Saturday, January 21, 2012

Finding Delight - Our God is Jealous For His Own

I really love singing in the church choir. Not just the singing, but all that’s involved in being part of this group, especially the midweek rehearsal. Because it isn’t just a rehearsal, it’s an opportunity to worship together with fellow believers in the middle of the week. I’ve been working on this blog post ever since Wednesday because of the comfort each song we sang this week brought to my heart and how I wanted to write it out and think on it. Because this is what I do. I write to think.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I have found myself struggling through a period of malaise and dullness recently and am working through fighting to study the Word and rebuke doubt and not rely on feelings, or lack thereof. Recently I read this quote from Alistair Begg on Facebook: “Allow the dictates of God’s Word to overturn the questions of your heart.” Yes and amen. This is bedrock, solid advice, and it’s where I find my greatest source of joy and comfort....God’s word is true and trustworthy.
So, on Wednesday, while practicing and rejoicing that every song we were working on sang about God’s character and His trustworthiness and pondering even as we sang how very much I needed to remind my heart of these things, we came across this in the verse of one song, and I was almost reduced to tears: “Our God is jealous for His own. None could comprehend His love and His mercy. Our God is exalted on His throne, high above the heavens. Forever He is worthy.” This struck me so solidly I had to stop and copy it on the newletter right under the evening’s devotional thought so I could take it home and remember and ponder some more. As I was struggling through the blues, through the malaise, I am thankful for the reminder that God is jealous for His own. None can comprehend His love and His mercy, and He is high and exalted - on the throne, sovereign. 
You could do a whole, long, indepth study on what it means that God is a jealous God, but I wanted to focus on this one aspect of it. I recognized this thought, that God is jealous for His own to be a biblical thought, but I wanted to find scriptural support and write about it to flesh it out in my own understanding, to be comforted by the Word. Because this is what I do. I search the scriptures. I write to think and understand and receive strength and comfort from the Holy Spirit as He illumines my understanding by His Word. I want to embrace thoughts that are validly based in scripture - but jettison those that aren’t. 
Here’s what I’m finding:
God is jealous for the purity and holiness of those He has redeemed. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  If God is for us, who can be against us? Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:22-39) He is jealous to conform us to the image of Christ. (Romans 8:26-30) Jesus is ever interceeding for us. (Romans 8:34) Jesus is the sure and steadfast anchor for our souls. (Hebrews 6:19-20) Because of Jesus, for His sake because of the sacrifice He made on our behalf, those of us whose trust rests in Him alone, we can boldly approach the throne of God. (Hebrews 4:14-16) Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant. (Hebrews 7:22) He will complete what He has begun in us. (Philippians 1:6) To those of us who love God and are called according to His purpose, He is working all things together for our good and for His glory. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and we are freed from the law and its debt. (Romans 8:1-17) He is our shepherd, in Him we shall not want and He will lead us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23) He is jealous to conform our thinking to pure thoughts, godly thoughts, God-honoring thoughts that lead to God-honoring living. (Phillippians 4:8; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:5)
Though everything in our culture is screaming at us and trying to steep us in the depressing fallacy that there is no objective truth and truth is relative and you can determine your own truth, we can stand firm in the word of God which will stand the test of time and every wind of philosophy that wages a storm against it. (2 Corinthians 10:5; 1Peter 1:22-25
Our God is jealous for His own. Our God is redeeming a people and equipping us to live lives that honor Him and point others to Him and He frees us to live obediently and to be holy as He is holy. You see, that is an impossible command, to be holy as He is holy......apart from Christ. But all the promises of God are yes and have their amen in Christ, and He is sanctifying us and conforming us to His image. Religion foolishly says, “Work hard, try your best to obey and then you’ll be right with God.” Christianity, true biblical Christianity says, “I have been made righteous, therefore now He has enabled me to obey as a joyful servant, as a redeemed child of God.” I am thankful that God is jealous for His own, that He is actively conforming us to the image of His Son, and I know that the longer I walk with Him, the more I find my appetite for things that weigh me down by taking my eyes off of Him growing less. I am thankful for this, because I know that this is all of grace. 
And I have found much delight in these thoughts this week.


Leslie said...

Most people see jealousy as a negative attribute/characteristic. There's a big difference between 'jealous for' and 'jealous of'. But when God is jealous for me, it is good for me. Excellent thoughts this week!

Anonymous said...

Rebekah, I enjoyed this post - It found your blog through Leslie's Finding Delight - I'm still trying to figure out how it works so I can participate. I love the idea of sharing how we are delighting in God's Word, as it's so edifying.