He says His name is Jealous.
"Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." ~Exodus 34:14
God loves me. Sure, I know that. I mean I've sung the words since childhood. Love just has so many different definitions in English. Although I could've quoted Scriptures to the contrary, for far too long I've pictured God's love as more of a far off compassion--merciful but somewhat detached. In my better moments, I've understood that He loves like me like a father loves a child. "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust." ~Psalm 103:13-14. I'm thankful for my sweet daddy. My relationship with him helps me understand God's fatherly love for me.
God IS my Father. But He isn't JUST my Father. The Bible also says that I am His bride, and He is my Husband. "For your Maker is your Husband—the LORD Almighty is His name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth." ~Isaiah 54:5
Wow. That's a pretty tough concept to grasp, especially considering I've never been married. They say you can't fully understand the sacrifice God made when He allowed Jesus to be crucified until you've been a parent yourself, and I'm sure the same applies to understanding the symbolism of marriage in revealing God's love for us. But even in my limited understanding, this kind of love has stolen my heart in recent days.
He says I am the apple of His eye. "For this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'After He has honored me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye.'" ~Zechariah 2:8
He says that He rejoices over me. "As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you." ~Isaiah 62:5b
He says that even though I have forgotten Him for other lovers, He will pursue me with His love. "'Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness, and speak kindly to her...and it will come about in that day,' declares the LORD, 'That you will call me Ishi (husband) and will no longer call Me Baali (master)...and I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.'" ~Hosea 2: 14, 16, 19-20
Betrothed in righteousness, in justice, in lovingkindness, in compassion, and in faithfulness. BETROTHED. I am His. "I am my beloved's, and His desire is for me." Song of Solomon 7:10
It's this kind of love that makes Him jealous for my affection. "This is what the LORD Almighty says: "I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her." ~Zechariah 8:2
He burns with a holy jealousy because of His LOVE for me. "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." ~Song of Solomon 8:6
That's why He doesn't want my heartless obedience; He wants my heart. "The LORD says: 'These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.'" ~Isaiah 29:13
His love for me is perfect--unchanging, unending, unfathomable. How is it possible that I--the one who doesn't even deserve to be acknowledged, much less adored, by this God--am the one who runs from Him? It seems crazy! Yet it is the story of my life, and yours. So what is a Husband to do with His unfaithful bride? Divorce her? Disown her?
No, deliver her.
Even at the cost of His own life. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless." ~Ephesians 5:25-27
Pretty amazing, isn't it? The God who made the universe not only knows my name, not only calls me Daughter, He calls me His beloved bride. The apple of His eye. The one for whom He gave His life.