For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Deuteronomy 4:24 (ESV)
God is a consuming fire; a jealous God. What does this mean?
A consuming fire is a fire which devours everything in its path. It is not contained nor containable. You may have seen the recent bush fires in Australia appearing the news. These fires were unimaginable. Huge swaths of land were utterly devastated by fires which raced unceasingly across the continent. No human endeavour could stop them. The effects of these fires may be felt for years to come. This is a picture of a “consuming fire.”
While God is of course not like this, bringing devastation in His path, the bush fires were all-consuming for those involved. We cannot have a little bit of God in our lives. It is like saying I am a little bit on fire.
Likewise, God is a jealous God.
Jealousy in a human being is an ugly thing, but not in God. We become envious when we feel threatened, inadequate or coveting what we cannot have. God never feels such things. God can legitimately be jealous because absolutely nothing compares to Him.
God is not satisfied being second or third in our lives. Nothing should shift God out of His proper place in our lives.
In his book “Not a Fan,” Kyle Idleman says that God is not even happy being the first of many, but rather should be the One and Only.
God should not be one of many competing priorities in our lives. He should not be fighting for out time or attention against anything else; even family, work, hobbies or even church ministry. God absolutely should be our everything, and nothing else should compare.
“If anyone comes to me, and doesn’t disregard his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can’t be my disciple.
Luke 14:26 (WEB)
This is a tough verse!
Jesus is not saying, I believe, that we should hate our family. Rather, He is saying that our love for Him should be so far above any other concern, that all other comparisons look like hate.
God is a jealous God, and our love for Him should be paramount.
What does this mean for us?
Ask yourself how serious you are about your relationship with God. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about my own relationship with Jesus, and how it needs much more of my time and attention.
If God really is “God,” then how can anything else in life be anywhere near as important?
I was once told that we can assess how important anything is to us by looking at our diaries and our chequebooks. What was meant was that how we spend our time and our money tells us a great deal about our priorities.
If I spend all of my spare time watching TV, and spending my money on my hobbies then I cannot really claim that God holds His rightful place in my life. Instead, if my time is spent with Jesus, and my money spent on furthering that relationship or building His Kingdom, then clearly I am putting Him first.
I know it is a challenge, and none of us will get it perfectly right all of the time. In recent days, many of us have been “blessed” with a lot of spare time as our plans have been cancelled due to the C-19 virus. What are you going to do with that extra time?
God is jealous of you and your time. His fire should “consume” our lives fully. Is that true for you? If not, what can you do about it?