Week Ten, Day Four

The Names
The Lord is a Consuming Fire who will ultimately destroy whatever is opposed to his holiness. He is also a Jealous God, who loves us completely and who, therefore, demands our wholehearted response. If we love him, we can be confident of his mercy, and our own zeal will make us jealous for God's honor and glory. When you pray these names of God, ask him to give you and the church a deeper understanding of his holiness and a greater desire to honor and exalt his name.

Key Scriptures
Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14)

Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:23-24

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Thursday
PRAYING THE NAME

Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14)

Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned. (Song of Songs 8:6-7)

Reflect On: Exodus 34:14; Song of Songs 8:6-7

Praise God: Who is worthy of praise.

Offer Thanks: For the ways God has pursued you.

Confess: Any tendency to run away from God.

Ask God: To increase your love for him.

Shakespeare described jealousy as a "green-eyed monster." Mark Twain called it the "trademark of small minds." Robert Heinlein labeled it a "symptom of neurotic insecurity." Such apt but unattractive descriptions of human jealousy will only confuse you if you try to apply them to God, whose jealousy might better be described by the words of the English poet Joseph Addison: "Jealousy is that pain which a man feels from the apprehension that he is not equally beloved by the person whom he entirely loves."

This is the kind of jealousy that impels God to pursue us, despite our evasions, our indifference, or our waywardness. Francis Thompson was a nineteenth-century poet, an opium addict, whose sense of the divine pursuit of his soul is famously captured in his poem The Hound of Heaven:

Adown Titanic glooms of chasméd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbéd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

Francis's struggle with the great hound who pursued his fleeing soul provides a vivid picture of the way in which God pursues us—relentlessly, shrewdly, passionately. He is a Lover who will not be satisfied until we return his love with equal passion.

Take time today to think about the ways God has pursued you throughout your lifetime. Ask him to help you recognize how he has been at work. Then pray for the grace to forsake every love that would compete with your love for him.

Pray, too, for friends and family members whom God is pursuing. Urge him to be relentless in revealing his love and capturing their hearts. Then be relentless in your prayers on their behalf.