(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
After the incident of the Israelites worshiping the golden calf while Moses was in the presence of the LORD on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commamdments (see Exodus 32:1-6), several dramatic things happened:
- God told Moses He planned to totally wipe out the Jews, and make a new nation from Moses descendants! (see Exodus 32:8-10).
- Moses interceded for the people (see Exodus 32:11-13).
- “So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do His people.” (Exodus 32:14).
- Moses, when he saw the idolatry Israel had fallen into, smashed the two tables of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written! (see Exodus 32:19).
- “Then he took the calf…burned it in the fire…ground it to powder…scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it.” (Exodus 32:20).
- Moses then ordered the Levites to kill the idolators among their fellow Israelites – and 3,000 died that day! (see Exodus 32:26-28).
- Moses again went into God’s presence on the mountain, and pleaded for God to forgive His people! (see Exodus 32:30-34).
- To bolster his own confidence to lead the Israelites (perhaps two to three million strong) to the Promised Land of Canaan, Moses made a bold request: “Please, show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18).
- God told Moses to cut two more tablets of stone, meet Him on the mountain, and He would again write on them the Ten Commandments! (see Exodus 34:1-4).
The LORD did show Moses His glory (at least partially): “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me and live….[But] you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 34:20, 23). Part of God revealing Himself to Moses included renewing the covenant with His chosen people, and allowing them to see more of His character! This was especially revealed in God’s name He had announced only once before, in the second of the Ten Commandments! (see also Deuteronomy 4:24; 5:9; 6:15 for later references).
Here is Exodus 34:12 through 14:
Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhab- itants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. But you shall destroy their altars, break their sac- red 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)....
“…the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Jealous in Hebrew is קַנָּא (pronounced kan-naw’ ) and meaning “…jealous…” [but only applied to God in the Old Testament, not to man.] (Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew Definitions).
What does it mean that “…the LORD…is a jealous God…”?
- A problem can arise if we take it to mean a popular definition (put forth as an option in Webster’s New World Dictionary): “…resentfully suspicious…[or] resentfully envious….”
I can’t find the date that Oprah Winfrey said it, but this is her testimony of when she began to leave traditional Christianity behind, and move toward New Age religion – all over the misunderstanding of one word:
I took God out of the box because I grew up in the Baptist church and there were rules and belief systems and doctrine. I happened to be sitting in church in my late 20s. I was go- ing to this church where this great minister was preaching about how great God was and how omniscient and omnipresent and God is everything. Then he said, “The Lord Thy God is a jealous God.” I was caught up in the rapture of that moment until he said jealous. Something struck me. I was thinking, “God is all. God is omnipresent. God is all and God’s also jealous? God is jealous of me?” Something about that didn’t feel right in my spirit because I believe that God is love and that God is in all things, and so that’s when the search for something more than doctrine started to stir within me.
“…and God’s also jealous? God is jealous of me?” It sounds like God is envious because this woman has something God does not have, and He wants it! But…
✞ ...God is not jealous of her! ✞ ...God is jealous for her!
And He is jealous for everyone else!
- He is jealous for those who do not know His Son Jesus Christ as their personal Savior! As God told His prophet to say to the people in Ezekiel 33:11, “As I live…I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die….? ”
We are told in the New Testament that the only way to be saved is through faith in Jesus Christ!
✞ John 14:6 – “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” ✞ Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” ✞ And the way has been made! “And He [Jesus] Himself is the propitiation [the means by which our sins are for- given] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
- He is jealous for those to stay faithful once they put their trust in Jesus! Paul shared his greatest desire in Philippians 3:7 through 14 (yes, it is rather long, but I don’t think there is a better description of a purpose to stay faithful!):
...what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. But indeed I also count all things loss for the excel- lence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
What are the practical steps for a Christian to stay faithful?
- First and foremost, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….” (Colossians 3:16). And to accomplish this, you must dwell richly in the Word!
✞ Read your Bible! ✞ Study the Word regularly! ✞ Meditate on what you read and study! ✞ Memorize pertinent Scriptures! ✞ Have the Word explained and amplified by quality teachers!
- “Pray without ceasing…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:17, 18).
✞ This does not mean continual praying, but... ✞ ...you should be in an attitude of prayer so prayer can often and easily flow!
- “…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another even more as you see the day of the Lord coming nearer.” (Hebrews 10:25 – International Standard Version).
- “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (II Corinthians 9:6, 7).
- “Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world.” (Mark 16:15 – Contemporary English Version).
Peter summed it up this way in II Peter 1:5 through 8:
...giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perse- verence, to perseverence godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruit- ful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
God is always jealous for you to be totally His!