Godly Jealousy?! Pt. 3 of 4

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Godly Jealousy?! Pt. 3 of 4

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we have learned that the 2nd of the Ten Commandments is founded on who God is and what God does.  It is composed of two decrees, a surprising fact, a warning and a promise.  Don’t make idols. Don’t bow down to idols. “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” God disciplines. God loves.  In order to understand godly jealousy, it is helpful to focus on what comes before and after God’s self-revelation.

Read: Deuteronomy 5:6-10

So far, we have focused on the two decrees and what they reveal about God and ourselves.  Who God is and what God does earns him the right to exclusive worship.  Human hearts are inclined to make idols and bow down to them.  Now therefore, let us consider God’s warning and his promise found in the rest of verses 9 and 10.  Disobedience has consequences, God’s love.  Faithfulness carries a great reward, God’s love.

1) God’s warning

To worship an idol is to shift our fear and put our trust on anything other than YHWH. Such false forms of worship have consequences. The natural outcomes of disobedience affect not only us, but also our children and their children.  No other god can deliver on its promises or love as our God does.  Therefore, idol worship springs forth many injustices. Because God is just, he must eliminate injustice.  Thankfully, in his mercy and love, he gives an abundance of warning.

God sent many prophets who risked their lives to proclaim God’s call for repentance.  Nevertheless, as we read in Exodus, God’s people were guilty of perpetual disobedience. Although God punished them, sometimes quite severely, he did not fully destroy his people.  Consider the penalty to Israel of being held captive by the Babylonians for 70 years. Among other sins, for 490 years they did not follow the commandment to let the land rest every 7th year.  Not only did God give his people plenty of warnings, but also he allowed them to go a long time before justly punishing them. Yet, God followed the discipline by making a way for his people to return to the land he had given them. This proves what God proclaims about himself:  “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Ex. 34:6 NIV

God’s love is expressed by His willingness to discipline.  Therefore, we should consider God’s warning in verse 9 to be a blessing, “punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”  You might wonder, “How could this be a blessing?” Hebrews 12:5-11 implores us to take God’s discipline seriously and to endure it because it is an expression of our identity as His sons and daughters.  God’s discipline is for our good and results in our ability to share in God’s holiness.  Discipline yields the “peaceful fruit of righteousness.”  Yet, as good as discipline is for us, God gives us plenty of warning before he punishes.

The warning in the second commandment might be difficult to accept, but once we study it we find that it has a rich purpose.  God warns us that incessant disobedience eventually deserves punishment.  Since we are all guilty of at some point making idols and/or worshiping idols, we are all deserving God’s discipline.  Paul exclaimed it in Rom. 3:23, “we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Were it not for the mediation of Jesus, we would not be able to receive God’s promise.  God’s love issues decrees to humble the proud and promises to exalt the humble.

2) God’s promise 

According to verse 10, faithfulness carries a great reward: “but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.” None of us can claim to keep His commandments perfectly.  Thus, God promises his steadfast love through the righteousness of Jesus.  The Hebrew word for this love, hesed, is rich in meaning. God promises his grace filed, merciful, faithful, good, eternal, committed, protective and loyal love.  Essentially God promises his loyalty and unmerited favor to the thousandth’s generation.  That is at least 13,000 years if you average a generation to 13 years.  This is fundamentally reassuring.

The relationship between God and his people really means something because God is totally committed to it. Such knowledge can move us to an appropriate response toward the self-revelation in the middle of Dt. 5:9-10, I am a jealous God.

In Part 4 of this series, we will conclude this study by examining how this self-revelation is a form of gospel, or good news.  It reflects the essence of God’s nature that propels Him to draw near in the person and deity of Jesus Christ.

See also Part 1Part 2 and Part 4 of the Godly Jealousy?! series.




About The Author
Ines Franklin
Ines Franklin
Ines Franklin is the president and founder of Trochia Ministries, an online Christian discipleship ministry. She is a lay teaching pastor at Mariners Church in Irvine. Ines completed a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary. She is also a graduate of The Masters Program, a member of The Barnabas Group, and board member of Relevate Group Inc. Her experience includes business management, sales, marketing and paralegal services. Ines is passionate about spreading the Gospel, caring for the poor and helping Christians mature in their faith. She regularly shares her personal testimony of God’s grace and redemption. Ines mentors young women and leads a women's Bible study group. Ines and her husband Jim live in Irvine, California and have a blended family of five children and six grandchildren. 
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  • Steve Philp
    April 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    God’s economy always is in balance!  For 490 years, the Israelites failed to let the land rest on the 7-year schedule, meaning that they missed 70 years of rest.  How long was the Babylonian captivity…70 years…coincidence?

    • trochiamoderator
      April 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      @ac8bcea57d8052ea97766c9fce9e3b7f:disqus I love he symbolism of the Hebrew Scriptures.  It aids in memorization and enhances the point being made.  They told stories with matched numerology to connect to other stories and principles.  God’s economy is indeed balance! 

  • Nicolegallagher82
    April 11, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    I have overcome addiction which was by being made free by the truth through the word, that i could not love thy lord thy god with all thy mind, soul , and strength while on a mind altering substance I also realized that I had made that drug an idol,I was under the stronghold that i had to have it to be happy or even function,but today I live for him in his complete rest and assured by his promises , I want for nothing and trust in him, We must realize as far as fleshly pleasures are concerned God spells real love S-A-C-R-I-F-I-C-E, look what he sacrificed for a relationship with us , his 1 and only beautiful Jesus

    • trochiamoderator
      April 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      @da99c95fb680590baf103fef06858564:disqus Your testimony is living proof of God’s redemptive power.  Thank you for sharing.  

  • Lassie1865
    May 18, 2012 at 3:18 am

    I agree!  Now, wouldn’t it be appropriate to remove the names of false idols from our “Biblical” vocabulary?

  • Lassie1865
    May 18, 2012 at 3:26 am

    I’ve really been thinking lately about some of our American “idols”:  the flag, our ‘temples’ to the departed, our obilisks, steeples, crosses, statues, our Statue of Liberty (a depiction of Athena, et al), our money, “American Idol”, our military, our political parties . . .

    • June 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm

      There is no shortage of idols is there?  Not everything that we value becomes an idol, but everything that we worship as an idol has been given value that only belongs to God.

  • Scarlett Hutchinson
    March 25, 2014 at 7:27 am


  • Judy Miller
    March 25, 2014 at 11:51 am


  • Arlene Moore
    March 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm


  • Nancy Maxwell Moore
    March 25, 2014 at 5:23 pm


  • Carmen M Colon
    March 25, 2014 at 6:30 pm


  • Joyce Thacker Mitchell
    March 26, 2014 at 7:13 am


  • Linda Dixon
    March 27, 2014 at 12:59 am

    That is funny this rock should be here like this. I was walking just the other day … and as I was looking down, there was a rock in almost a perfect heart shape. I was amazed. I really connect to hearts, and heart shaped things, and certain numbers. When I saw my heart rock, I now have next to a rock formation of a Cross in my front yard, I was “wowed” . . . I believe The Lord truely brings little things into our lives to show his love for us … if we “just notice” – – –

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