Meditation: Exodus 20 & 34

Reading: Exodus 20:4-6; 34:14

God is very concerned about idol worship. When, in the future, Israel enters the Promised Land they must not to make a covenant with Canaan’s inhabitants; they must completely destroy their pagan places of worship. God then adds “for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”.

God is very strongly opposed to idol worship because His relationship with His people must be exclusive: no other god is to share in it. God is a jealous God; even His name is Jealous. For us the word jealous does not seem appropriate for God; it has a negative, sinful meaning. The Oxford dictionary defines it as “afraid, suspicious, or resentful of rivalry”. It also means envious and spiteful. But that is not the case with God. Another meaning is: fiercely protective. This is a good description of God’s attitude towards His covenant people. The church is extremely precious, He will be “fiercely protective” of it.  A husband too will be “fiercely protective” of his wife; she should be equally jealous.

God often treats the church like His wife. The covenant is like sacred marriage; furthermore, marriage depends upon mutual faithfulness. God is faithful; in return He demands love and faithfulness. We must not follow Satan, nor follow sinful desires which defile us. When Israel refuses to repent, God often charges them with adultery (Jeremiah 3; Hosea 2; Isaiah 62).  When the church turns to other gods and wicked lusts, God sees it as polluting the purity of His holy marriage. His jealousy then turns into hot anger; He even speaks about divorce (Jeremiah 3:8).

This message remains valid always. 1 John 5:21 says “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” Covenant God is a faithful, jealous husband to us, therefore He is greatly desires from us, His wife, faithful love.

Key verse: Exodus 34:14 “(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God)”.

Question: In Hosea 2:2 and 5 God complains that Israel refuses to repent from her sins of worshipping idols. He says “Bring charges against your mother, bring charges; for she is not My wife, nor am I her Husband! Let her put away her harlotries from her sight” … For she “has played the harlot”. Why does God use such vivid and strong language?