(Article for publication week of 1-25-2012 AD)
“For I the Lord thy God Am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:5b-6).
Our text is the reason annexed to the Second Commandment wherein Jehovah requires us to worship Him in the way that He has prescribed. The prohibition against worshipping God through the art and device of men includes a prohibition against worshipping God through any man made form. God commands us to worship Him exclusively in the First Commandment, and only as He directs in the Second Commandment. Our worship of God is regulated by the plain commandments in His Word, clear precedents in the scripture, and by necessary consequences of these. God is perfect in all His ways, and has a right to command the worship of Himself. Thus we are told that He is a “jealous” God.
Jealousy in and of itself is not a bad thing. It is right and proper for a man to be jealous of his wife’s affections and for the purity of his children. It is good and needful that free men be jealous of their liberties. There is nothing improper or sinful of jealousy when exercised in these ways. (Although we have to recognise that our best deeds are tainted by indwelling sin, and we must therefore be zealous that we avoid sin even in our righteous behaviour.)
God’s jealousy is perfectly holy and righteous as He Himself is. God has a right to demand that His intelligent creatures worship Him, and Him only, and only in the way He commands and regulates. Thus the Second Commandment gives a sober warning to all those who ignore God’s holy precepts. God is rightfully jealous of anybody or anything that competes with Him for our worship and affections. This makes idolatry in all its subtle ways to be a despicable and hell-deserving thing.
My dear friends, you had better get in dead earnest about the worship of God. If you are not worshipping God only, and only in the way He has commanded, you are in a dangerous situation. Unless you humble down, and start worshipping the only true God, you are bound for hell. You had better repent of your pride and arrogance, and quit questioning God’s right to tell you what to do.
There is a prominent celebrity from Mississippi who (I have read) said she made up her mind she would not worship a jealous God, and has (again, so I have read) started her own religion, so-called. The best I can tell it is a strange mixture of the truncated Christianity she was raised in, and eastern religion. Whatever, she has renounced Biblical Christianity and started her own cult. Now, I am going to tell you plainly that if you refuse to worship the only true God, Who is jealous, you can go on to hell with her, for that is exactly where she is going along with everybody else that refuses to worship God in His way.
God is a jealous God