Are we willing to accept the attributes of God that we aren’t so comfortable with—such as His vengeance, wrath, and jealousy?
“You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.”
- Deuteronomy 6:14–15
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Transcript: Hi, welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. We’re discussing the attributes of God, and today we continue our study of the jealousy of God.
The text of Scripture comes to us today from the sixth chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, where God says in verses 14 and 15, “You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and destroy you from off the face of the earth.” Imagine that.
If you were with us, you know that in our previous studies of the jealousy of God, I emphasized that God has every right to be jealous—to be jealous for His name; to be jealous for His glory. And the reason for that is because He values that which is most highly—which means He has to value Himself. You and I, of course, we cannot have that kind of attention, because we are contingent.
You know, that’s a word I haven’t used for a long time, but it’s a good word. The word “contingent” means we are dependent upon God. He’s the one who created us, so the glory should go to Him and not to us.
What I’m going to do in this segment is to read a passage from the preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon. You’ve probably heard about him. He lived in England during the 1800s. He was friends with D.L. Moody. And this is what he said to his congregation as he was preaching to them about the jealousy of God: he said,
“Come, let me push this matter home upon your conscience. Let me carry this as the point of a bayonet. Why, my hearers, there are some of you who never worship God. I know that you go to His house, but then it is only to be seen, or to quiet your conscience by having done your duty.
How many of you merchants aim only to accumulate a fortune? How many of you tradesmen are living only for your families? How many young men breathe only for pleasure? How many young women exist only for amusement and vanity?
I fear that some among you may make your belly your God and bow down to your personal charms and comforts. Talk of idolaters! They are here today. If we desire to preach to those who break the first and second commandments, we have no need to go to other religions. The idolaters are here.
Onto you who bow not before the Lord, let these words be given, and let them ring in your ears: The Lord who’s name is Jealous is a jealous God. Who shall stand before Him once He is angry, when His jealousy burneth like fire and smoketh like a furnace? Who shall endure the day of His wrath? Beware less He tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
Dreadful it shall be for you, if at last you shall behold an angry God is sitting in judgment. Pause now and meditate upon your doom, and visualize the Almighty robed in tempest and whirlwind.”
I have a question I wanna ask you, how long has it been since you’ve heard a sermon like that in the church that you attend?
Today, we want to go through and we wanna pick all the verses of Scripture. We cherry pick all the verses about His love and His mercy and His grace. You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, shouldn’t we be preaching grace?” Absolutely. But I want to remind you that the God of the Old Testament is also the God of the New Testament. But the difference is this: Thanks to Jesus, we can come to this God with confidence and draw near through the blood of Christ.
And here’s the point I wanna leave with you today. It is because of the wrath of God and the jealousy and anger of God that we better understand and appreciate the grace of God. You see, it is only when sin becomes bitter, when God becomes great, when we understand who the Almighty is; it is then that we appreciate the grace of God, and we preach it with all of our hearts. Because we also know that those who do not respond to God’s grace will come under the wrath of the Almighty. Same God, different emphasis.
But thank God that today we can preach the Gospel with confidence, and let people know that God is vengeful, filled with jealousy. But for those who have come to Him through Christ, He is a Father who loves them, who cares about them. It’s all because of Jesus.
I hope that you appreciate Jesus today, who keeps us from the wrath to come—the one before whom we bow, the one that we worship. And we honor the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we walk today in the victory that our Savior purchased. Stay with us next time, as we continue to study the attributes of God. And today, go with God.