2014-09-11 - Provoked to Jealousy
Originally Published 2000-10-14
1 Cor 10:22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?
Do we arouse the Lord to jealousy?
What makes someone jealous? If someone approaches my wife in a wrong manor, I get jealous. It's pretty simple and straightforward. If someone messes with one of my close friends, I get jealous. The people and things that matter to me I will defend. I imagine this is something that most people can understand from personal experience.
The church is called the bride of Christ several times in the New Testament. Jesus spoke to the people who came to hear Him in simple stories that they could understand. He gave them examples from their everyday lives that would make sense to the listeners. I don't think this reference is any different.
God considers His church to be under His protection. Paul tell us that we were bought out of the slave auction by God. We are His property. We are called His workmanship, His poema in the Greek. Poema translates directly to the english word poetry. This is the heart of God toward His bride. It is easy to understand how He would be jealous if someone approaches us in a wrong manor, or we try to hide something from Him - as if that were possible.
The rich young ruler had something that held him back from giving himself over completely to God. He had honored his parents, cared for his friends from the time he was very young. He had fulfilled the second table of the law - the relationships between ourselves and mankind. When Jesus asked him to part with his possessions and follow the Him, he was grieved because he has great wealth. His money had become his idol, and had come between the young man and his Creator.
Before we are too hard on the rich young ruler, we need to ask what is between God and ourselves. What would we be willing to give up to follow Jesus? If we were sure it was Him, would you argue to keep our home as a meeting place? or our car as a ministry resource? Is there something, or some relationship that is between you and God? If we are brutally honest with ourselves, there probably is something that we could at least question. We are imperfect, fallible human beings. God knows that too, and loves us anyway in His tender grace and mercy.
Ex 20:4-6 "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
Lord Jesus - thank You for Your protection when we are approached by those who would draw us away from You, and Your understanding of our frailty when we provoke You to jealousy with our behavior. Help us to be more aware of the true importance of the things that come between us and You. And teach us how very much we mean to You. If we truly understand that, we will surely stray less and the things of this world will grow strangely dim. Amen.
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.