by John F. Klem
During the Christmas season, the book of Isaiah is a popular text in sacred Christmas music. Handel’s Messiah, for example, features a good portion of God’s Word given to us through the pen of Isaiah.
The words of the chorus, “For unto us a Child is born,” are taken from Isaiah 9:6. This Biblical text predicts the birth of Christ and identifies Him as Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. These identifiers, along with a host of other divine names in the Bible, affirm Christ’s eternal character.
Another name, although often overlooked, can help guide our affections through this and every season of life. It comes from the pen of Moses and is preserved in Exodus 34:14. “For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
Yes, our God is a jealous God. He is jealous for the exclusive expression of our affections. The Old Testament contexts that reveal this truth to us are divine condemnations of idol worship. In fact, Ezekiel 8:3 refers to the idol worshiped in Jerusalem as the image of jealousy.
God cannot neither accommodate nor tolerate His people, whom He loves and who are redeemed through the work of Christ, giving their affections to another god.
The Lord, Whose name is Jealous, condemns and will destroy all who worship other gods. This truth is an enduring reality established in all the major sections of Scripture (the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings).
So how does this revelation that God is a jealous God connect with us today? How does the name of God guide our affections through this and every season of life?
Exodus 34:14, in the larger context of Messianic prophecy, reminds us that the Babe in the manger is not one of many gods; He is the one and true God.
Exodus 34:14 challenges us to see the Babe in the manger as a jealous God. He did not take on flesh and blood to pay the debt of our sin so that He can be one of our many loves.
Exodus 34:14 calls upon us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and strength.
So when you sing the beautiful songs of Christmas, let them remind you that God desires your exclusive devotion.
John F. Klem is director of Regular Baptist Press.
Regular Baptist Press is committed to providing educational resources that point people of all ages to Christ not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. RBP offers a wide range of curriculum, VBS programs, Bible studies, books, and training seminars that are Biblically sound, cover the entirety of Scripture, and designed for spiritual growth.
- Read the entire series of Advent meditations.