I want you to imagine a scenario for me. Imagine my wife and her mother are on a little shopping excursion. They eat some dinner at a nice restaurant and then visit some stores in the area. They’ve bought a few things and enjoyed good conversation when suddenly they see someone they recognize…me! I’ve decided to have a little night on the town too and I’ve taken another woman along with me. We’re out on a date when my wife approaches. I’m sure you can imagine that she’s not going to say, “Hey honey! Are you enjoying your date?” In reality, she would be hurt, disappointed, and angry. She would question, “What are you doing? I can’t believe you’re out with another woman!” Now what if my response was, “Yeah? Well I love her too.” I’m sure we know how that scenario would end. (Don’t worry. I’ve never been out on a date with another woman.)
Truthfully, she would have every right to be jealous of me being unfaithful. Even though we think this behavior despicable, we sometimes behave this way toward God. We tell him how much we love him; that we’re completely dedicated and committed to him. But then we turn around and spend all of our time with other things. Our job, our success, our family, our hobbies. They all become idols that we chase after, leaving God and his love for us behind.
Just like my wife would have every right to be jealous of seeing me with another woman, God is jealous when we put our worldly idols in front of him. God loves us with a relentless love. Even when we turn our backs on him, his love still stays true. That’s why he says to us, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:4-5). He desires us to put him first, to remember our first love.
In Ephesians 5:25-27 we see another example of Christ and his unending love for us. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Christ wishes for us to be a bride for him, holy and unblemished by the world. And we cannot do that while giving our heart away to idols.
Our God is a jealous God and our love of idols is like committing adultery. Let us humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness, putting God at the forefront of our lives where he belongs. He’s shown us a perfect love. Doesn’t he deserve that in return?