The wounded heart of a jealous God

13 December 2017
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Growing up as a young man in the sixties and seventies, I heard several stories of how young men and women reacted to unrequited love. We heard several stories of crimes of passion. There was an author of crime fiction that was very popular. His name was Peter Cheyney.

He wrote that “hell has no fury like a woman scorned.” One of the things that can hurt us most in life is living and talking in such a way as to evoke divine jealousy over our lives. Moses had this warning clearly for the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 8:11-18 (NRSV) 11 Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. 12 When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, 16 and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. 17 Do not say to yourself, "My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth." 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today. The wounded heart of God is something that can be avoided because it can hurt us, our lives, our businesses and finances as well as our health and longevity.

We need to understand how one can evoke divine jealousy over his/her life. Take a person who is strong and healthy and hardly falls ill. That is a great blessing from the LORD. But if that person attributes his/her health to regular medical check-ups and the expertise of his/her physicians, he/she will evoke divine jealousy. There is nothing wrong in having regular medical check-ups with experienced and knowledgeable doctors. This is to be highly encouraged. But that is an instrument of good health not the source of it. Physical and breathing exercises, good food with fresh vegetables and more: all these are instruments of good health but not the source of it. God Almighty and the favors He dispenses is the only true source of all that is good in life and in the world. James 1:17-18 (NKJV) 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. .

I was there awhile ago when a young man became the head of his organization. His mounting of the saddle was greeted everywhere with a high degree of expectancy. It was like the people shouted: “Hurrah! The messiah has come.” During his first year in office, the company made a strident progress and laid solid foundations for future progress. At their first annual general meeting after his ascendancy, there was a great sense of euphoria that great things were ahead. But alas, the seed of death was sown there at that first annual general meeting. There came forward staff that sang his praise to high heavens. The company even arranged a young girl of about 12 years to sing his praise in a poem. I was also there at this first AGM. I could not help saying to myself under my breath: “This is wrong.” Soon after, the wounded heart of God began to be revealed and this young man left the company after a few years in total disgrace and humiliation rejected by his staff who saw his tyranny and high handedness as an insult to their loyalty and obedience.

I was also there somewhat when a company defied the odds to keep afloat in a very competitive business world. Then one day, they looked at their balance sheet and felt they needed to show gratitude to those who had helped them in order to encourage them the more, a policy which in itself was very good. But then, who did they thank first: it was those who awarded the contracts, those who signed their cheques and those who facilitated their business in one way or the other. The only person they forgot to thank was the true source of their sustenance - GOD. As I watched from the sidelines, I felt in myself that something was wrong about this gratitude but it was no use putting in any word for they were bent on their project. When the effect of the wounded heart of God set in, they were ready to learn how to be grateful in life.

The company that desired to show gratitude desired a good thing indeed. But they should have paused at the beginning to ask themselves: “In what way or ways should we show gratitude to God as an organization for what He has done for us through men and women in our business circle?” That question, coming from their heart would have gladdened the heart of the LORD and whatever token the Holy Spirit would have led them to do would have protected them from the dangerous effects of the vicissitudes of business life and from the consequences that come from the wounded heart of a jealous God.

As for the young chief executive who relished in personal praise, he has gone into the wilderness as a very strong warning from the LORD. He would need to repent in dust and ashes in order not to disappear completely into oblivion. His arrogance had risen as a horrible stench in the nostrils of God and heaven is determined to put an end to it.

 I have written in the past about divine jealousy because I have seen it hurt people, myself not excluded. I have warned individuals about the dangers of evoking divine jealousy in their life and business. The devil is always using others to lure us into these dangerous corners. But those others are not to blame. The LORD allows the trial to reveal what is in our hearts to us. This is why we must teach the protective power of repentance: Job 34:31-32 (NLT) 31 “Why don’t people say to God, ‘I have sinned, but I will sin no more’? 32 Or ‘I don’t know what evil I have done—tell me. If I have done wrong, I will stop at once’?” We must always remember that what got the prodigal son pardon and restoration from his father was what he said in his heart: Luke 15:17-20 (KJV) 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” In this year 2017 you and I must ask God for grace to come to our spiritual sense quickly in areas where we have erred so that we can go from the wounded heart of God to the compassionate and merciful heart of God. We must not allow pride or self-justification and self-righteousness to make us linger in rebellion to the LORD. King David knew how to go very quickly from God’s wounded heart to God’s compassionate heart. He said to Nathan the prophet: “I have sinned against the LORD.” Then Nathan quickly replied: “The LORD has forgiven your iniquity: you will not die (2 Samuel 12:13).” One of the popular wise sayings on commercial transport in the world I grew up in as a child was: “To err is human and to forgive divine.” The spiritually wise know better than to fight the finger of God’s judgment. Instead they learn how to fall before Him and plead His forgiveness, mercy and compassion as the only hope for their restoration.” Not every good person knows this truth. King Asa as good as he was did not see it (2 Chron. 16:7-12) neither did King Uzziah who superintended over 52 years of unparalleled success in Israel (2 Chron. 26:16-21. Their rule brought about great success and peace, but they both had a disgraced end. We can all learn from King David their great ancestor and from them.

God is able to make all grace abound toward you.

 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.(2nd Cor. 9:6-8)

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