Exodus 20:5a ~ "You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God."
As the Lord delivered His people from their enslavement in Egypt, bringing them through the Red Sea and leading them with a pillar of cloud and fire across the wilderness, He provided for them the moral requirements to live in fellowship with Him.
One of those requirements was to maintain an exclusive relationship with Him. In the land of Canaan where they were going, the nations of that land were rife with all manner of gods with practices that were abhorrent to Yahweh. In fact, all other so-called gods of man's imagination are reprehensible to the Almighty. And so, in the second commandment, God forbid the worship of anything of man's crafting--even if their desire was to worship the true God with their carved images. And the Lord gives the reason why--He is a jealous God.
Imagine, for a moment, being in the camp of Israel and led of God out of bondage in Egypt. God fed them, kept them, protected them, guided them and He required that they turn to no other God but Him. Then, imagine, that at the first opportunity, the nation delivered by God turned their attentions to the pagan and worthless idols of the lands around them. Should that not raise the jealousy of the Lord?
Believer in Christ, you have been delivered from the bondage and enslavement of sin through the sacrificial love of God in Christ Jesus. He came to rescue you, paying for your crimes against the Almighty, and freeing you from the "Egypt" of the dominion of darkness. You were bought with a price (see 1 Corinthians 7:23) and the Lord God, Jesus Christ, still requires an exclusive relationship with His redeemed.
And yet, have you adopted the idolatries of the world in your worship of the Lord? Many have. There are those who look to the world's entertainment, excitement and enthusiasm for the next expressive thing, and believe it must be adopted into the church for the purpose of worshiping God "better." The idols of the world may not be carved today, but they are no less detestable to God.
I recall one pastor who informed his congregation that their music team needed to be able to "perform better than Hollywood" because the world would never want to come to a church that was "boring." And so entered the idol of entertainment. If ever we look to the world for the guiding principles of our fellowship with God, we are embracing idols. And God, who is still a jealous God, will rebuke His people.
Beloved, look to the word of God and do not go beyond what is written (see 1 Corinthians 4:6). If you are born again, you are to walk exclusively with Christ and have no fellowship with worldliness. 1 John 2:15 warns, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
Jesus, our Lord, clearly taught that we cannot obey two masters. "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Matthew 6:24).
Just as Israel departed the Almighty to worship the carved images of the world, so many of those who call themselves Christians have departed their true relationship with the Lord Jesus to embrace the philosophies and ideologies and practices of the world.
Let that not be said of you.
However, if you do find that you have departed from your pure devotion to Christ (see 2 Corinthians 11:3), our God is a tender and merciful Savior who will receive you back into fellowship with Him if you only repent. Let nothing of this fallen world hold any attraction to you. Let your love and affection be given over to the Savior who loved you with an everlasting love and showed you His love in taking upon Himself the very punishment of your sins (see Romans 5:8).
Our God is a jealous God. Our God is a merciful Savior. How will you experience Him?
In His Grace,
From the Mountains to the Sea
Every step we take on this journey called life ought to be used for greater understanding. I've lived from the mountains to the sea, and this blog is my personal thoughts and observations with a desire for Biblical understanding. Welcome.