Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Jealous God

When I was in seminary, we used to begin most classes with prayer.  One day, a fellow student (who was about twenty years older than the rest of us) asked for prayer for his family.  His teenaged daughter had been dating a boy who was very possessive and controlling, and the father had forced her to break up with him.  Since that time, the boy had been stalking his daughter.  At night, he would pull his car up to the curb outside her house and just sit there, as if to say, “You can’t get away from me that easily.  I’ll still be here.”  In my youth, I knew several guys like that.  Even at that age, I wondered what drew girls to these kinds of guys.  These were often attractive, otherwise intelligent, promising young women who allowed themselves to become the personal property of loser-stalker teenaged boys.  I have a theory why they do this, which you can ask me about sometime if you’re interested.  For now, let me just say to any young women who happen to be reading this: If a guy becomes obsessed with you, if you see that he is the jealous type, run—don’t walk—away from him.  I know it’s flattering to be the very center of someone else’s universe, to feel like they can’t live without you.  But nothing good will come out of such a relationship.  That boy doesn’t love you.  He wants to own you.  You deserve better.  And young men, when your girlfriend breaks up with you...GET. OVER. IT.  It has happened to all of us, and we survived.  It will happen to you again, probably multiple times.  By the way, that girl’s parents have a much bigger claim on her than you do.  They love her in ways that you cannot possibly comprehend until God blesses you with kids of your own.  You do not want to make them angry.  Trust me on this one.
            Right now, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this.  All this year, I’m preaching on the attributes of God.  We’ve talked about His holiness. We’ve talked about His incarnation as Jesus, who changed our world forever.  But for the next four weeks, I want to talk about an attribute that we don’t typically pay a lot of attention to: The jealousy of God.  When I think about the term “jealous,” I immediately think of stories like the one I started with.  Is God really like a loser-stalker teenaged boy?  This Sunday, we'll look at Exodus 34:12-14, one of several passages in which God calls Himself a jealous God.  We will see how God's jealousy differs from the kind we often feel.  We'll see, in fact, why we should rejoice in a God who is jealous for us.  And we'll see how the story of my seminary friend and the teenaged stalker ended.  I hope you'll be there. 


Anonymous said...

Hi, Jeff. One of those passages about God being jealous is earlier, Exodus 20:5. God showed me this verse almost two decades ago, to tell me why my family was a dysfunctional mess. He showed me that I was one step in that curse, doing to my family what had been done to me. Further, He showed me that my parents were as much victims as I was. It was then that I vowed before Him to do whatever was necessary to make my life a blessing rather than a curse. I began a journey with Him that has us where we are today, ministering to dysfunctional men, helping them repair and rebuild their lives. We work with nearlywed couples covering issues to give them a better start after the wedding. God can take a mess and make a masterpiece!

Jeff Berger said...

Great, great testimony! Thanks for sharing it.