God Jealous? Really? (Part 2)

If you haven’t read part one, don’t worry. Here’s a quick recap to save you some time:

The Bible says the reason we should follow the 2nd commandment is because God is a jealous God. This didn’t jive with me. I kind of tossed it aside and moved on. Thus, part two.

Over the past week, I kept thinking about the following passage (shortened slightly to help with clarity):

“Thou shalt not bow down…or serve them…for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of [those who] hated me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandment.” ~Ex. 20:5,6

I went back to these verses several times this week, and now, I’d like to share what I discovered. This passage shows that bowing down to other things is abandoning a true love of God. Love is what impels obedience, and a lack of love leads to disobedience and even worse perfunctory obedience.

The notion of a “jealous” God is fueled by a belief that God is an amped up super-human kind of being. One Bible commentary pointed out that God doesn’t tolerate something else getting the devotion and honor that belongs to God. Doesn’t this sound exactly like a jealous boyfriend when his girlfriend is socializing with another guy?

This explanation of God in the Old Testament is not correct when you look at the whole Bible. Only the Old Testament describes God as a jealous God. This concept of God isn’t mentioned or implied in the New Testament at all. The New Testament illumines the importance of this commandment, but with a pure emphasis on love: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” Mark 12:30 thou (to 🙂.

Thinking of God as being jealous associates God with a human personality that swings between joy to anger depending on what people do. This is not a helpful way to view God. It robs prayer of its effectiveness, which is wholly based on God as a the unchangeable, supreme, infinite, good, and only creator. This is the foundation of Christian Science healing.

The consequences for not being obedient to the second commandment explained in Exodus isn’t so much God’s jealousy and wrath, but rather what we do to ourselves. It’s not dissimilar to shooting ourselves in the foot, or forgetting all about the light switch while confined in a dark room. The text around the second commandment in the Old Testament is about why we sometimes slide, what happens when we do, and how to get back on track. When we look at the text in this way, it is indeed helpful in demonstrating a consistent and effective practice of Christianity.

I decided to no longer have a public comment section. I would rather talk to each individual privately. Please feel free to send your comment or questions to me using the contact page. 

Who Made Sunday So Special?!

Sunday“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”

Why is Sunday the Sabbath? Sure, the Bible says: “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord…” (Ex. 20:9,10). What if you start your work on Saturday? Then, Friday would be the Sabbath. Thoughts like this got me thinking that perhaps the Bible is alluding to something actually much more profound, meaningful, and practical. Let’s take a look:

The sabbath day is woven in the creation story into the first chapter of Genesis. After God finished His work on the sixth day the Bible records something very important. God sees everything He did, and it is very good (See Gen 1:31). The seventh day is where God rests, blesses and hallows this important day (See Gen 2:2,3 and See Ex 20:11).

I had an experience as I was thinking about this commandment. I was praying for a few days about a particular problem. This prayer was like an insistent, but humble, protest for truth. I stood fast, felt God’s presence, and was persistent. There was progress, but a complete resolution hadn’t occurred. Then, I remembered on the sixth day God saw all that he created, and behold it was good (see Gen 1:31). That’s the reason he could rest on the seventh day–He saw what He created as perfectly good. Nothing needed to be added, nor anything deleted.

At that point, my prayer changed. It became a simple prayer of genuine gratitude — seeing what God created and beholding how precious and how good it really is. Then, I was able to rest. I felt peace. I was content. I went and played with my kids. 😀

The next day was a definite sabbath moment for me. Everything was resolved. Good was restored. It was a new day, a truly blessed and hallowed day. The prayer had an absolute effect. I remembered my prayerful work, and the time I spend beholding the good that God had made with gratitude. I relished in this wonderful experience almost all day.

Remembering the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, means something much more than a Sunday celebration to me now. It’s the moments of genuine gratitude that keep the work we do framed entirely on God. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6).

This activity of gratitude keeps the work we do holy, and brings complete healing that’s fixed and unshakable.

I would love to read your thoughts on this commandment. Feel free to comment below, or to send a private message.

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Commandment Series: Enlightening my eyes

I love this line from Psalms:

“The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” ~Ps 19:8

For the next few weeks, this blog is going to focus on the Commandments. I could use a brushing up on the Commandments and I’m looking forward to seeing what inspiration unfolds. You are all welcome to come along for the ride, if you wish. Just subscribe.

Since the first Commandment is the one that gets the most attention, and the one that seems to me to encompass all the rest, that one will be last. Also, I’m probably not going to go in order. I’m going to let inspiration guide which one to blog about next. Finally, I’m not sure how fast or how slowly I will be writing these, it depends on so many factors that I am unable to predict.