(How will you repay the generosity of a desperate and jealous lover?)
We continue with our theme for the month of July, The God of all flesh. Here we shall examine a few scriptures that demonstrate God’s love- His jealous love, and what He is intent on doing about it.
(Anchor) Jer 32. 26-27: Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?
The jealousy of God places a requirement of total devotion to him upon us.
The background to God’s rhetorical question posed through Jeremiah demonstrates the desperate attempt of God for His beloved and deliberately chosen, to come to a state of willing spontaneous fellowship. From God’s viewpoint everything that could be done to afford God man’s undivided devotion, attention and unbroken and constant fellowship, has already been done. It is therefore understandable that God should glory in the fact that there is nothing beyond his powers, abilities or scope. The sentiment and jealousy are explained by the unfailing and everlasting love demonstrated in the death of Jesus the lamb of God at Calvary.
Deut. 4.24; 5.9; 6.15 ‘For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.’ ‘Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me’ ‘(For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.’
Josh 22.19-20 – ‘And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good’
Put in a different way God is not threatening but asking you, ‘what more do I do to make you love me?’
Jealous God of all flesh
He is not just God of all flesh, but also of all spirits, souls and all forms of consciousness and existence! In Jer. chapter 3 we see the house of Israel and Judah provoke God to anger. God was desperate to show them love and favour. He expressed his anger at the wickedness of disobedience, idolatry, and insensitivity that his specially chosen people collectively repaid him with. God loved them, the sinners, but hated their sin.
Summed up in verse 23 we see God’s sentiment. Accusing their kings, princes, priests, lay people and ordinary inhabitants God complained that ‘they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction. But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it’. This wickedness was contextualised in a way that further highlighted God’s disappointment and frustration with the passionately beloved that remained captive to the entanglement of sin and separation from God their redeemer. Jer. 3.20 – ‘Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord’.
What a jealous, loving God!
But the intention of God came through in verse 37 to 41. ‘Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. For thus saith the Lord; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.
It turns out the beneficiary of God’s raging jealousy, deep passion and longsuffering patience is none other than His vile underserving treacherous sin-laden beloved- you (and me)!
What we should know
Lam3. 22-23. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
We who already know God should not be weary, bashful or fearful in renouncing our shortcomings, eschewing iniquity, and running to God, who is eager to forgive, reprove and renew our fellowship with him. We must carry the message of salvation in the work already done by Jesus Christ to the person next to us, and everybody else.
What God really wants
God wants us to know Jer 32.27 – ‘I am God! Nothing is hard for me!’. That sentiment culminated in Jer.33.3 – ‘Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not’. And Jer 3.23 –‘Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel’.
God is really expressing the desperate lamentations of a lover who sees their great, deep and true love unreciprocated.
What to do now
To avoid spiritual death and eternal separation from God, there is no valid option than to become sensitive to God and pay him attention. Call him who he is (I am God and nothing is hard for me). Call unto God, who wants to answer you. Hope in salvation from only Him.
Glory (brag, celebrate and shine) in the Lord. We know the journey has started when our spirit in agreement with these scriptures and they have become real in our lives: Lam.3. 24- 26 ‘The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord’.
Jer 9.23-24 ‘Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord’.
Then the following will also become our testimony and life: Romans 14.8-9,11- ‘For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living’ and ‘For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God’.
Phil.2.9-11- ‘Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’.
How will you repay the generosity of the desperate and jealous lover that God is?
While concluding and considering our individual responses to the above challenge, I suggest we draw inspiration about the might of the God of all flesh, reassurance about the firmness of his method, and prayer points to humble and direct our worship and supplication from Psalm 50.1-15 and verse 23.
Psalm 50 – The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest. He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people. “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”. The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah. “Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me. I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
Verse 23 – The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”
The sermon, God of All Flesh Has Favoured You., by Minister Yomi Sanusi, was delivered on July 15, 2018