). In His jealousy over the nation of Israel, God promised to punish their enemies who plundered them. Nevertheless, Israel shouldn’t have gone into idolatry in the first instance. They would have saved themselves all the shame they suffered.
All the scriptures we have seen speaking directly about the jealousy of God are in the Old Testament where the people, particularly the Israelites who were God’s people worshipped other gods or idols contrary to his command not to worship any other gods besides Him (Exodus 20:3). He warned them, as we have seen, not to make idols of any kind or worship them. But they provoked Him repeatedly by worshipping strange, new, or foreign gods.
God hated idolatry in the Old Testament and He hates it even today. 1 Corinthians 10:14 says, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (New King James Version). Today, most people may not have carved images they worship as idols but there are new or modern gods people worship. Anything that comes before God in your life and distracts you from devotion to God is an idol. In this context, many believers today are involved in idolatry.
Many people worship modern gods such as money, work, power, success, recreation, entertainment, etc. These are more important to them than God. Whatever has captured your heart’s devotion is your god. God will not share your worship of Him with your worship of another god. You cannot serve God and mammon at the same time (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). When you try to do this, you provoke God to jealousy – He is a jealous God.
1 Corinthians 10:21-22 says, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” (New King James Version). Don’t provoke God to jealousy.
God is a jealous God. There is no relationship between God and the gods or idols; no fellowship between light and darkness. “What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:15-16 New Living Translation).
God is a jealous God. He demands from you total devotion. The total love for Him that He demanded from the Israelites in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:13; 13:3), He also demands from you. I think the demand is even higher now. because He has shown you much love by sending His Son, Jesus, to die for your sins (John 3:16). He first loved you (1 John 4:9). You should reciprocate His love. Jesus said, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 New King James Version). Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27 say a similar thing.
God is a jealous God. Don’t forsake Him for any other god or modern gods. Don’t let money or silver and gold become your god. On the day of the Lord’s wrath, money cannot save anyone (Zephaniah 1:18a). No modern idols can. Don’t engage in spiritual adultery. God doesn’t want any rival in your life. Be devoted to Him. Give all of yourself to Him. There are consequences for forsaking the Lord. The ultimate is eternity in hellfire.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of any form of spiritual adultery I am involved in. I rededicate my life to You today. I shall not serve You and any other god.I shall serve You alone. Holy Spirit, help me to love the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind. Holy Spirit, help me to be faithful to God.
(For more inspiring messages, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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