Our Consuming And Jealous God

Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the LORD your God has forbidden you. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. Deuteronomy 4:23-24

Loving, Faithful, All-powerful, and Provider are the words that we use to describe our God. In Deuteronomy chapter 4, a weird phrase, consuming fire, a jealous God, pops up. Yes, you heard that right. Jealous. I don’t know about you, but jealous is not my go-to word to describe God. Yet, here it is in all its perfect glory, describing our amazing God. And what the heck is this consuming fire thing all about.

Let’s start with a little background on what’s going on. God had told Moses that he would not be the one leading Israel into the promised land. Instead of pouting, demanding, or telling God through entitlement how it is his job, Moses submits and then takes up the charge to teach and disciple the Israelites so that their kids would be ready to enter the promised land. Deuteronomy is essentially the story of how Moses prepared the people to enter the promised land, and right out of the gate, he wants God’s people to know that God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

The first descriptor is that our God is a consuming fire. Think of it this way, does God want to be a part of every area of your life? Imagine you are a bush…yes, a bush. God wants to be such a part of your life that others see Him, and yet you are not being burned up; you are on fire with purpose. You are attracting people to God, just like God appeared to Moses originally in a burning bush. This also applies to God. I like what Pastor Jon Courson says about this verse.

“For we who know Him, the fact that our God is a consuming fire should be anything but frightening, for anything fire touches soon becomes fire, too. Aren’t you kind of sick of yourself? I’m so tired of me. Consequently, I find myself praying, “Consume me, Lord. Set me free from my fleshly inclinations. Make me burn bright and pure, holy and hot for You.” Jon Courson, Courson’s Application Commentary

Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: Volume One: Genesis–Job (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 551.

Now let’s talk about our jealous God. Jealousy is not something we usually associate with positive behavior or descriptor unless you look at the context and the reason for the descriptor. Here in Deuteronomy 4:23-24, and in the verses before as well, Moses is telling the people of Israel not to forget God, not to make Idols, and not to forget who it is that delivered them from Egypt.

You see, God is jealous. He does not want us to fall back into sin. He does not want our passions and desires to be the things of this world. He wants to be number one in our lives. This jealousy is that of a Holy God desiring obedience to the one who saved them. The other side of this coin is God knows what happens when we rebel and fall back into sin. He has to discipline and love us to bring us back to the place we could have stayed all along, in loving obedience and relationship with Him.

Thankful that I know the consuming fire, jealous God,
Pastor Mike

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