(Here is a piece I wrote for the Interactive Bible Reading.... thought you might enjoy!)
Deuteronomy 5, Psalms 95
Since we have already studied the giving of the Ten Commandments, I wanted to focus today on the 2nd commandment, verse 7, which states, “You shall have no other gods before me.” This commandment addresses the jealousy of God, spoken of in Deut 4:24 “For the Lord Your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” I would say that this commandment is the hardest for me to follow. Daily I find my loyalty to God being challenged by the idols of self, consumerism, and instant gratification. What comes to your mind when you read that our Lord is jealous, or a consuming fire? Recently I watched a video clip where Oprah discussed why she created her own persona of god. In her mid-twenties, while attending her Baptist Church, Oprah heard preached, that God was love and merciful and jealous. She didn’t understand how our God could be jealous, so she went on a quest to “open her mind … to that what we call god.” You can watch that video here if you would like.
So, what does the jealousy of God really mean? According to Webster’s Dictionary, the two definitions that best fit God are, “(1) Solicitous (considerate) to defend the honor of; concerned for the character of, (4) intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness.” When I try and comprehend God’s jealousy, I’m reminded of my marriage commitment. My husband would rightly be jealous if he saw my loyalty drifting to another man and his emotions would arise out of protection for me. Similarly, God can be righteously jealous when we give our reverence and worship to other false gods. That false god impedes our closeness and intimacy with Him. God alone created us; He has every right to be jealous for our worship. Are there any idols in your life taking the place God rightfully deserves? How will you cast down that idol worship today?
If Oprah were to ask you what the jealousy of God means, what would you say?
What is important about the Ten Commandments?
Which of the Ten Commandments is the hardest for you to obey?
What is the consequence for following other gods? (6:14-15)
Are you struggling with understanding an attribute or characteristic of God? If so, commit to studying the scriptures this week and share what you’ve discovered.