Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 38

Jealous??

February 8 – Today’s Readings – Exodus 34-36 and Psalms 38

Chapter 34:14 jumped out at me this morning – “for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

We nearly always associate jealousy with something extremely negative – abusive – violent – envious – controlling – lacking personal boundaries – domineering – etc.

Somehow I think our definitions have become confused. Let’s redefine the word “jealous” for the purposes of clear Biblical understanding. When you have a relationship with someone, you naturally watch over it, making sure you are fostering an atmosphere that will help the relationship stay solid – you cultivate and weed “your garden”. You are protective of the home and family God has blessed you with, trying to keep evil influences from spoiling a blessed thing. In a Church, the leaders should be “jealous’” to make sure that no one is deceiving God’s people with false doctrine or ungodly conduct. In a marriage, every effort should be made by the couple to safeguard the sacred vows they have made.

When we are “married” to the Lord, He too will watch over us and guard this sacred relationship. If we drift towards “other gods, He will be quick to remind us of His love and that all we really need is Him. I personally find this very comforting – that my Lord would be protective of our relationship – that my wife would be protective of our relationship – that the Pastor would be protective of the Church – that our Prime Minister would be protective over the security of our nation. There is confidence in knowing that people who care are concerned so as to continually invest in these relationships and to not just let them drift or die. Show me a relationship that is allowed to drift in any direction without effort invested to keep it on track and I’ll show you a relationship that is moving towards destruction. When relationships are valuable to us, they are worthy of an investment of time, effort and money – anything it takes for it to survive and thrive. This is “good” jealousy. There is a twisted and warped kind of jealousy that exists in our society, but as usual it is just a sad, demonic counterfeit for something good that God created for us.

Thank God that His name is “Jealous” – where would we be if He did not watch over us!

Questions:

1. Think of a time when God’s “jealousy” protected you from harm.
2. Tell of a situation where godly jealousy saved a human relationship. (Please don’t use real names.)

God Repents?

August 8 – Today’s Readings – Jeremiah 34-36 and Psalms 38

Even though The Lord was in the process of planning and executing great judgment against Jerusalem, Judah and Israel, He seemed quite willing to change his mind when the people began to show signs of repentance – they started freeing slaves who should have been let go a long time before. In response, God had the Babylonians back off from the City of Jerusalem for a time. The “repentance” didn’t last however and the people once again forced the one-time slaves into bondage. At this point, God sent Jeremiah to reinforce all the words of judgment he had previously spoken –

“Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to his countrymen. You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name. But now you have turned around and profaned my name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again. ‘Therefore, this is what the LORD says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom for your fellow countrymen. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the LORD—‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Jeremiah 34:15- 17)

“I will hand Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials over to their enemies who seek their lives, to the army of the king of Babylon, which has withdrawn from you. I am going to give the order, declares the LORD, and I will bring them back to this city. They will fight against it, take it and burn it down. And I will lay waste the towns of Judah so no one can live there.” (Jeremiah 34:21-22)

This scenario reoccurs in Scripture. God seems ready to change His mind concerning His sentence of judgment if only people will repent. Nineveh (Book of Jonah) is one of the best examples of this Biblical pattern but there are many others. You and I also had a sentence of death upon us because of our separation from God. It seems that in the case of judgment, God would always love to change His mind. Mercy is far and away His preference.

How’s your “mercy” factor coming along? Are you willing to “relent” if a person who sinned against us is showing fruits of repentance? I hope so. Are we willing to take a step further and release people like Jesus did?

Questions:

1. Give another example from Scripture where God changed His mind concerning judgment He was about to dispense?
2. What was the reason God changed His mind?

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