“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. Therefore say, “Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.”’” “You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” Numbers 25:10-13; Exodus 20:5
“While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.” The heathen Moabites harassed the Israelites with their wiles, and beguiled them into sexual impurity and idol worship of false gods, and their jealous God would not have it. They were His betrothed, and He would not let them pander to another lover, so He executed harsh judgment through His brave servant Phinehas. What moves me in this story is the peace that was brought in this ugliest of sin and harshest of judgments, peace through atonement wrought by righteous jealousy. (Numbers 25:1-3,18)
Do I grasp God’s jealousy for me, and relish it, or balk at the high expectations that attend His love? His righteous jealousy is vastly different from what we as humans feel. The motive is what distinguishes His love-filled yearning over our souls for goodness and abounding joy from our coveting, often in impulsive or passionate desire, for our own temporal pleasure. His jealous yearning over us is great proof of His amazing, boundless love, yet again and again we can shirk Him to be free into our own devices, shaking Him off and dashing ourselves on the rocks of emptiness and purposelessness.
How jealous am I for my great God and His glory? For my loved ones to live for Him and be untainted by the world? Do I pray with fervency, jealous for God’s honor in our government, churches, communities, homes and marriages? How do I live differently, knowing my loving God is jealous for me, that He is constantly interceding for me and wooing me away from sin? (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)
“To serve the present age, my calling to fulfill:
Oh, may it all my powers engage to do my Master’s will! Arm me with jealous care, as in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare a strict account to give!” ~Charles Wesley (1762)
Lord, make me a Phinehas, wholeheartedly and jealous for You and Your people. May the way I live each day not only guard, but promote Your glory among my world.