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God’s Jealous Love for Us Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Did you know that God loves you jealously? The Old Testament describes God as jealous for His people using the Hebrew word qanna. The Bible says that God is el qanna, or a jealous God. This is the word used in Psalm 69:9 where it says, “Zeal for His house will consume me.” This is not an improper jealousy. The Ten Commandments tell us not to covet our neighbor’s possessions. That is an improper jealousy because we desire something that does not belong to us. The jealousy that God has for His people is good and proper. Like the love of a mother for her child is good and proper. You wouldn’t allow anyone to show disrespect for your mother or your wife—you guard their honor because you are jealous for their honor. The exclusive relationship between a husband and wife is a jealous relationship. It is improper if we are jealous over normal relationships between our spouse and their family, friends, and coworkers. But we can and should be jealous over our special relationship that should not be shared. God desires a unique relationship with you. He is jealous for the love, the passion, and the longing that we owe to Him alone. He created us for this purpose, that we would have this relationship with Him. His jealousy over us is entirely proper. Imagine a husband who didn’t care that his wife flirted with many men, or a mother who didn’t feel that her child was special. God loves you with a jealous love. He is jealous for the love relationship that is proper between our Creator and us. You are not an accident! The eternal God, the Creator of the universe, knew you before you were born. He knows the number of hairs on your head. This awesome God is jealous over you. There is nothing he would not sacrifice for your sake. Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. This is what God did because He loves us jealously. 1. Jesus loved the church, the called out gathering, the congregation of believers. 2. Jesus gave Himself up for us, paying the price of our ransom with His own life. Bearing the full penalty of our sin on the cross, He bought us back from slavery to sin. 3. Jesus did this to make us holy, cleansing us by His Holy Spirit working through His word, and to present us to Himself as a beautiful, radiant bride.

Brothers and sisters, this is how God loves us. He is passionately jealous over us. He desires our love, our passion, and our longing. He doesn’t want to share that with anyone or anything else. In Deuteronomy 4:23, Moses warns the Israelites, “Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that He made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” God is not indifferent toward us. We are the apple of His eye. He is not lukewarm toward us. He did not give us easily on us. No, His is passionate for us and demonstrated the extent of His love by sending Jesus. Let’s examine ourselves for a moment. How do we love God in return? Are we passionate for Him? Do we long for Him? God did not create us for the purpose of doing things for Him. He does not need our help. Sometimes we may think that being passionate for God is about doing things for Him. No, our relationship with God is the end goal. It is an end of itself. Our “obeying” cannot be separated from our “knowing.” When you become a Christian, it is not so that you can do good things. No, when you become a Christian, the goal is to know Jesus more and more intimately. So that when we work and do things for Him, it is so that we can know His heart more. When we suffer for His sake, it is so that we can share in His sufferings. When you examine yourself, are you satisfied with your love for God? Today, I want to share three things the Bible says will help us to love God more passionately. 1. Invite Jesus in The first thing we must do if we want to love God more passionately is know Jesus. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then He will send His Holy Spirit to come and live in us. The Holy Spirit works in us to love God. Philippians 2:13 … for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He works in us so that we can know God more. Through the Holy Spirit, we can know the heart of God. The Holy Spirit gently leads us. He is like our spiritual nervous system so that we know what grieves God or what is dangerous for us. The Holy Spirit will lead us to pray, read the Bible, and obey God. If we obey the Holy Spirit, then we will become closer to God. 2. Repent of idols The second thing we must do is repent of idols in our lives. James 4:4-5

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? The “world” in this verse is not people, but the things of this world. God is jealous over us as a husband should be jealous over his wife. Would you want to share your wife with another man, or share your husband with another woman? 1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The “things of this world” fall into three categories: 1. The cravings of sinful man are our physical cravings. It is not wrong for a man to be physically attracted to a woman, but that physical desire should not control our lives. It is not wrong to enjoy food, but we must not live for food. The devil takes normal things and twists them so that what God made to be good becomes a trap for us. 2. The lust of our eyes is our desire for things that we do not have. When you go to the mall, you need to remember that the lust of your eyes is not from God. You will never be satisfied with material things. You will never have enough. 3. The boasting of what he has and does is our pride in ourselves—our goodness, our abilities, our position, and our accomplishments. This is not from God. John says that there is not room in our hearts for these things and for God also. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” We have to choose who we give our love to. Be jealous over your relationship with God! Guard your heart. Examine yourself. What excites you? What do you daydream about? What do you spend most of your time on? God is not satisfied with a profession of love from our lips. He wants hearts that are ablaze with love for Him. Jesus told a parable of a merchant who found a perfect pearl when in the marketplace. The pearl was so unique and beautiful that the merchant went and sold everything he had so that he could purchase the pearl. Brothers and sisters, your relationship with God is precious. Value it above everything else. Jealously guard your heart because you’re keeping it for God. Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

3. Seek Jesus Finally, to love God more, we must seek Him. God says, “Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.” We need to feel our spiritual need first, then seek God. If you are grieved because you don’t love God as you should, this is a good sign. It means that you have spiritual hunger. I’m not worried about the starving man who is hungry. I’m worried about the starving man who is no longer hungry. Jesus told the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In that story, the father always loved his son. But it was only when the son repented and sought his father that they were reunited. Similarly, God loves us passionately. But He is waiting for us to turn to Him. There are things you can do to seek God. Take time to pray every day. Commune with Him. Read the Bible and listen to what God is telling you. Listen to praise and worship music. Put Ps. Lao’s CDs in your car. Revelation 2:2-5 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Jesus warned the church in Ephesus. They were faithful believers, but they had lost their first love. Revelation 3:19-20 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Will you open the door for Jesus today? Do you want to love God passionately and long for Him?