April 11, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“I am a Jealous God”

Exodus 20:4-6

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

In Chinese, “jealousy” is a word that has different degrees of intensity, and each one is described by a different physiological effect. For example, a normal jealousy is described as “吃醋了 chi1 cu4 le,” which means to eat vinegar. However, a more intense jealousy is described as “妒火 du4 huo3,” which means jealousy that burns like fire.

In this passage, we see the Israelites who are set from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. After they encamp near Mount Sinai, the Lord makes a covenant with the Israelites by giving them the Ten Commandments. One way to honor this covenant is for the Israelites to not create an image of anything and then worship it. To warn them about violating the covenant, the Lord describes Himself as a jealous God. His jealousy is so intense that if anyone violates His law, He will not only punish the violators but their future generations as well. Yet, He assures the Israelites that if they obey His covenant, He will bless them for thousands of generations.

Why does God associate Himself with emotion of jealous? Elsewhere, particularly in Isaiah, Hosea, and Ezekiel, God compares His relationship with Israel to a relationship between husband and wife. Of course, in context of a relationship, jealousy has a negative connotation; but it also reveals a person’s deep love and passion for the other. God’s love for Israel runs so deep that any violation of His love causes Him to react fiercely.

Through the story of the cross, we are able to witness God’s deep love and passion for us. We live in a world that is destined for death, yet God initiated a rescue plan for us. In His great love and mercy, He sacrificed His beloved Son so that we could be rescued from death!

This morning, take a moment to play a CD or an instrument, and spend time in His presence. Invite the Holy Spirit to remind you of God’s deep love for us.

Prayer: Thank you Father that, even in the Old Testament, You remind us of Your deep love for us. We are prone to forget you, and we turn to other gods to satisfy ourselves. As the church, we are Your bride, and You desire a faithful love from us. Thank You. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 9


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 John 4:7-16: Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

Questions to Consider

  1. How does John define love in this passage? (v. 8-10)
  2. Why does John encourage us to love one another?
  3. What are three ways that we know that we are in God and God is in us?

Notes

  1. John defines love in two ways. First, he defines love as the person of Jesus. Second, he defines love through God’s love for us. God loved us and he sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for all of humanity.
  2. John encourages us to love one another because God first loved us.
  3. First, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Second, when we testify that the Father has sent His Son. Third, when we acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God.

Evening Reflection

This evening, spend a moment to reflect on if there are any other gods in your life that are stealing your affection. It could be comfort, children, work, marriage, or even ministry. As these idols are being revealed, spend some time in repentance.

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