Category: Opinion

How to Face a Jealous God

How to Face a Jealous God

“If jealousy is a deadly sin, isn’t God sinful, since He is a jealous God?”

 

Premise One: God is a Jealous God.

Nahum 1: 2 tells us, “A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; the LORD is avenging and wrathful.
The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies.a)Scripture quotations are from The New American Standard Bible: 1995 (The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA)

This is verified in Exodus 20:5. “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me…”

Premise One is verified. God is a jealous God.

Premise: Jealousy is a deadly sin.

What are the seven “deadly sins?” They are also listed as the capital or cardinal sins. They are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

 

There are seven cardinal sins listed by Thomas Aquinas.

Some confusion enters our argument as envy is considered as a synonym for jealousy. A valid argument must have clearly defined terms.

In the New Testament, jealousy and envy come from very different words.b)jealousy is ζη̂λος and envy is φθόνος Jealousy is similar to zealous. Envy is “the feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others”c)W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 204. In this argument, jealousy is not interchangeable with envy. Even mere humans can be jealous without sin, as in the practice of loyalty between one husband and one wife in marriage.

A holy God can display a holy zeal without sin, so the argument fails.d)“…unfaithfulness would result in judgment since the LORD … is a jealous God (cf. 4:24; 5:9; 32:16, 21). This means He is zealous to protect what belongs to Him alone. Jealousy in this sense is ethically right. Jealousy in the sense of envy for another’s possessions or privileges is, of course, wrong. [Jack S. Deere, “Deuteronomy,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 275.]

Divine jealousy should also be defined as a zealous intolerance of God’s enemies. There is only one true God. To demand that He must tolerate other gods is nonsense. When sin desires to rule our lives, God tells us that He alone serves as Lord and King and Master. Those who say that God’s jealousy is sinful are simply saying that His intolerance of sin is sinful. That is plainly an absurd and self-contradictory statement. The argument fails again.

Premise Two fails. Envy, not jealousy, is one of the cardinal sins.

There is also some further vagueness in the argument, in that Premise One is based upon Old Testament scripture and Premise Two is based upon New Testament scripture. In order to clarify the conclusion, we will concede that the eternal unchanging God is just as zealous in the New as He is in the Old. We do not have a contradiction of two different gods: a vengeful God of the Hebrews bible versus the loving God of the Christian bible.

Secret Hidden Premises Fail

However, we need to notice something about those Old Testament passages. In order to create a contradiction, it was necessary to limit the context of both passages in Nahum 1 and Exodus 20.

Look at the fuller reading of Nahum 1.

2 A jealous and avenging God is the LORD;
The LORD is avenging and wrathful.
The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries,
And He reserves wrath for His enemies.
3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power,
And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.

Then look at the fuller reading of Exodus 20.

5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Now we need to understand the reason for leaving out “slow to anger” and “showing lovingkindness to thousands” in these scriptures. They were left out because the argument presumes that God is not good. The argument against God’s goodness is based upon Scripture that indicates that God is good and patient and loving and kind!

If God is independently good, as so many people say that He is, then there is another false statement secretly hidden in the assumed presumption. The person making the argument may feel that God is evil, but this argument does nothing to prove this unspoken belief. It is a matter of faith. The argument fails again because of a presumption that is not proven by the argument.

Faith in a bad god is very different than proving the nonexistence of all gods.

Facing God

If God is omnipotent, He has the power to destroy His enemies.

If God is good, He will demonstrate absolute justice in distribution of His wrath. No innocent party will ever be harmed as a result of God’s wrath.

The conclusion is simple. Do not be the enemy of God.

Because of His great love, God offers forgiveness and salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good that He offers reconciliation even to His enemies. You cannot deny the goodness of God. Don’t refuse the love of God.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.e)New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Co 5:17–21.

 

References   [ + ]

a. Scripture quotations are from The New American Standard Bible: 1995 (The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA)
b. jealousy is ζη̂λος and envy is φθόνος
c. W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 204.
d. “…unfaithfulness would result in judgment since the LORD … is a jealous God (cf. 4:24; 5:9; 32:16, 21). This means He is zealous to protect what belongs to Him alone. Jealousy in this sense is ethically right. Jealousy in the sense of envy for another’s possessions or privileges is, of course, wrong. [Jack S. Deere, “Deuteronomy,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 275.]
e. New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Co 5:17–21.
How to Be Deplorable

How to Be Deplorable

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton insulted American voters by categorizing many of them as a “basket of deplorables”.  She did this on both Saturday and Sunday.

One of the reactions has been to call her speech “hate speech”. Therefore, she offered an apology for her choice of words.

However, I may agree with many of the words that she used. I have observed that some Donald’s Trump supporters actually do hate people of other races, nationalities and ethnicity.

And then I think that Mrs. Clinton was ill, possibly running a fever, when she made the statements.

Donald Trump has been accused of speaking his mind plainly. He is also been credited with “telling it like it is”. The fact is that Donald Trump simply speaks his mind, he talks like a lot of Americans talk, off-the-cuff, casually, emotionally. I don’t think he is particularly skillful at presenting the truth in an understandable fashion. He certainly doesn’t sound like a New York billionaire. (Cue “Green Acres” theme song.)

Followers of Jesus Christ must be different. Let’s not be conformed to any of this. Let’s be Spirit-transformed people who will transform our culture by the presence of God’s Spirit in our own lives. Some people may find us deplorable. So what.

Let’s Be More Reasonable With Each Other

Let’s Be More Reasonable With Each Other

Recently, a friend posted:

Reasonable people can see the same facts and come to different conclusions.

People can be wrong without being stupid, deluded or evil.

If you have opinions, you should actively seek the best and most principled people who disagree with them to test whether you are correct.

If your argument takes the form of “the same people who say thing X also say thing Y and that makes them hypocritical” you’re only attacking the worst advocates of thing X, rather than making a good case for what you believe.

Do not be scared of changing your mind. If seeing solid counter-arguments to a thing you believe in upsets you, then you have an emotional investment in the thing you believe in and that’s usually quite a bad idea.

Let’s be more reasonable with each other.

I would define my friend as an atheist from England. He was probably posting about the opinions of those supporting and opposing the recent  referendum by British voters to exit the European Union.

However, I like his advice for open-mindedness in general, like a set of rules for any open debate.

  1. Expect others to arrive at their own conclusions.
  2. Presuppose good will and intelligence. Demonstrate respect and humility.
  3. Acknowledge that the person with the worst opinions and weakest arguments may not typically represent everyone that opposes you.
  4. Ally yourself with a conscientious worthy opponent and examine what you believe.
  5. Override personal emotional attachment to your conclusion.
  6. If an opposing argument is valid, adopt the new conclusion and revise your previous viewpoint.
Are Church Elections Biblical?

Are Church Elections Biblical?

smooth-shepherd

In a church election, the physically attractive candidate is most likely to be elected.

 Do you look at things from the outward appearance?
[2 Corinthians 10:7]

The Deacon board and voting membership will believe with all their heart that they are looking for a candidate who knows the word of God, prays fervently, preaches effectively and has a heart to take the gospel into all the world. The nominating committee will convince you that they were led by the Spirit of God. The church board will know that they know that they have heard the voice of God.

Perhaps most people are not even aware that they are choosing the most physically attractive person, but who doesn’t want a tall and handsome person as the face of your fellowship to the community?

I am suggesting that Christians mistake physical attraction for the leading of the Spirit. They do it with gusto. They make whole-hearted high-stakes decisions this way.

The congregation is a flock, and they will follow like sheep. They will follow a leader because of his appearance and eloquence before they will follow a leader because of his spiritual qualifications for ministry.

sheep


samuel was rejected

But the thing was evil in the eyes of Samuel, because they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in relation to all that they say to you. For it is not you they have rejected, but Me they have rejected from reigning over them.
[First Samuel 8:6,7]

Israel was motivated by pagan nations

But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But surely a king will be over us!  So that we also will be like all the nations! And so that our king will govern us, and will go out before us, and will fight our battles.”
[First Samuel 8:19,20]

Saul was an attractive person

Kish… had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a better looking man among the children of Israel. From his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.
[First Samuel 9:1,2]

Samuel nearly made the same mistake

 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees. For man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
[First Samuel 16:7]

God’s criteria are different than men’s criteria

26 For observe your calling, brothers. Among you, not many wise men according to the flesh, not many mighty men, and not many noble men were called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. 28 And God has chosen the base things of the world and things which are despised. Yes, and He chose things which did not exist to bring to nothing things that do, 29 so that no flesh should boast in His presence.
[First Corinthians 1:26-29]

The approval of men is not the same as the approval of God

For am I now seeking the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? For if I were still trying to please men, I would not be the servant of Christ.
[Galatians 1:10]

Pastors should follow the Great Shepherd

I exhort the elders who are among you, as one who is also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, take care of them, not by constraint, but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly. Do not lord over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of glory that will not fade away.
[1 Peter 5:1-4]

 

Theme: Overlay by Kaira Extra Text
Cape Town, South Africa