Unveiling the heart of a jealous God.
There are moments in life when you find yourself on the brink of despair. The things you’ve held on to for security and comfort are starting to crumble right beneath your feet. You look around in anguish and try to understand what’s happening but nothing makes sense. Everything seems lost. It is in those moments that we wonder why God allows us to go through despair and hopelessness. God is a jealous God and He knows that we are more likely to seek Him in times of trouble than in times of peace. When we feel afraid or anxious, we start to see the reality of who we are without God. Often times, we don’t even realize just how far away from God we really are until we start experiencing turmoil. God loves us too much to let us fall in love with anything other than Him. In the Old Testament, we find God passionately pursuing Israel again and again. So many times we, like Israel, forget that God is our source of life and peace and that everything good in our lives comes from Him. He is the One who rescued us and gave us freedom, yet we so often look to other things rather than looking to God. In His patience and mercy, God whispers to us to come back into His arms but we refuse to hear or simply ignore His soft voice. As time goes by, God starts to sing songs to us, hoping that we will return to Him. Sadly, our love for the idols of our lives is blinding us to how beautiful and breathtaking He truly is. Their song allures us and we become more and more entangled into sin. Yet God never gives up. His love is too strong, too deep. Our indifference and rejection brings tears to His eyes and fuels His jealousy for us. His voice is full of passion as he serenades us, hoping that we will at least listen to Him:
“Yet I am the Lord your God
Ever since the land of Egypt,
And you shall know no God but Me;
For there is no savior besides Me.
I knew you in the wilderness,
In the land of great drought.
When they had pasture, they were filled;
They were filled and their heart was exalted;
Therefore they forgot Me.”
(Hosea 13:4-6, NKJV)
The voice of our First Love no longer stirs us because of our adulterous heart. Despite the fact that our heart is no longer His, God still remembers us in our shame and nakedness. He remembers how lost, empty, and abandoned we were before He saved us. He remembers the pain and hopelessness. We don’t. Somewhere along the way, we accepted the lie that it was us who saved ourselves and not God. Pride has caused us to forget about His love for us and to live for ourselves instead of for Him. Mocked by our idolatry, He turns His face away from us, leaving us with nothing but our useless idols. Finally, the condition of our heart is truly exposed. Without Him, we are back to that place of hopelessness that He saved us from. As His jealousy mixes with anger, God screams to us through His pain and betrayal:
O Israel, return to the Lord your God,
For you have stumbled because of your iniquity;
Take words with you,
And return to the Lord.
Say to Him,
“Take away all iniquity;
Receive us graciously,
For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.”
It is our sin that has turned our lives into chaos. It is our arrogance that has broken the heart of our First Love. How do we get saved from our misery and grief? By confessing our sins and repenting of our sinfulness. True freedom is the result of true repentance. How do we truly repent? By asking forgiveness for our sins and turning away from them. As we take our eyes off of ourselves and our idols and fix them upon God, we will find life and freedom once more. God alone can change your wailing into dancing. Will you return to your First Love? He’s still in love with you.
“For your Maker is your husband,
The Lord of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.
For the Lord has called you
Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Like a youthful wife when you were refused,”
Says your God.
“For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you.
With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
Says the Lord, your Redeemer.