Advent 15: Absolute Jealousy (or Accept No Substitute)

“…you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” – Exodus 34:14 (ESV)

The absoluteness of God makes some people uncomfortable.  It is far easier to box Him up, limit Him in a way that fits our own desires and bents and present the Lord as a somewhat watered-down substitute of Who He is in His fullness. To do so is to make our own god (little “g”) that we can easily digest, who meets our whims and lives within the boundaries we set.

The problem is, in creating our own “god”, we make not a deity but an idol.  And what a slap in the face of the Almighty!  The problem with worshipping a boxed-up god is that we will be let down.  There are times we get upset or angry with God because He didn’t answer a prayer the way we expected or wanted Him to.  When things are tough and we’re hurting or reeling or confused and punch-drunk from all the blows we’ve been dealt, it can be very easy to blame God.

Here is the truth: God is God, and we are not.  God is going to do what God is going to do.  And while we have His Word and His promises, we must remember that God works perfectly – in timing and substance.  Consider the words of the psalmist:

1  Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord, give praise, O servants of the Lord, 2 who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God! 3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant! 4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession. 5 For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. 6  Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. 7  He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,who makes lightnings for the rainand brings forth the wind from his storehouses. – Psalms 135:1-7 (ESV)

God is the Great I AM.  And, despite what some want to believe, there is only one way to God:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” – John 14:6-7 (ESV)

When we are seeking God, there is a sense that we are seeking enlightenment and truth.  But notice that Jesus tells us there is only one way to God.  Jesus is not one way, one truth and one life.  His statement is absolute: Jesus is The Way, The Truth, The Life.

The Truth of God is not so simple.  Hence the requirement of faith.  If we reason all there was to know about God and figure Him out with mere human logic and fact, faith would be useless.  What God wants is for us to seek Him first and foremost.  Not an idol that represents our favorite parts of God.  Not the parts that make sense.  While God doesn’t expect us to abandon our intelligence (He gave us a brain for a reason!), He does expect us to lean on Him and seek Him – all of Him – in faith and trust.  Because when we build a box in which to contain God, we are creating an idol, a pale substitute for Who He truly is.

Ephesians 5:22-23 points out that Christ is the Bridegroom and we are His bride.  Now, when one gets married, we accept our spouse warts and all.  Even the parts we don’t like.  I am not saying there are any warts on God’s side of the relationship, but I will say that we humans are practically toads for all our warts.  Still, the Lord meets us where we are – despite our sin and shame, He loves us warts and all.  Who are we to accept a substitute god who is any less that the One True God, Who has given all for us?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s