I remember hearing years ago about Oprah’s turning away from mainline Christian faith into her confusing mixture of new age beliefs. She was sitting in church and heard the preacher say something about God being a jealous God. She thought to herself that if God was jealous of her, what kind of insecure god is that? She ventured away from traditional views of God and into a nebulous tangle of self-deifying thinking.
I think she misunderstood. I agree that the word jealous usually has negative connotations. I was taught growing up that it’s not good to be jealous. Someone should have told Oprah that God isn’t jealous of her as if He wants to be her, He is jealous of her attention. He wants her heart and life to be centered on Him and not other things or people.
I caught a glimpse of what this means tonight. I have these revelations in the oddest places in the strangest timing sometimes. I was standing in a concert enjoying beautiful, awesome worship music with thousands of other enthusiastic people when I got clearer understanding about this.
I have some hurt over people in my life who have held me at arm’s length or refused my initiations at love or interaction. When I see them react positively to others and not to me, I feel jealous. I want that attention and love. I felt God say that is how He has felt with me lately.
I have allowed myself to get caught up in busyness for a while now. I’ve been restless and my prayer times have been short and kind of perfunctory. I know that what I need and really want most is that nearness to God but I keep allowing other things take my attention and time away. I don’t understand why I do it either and have felt very frustrated with myself.
Tonight I heard God tell me that He’s a jealous God and He wants my attention. He doesn’t want me to hold Him at arm’s length, saying “later, God” or “I need to do this first” or “I want to give my attention to this instead.”
Can He forgive me for the fourteen-millionth time? He said “Yes.”
Tonight at the concert Louie Giglio reminded us that extravagant worship happens when we are faced with God’s extravagant grace. I fully agree. When I remember my place and what God has done for me, His mercy and patience extended to me over and over again, the only reaction I can give with full sincerity is thankfulness and worship.
I prayed that the other relationship I long to have restored will be someday, but also that I will be thankful I have a jealous God who even notices I’m alive, much less wants me to spend time with Him and live in close relationship with Him.