Isaiah 26:1–6, Psalm 18:1–9, Nehemiah 6:15–16
Strength is measured in many ways. When you’re the one being attached, often it is by fists (or equivalent). Another way is deterrent. In other words, what will be the cost to attack? When a strong city is called out, it is a city that, yes, can defend itself. It is also a city that others would not want to attack. This particular city, Jerusalem, had God as its ultimate defense.
What country or military power would want to attack God? This was the hope of the Israelites, that God would protect them.
God does want to protect those who love God, and worship and honor God. The phrasing, however, gets odd when we talk about jealousy. Jealousy always seems to be bad. Even when we say God has a jealous love for us, it sounds bad.
Rev. George Harrison calls jealousy the shadow of love. That doesn’t sound much better. However, he notes that what we often call jealousy is actually love corrupted by envy. True jealousy—or righteous jealousy—is when wholesome love and devotion are denied, betrayed, or destroyed.
God, then, is jealous when the love due by right (as Creator) and relationship (whether Israelite, Christian or the not quite) is no longer. God’s jealous love is the heart of one betrayed. As the one whose love is faithful and never-changing, God would do just about anything for those God loves.
1) Re-read the last paragraph. What sign do we have of this?
2) Re-read the scriptures with this understanding of God’s jealous love. Does your understanding change?
3) What is important to understand God’s jealous love and our lives, and how we live them?