Last night my six year old daughter Sakura got to go on a special date with her daddy. To say she was excited would be a grand understatement! She was elated at the thought of getting dressed up like a princess and for three weeks would daily ask, “How many more days till my date with daddy?” Her excitement was well justified, for this wasn’t just “any date”– she was preparing for the kind of evening that every little girl (and most grown women) fantasize about! The activities for the evening were planned by our fabulous church and included a limo ride to the Melting Pot for chocolate fondue! (wow!)
My husband played the part of prince charming fantastically, he picked out an outfit that coordinated hers and gladly joined in on the fun! With four young kids in our home, one on one time is quite rare, so, he was genuinely anxious and excited about spending some devoted time talking with her! When they joined the group of girls and their daughters at church, almost immediately he discovered that when surrounded with a group of giggly and giddy girls her attention was divided! She easily gravitated towards the fun of laughing, comparing shoes and necklaces and sharing lip gloss with her church girlfriends instead of basking in the individual attention of her father. As a result, my husband came home slightly disappointed because he felt he never really got to connect with her. He longed to ask her about school, and friends, and new likes and dislikes, yet instead found himself a bystander most of the evening. Ironically he watched her enjoy the company of her friends more-so then the company of her daddy on their special evening.
As I thought about this scenario, I was reminded of the infinitely amplified jealousy that the Bible describes God as having for us, His children. I wonder if what my husband felt is a small glimpse of how God often feels about what happens in churches every week. Our father watches us get dressed up in our Sunday best, coordinating jewelry and shoes, make up and hair dolled up, we rush to church for our set aside “date” with Him. Yet, how easily our attention is divided and we are lured away from His presence. Our thoughts are cluttered. Our hearts are hardened to messages that are too convicting or personal. We are distracted by to-do lists, regrets from last week or anxiety for the week ahead. Can we be honest enough to admit that sometimes as Christians we “do church” socially and enjoy laughing and chatting with friends more then connecting intimately with the heart of God?
The Bible says in Exodus 34:14, “You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.”
God wants our attention and sole devotion not because His ego needs it, and certainly not because we have anything unique to offer Him, but because He loves us! Because He’s zealous about us and is jealous about His relationship with us individually. Isn’t it mind boggling that the God who made the Universe wants to be so intimately acquainted with you personally that He would actually be jealous over your attention being divided?
God’s invitation for each of us is that of a sacred romance between only two. You and Him. He longs to speak to your individual circumstances; share joyfully in your successes, comfort your heartache and empathize with your frustrations. He willingly waits to grant wisdom in your times of confusion and clarity to difficult decisions. He offers to hold in confidence the secret dreams, passions and desires of your heart.
God invites us to call him “Abba Father.” Literally, He says, “Call me daddy!” He wants to know you and I intimately, as a perfect father knows His child. His schedule is never too busy. Our Papa God’s loving offer daily is an invitation into the wondrous joy of His presence!
Jealousy is an intense emotion, often with negative implications. God’s jealousy, however, is rooted in a passionate love, and should make us feel secure and protected in our covenant relationship with Him. As demonstrated over and over again in the story of the Israelites and their repeated unfaithfulness, God’s heart broke when His people wandered away from Him. He always sought to woo them back into a love relationship exclusively with Him as their first love.
God is jealous for you. Not for your talents. Or your money. Or anything you can do, give, or earn. He’s jealous for you because He knows and wants what’s best for you. He understands the longings of your heart and alone knows how to fill the God shaped hole you have.