...for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God... - Exodus 20:5
There's a feature on my smartphone that I use every day, generously and without apology. It's the MUTE feature for the ringer on my phone. I work an alternative work schedule and so that means when most people are awake, I'm asleep (or trying to go to sleep) and when most people are asleep, I am wide awake. And while I try to be mindful of this fact and not call my friends at 4:00 in the morning when I may be bored or otherwise unoccupied at work, my phone constantly rings during "normal business hours" because either people "forgot" what my work hours are or they just don't know (solicitors, telemarketers who have somehow slipped through the "no-call" phone lists cracks). While having my phone on mute 24/7 works for me, it doesn't always work for people trying to get in touch with me - just ask my brother. But as I tell my mother all time, my phone is for MY convenience, not the convenience of the people trying to reach me. My phone. My terms.
Everything has its own set of "terms and conditions." When you get your drivers license, one of the "terms" of getting one is an unstated agreement with the State issuing the license that you will abide by the laws of the land when it comes to traffic safety, speed limits, red lights, stop signs, etc. Now, if you live in certain cities (i.e., Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York), it's obvious that every driver behind the wheel doesn't adhere to this "unstated agreement", but that's a blog for a different time and place.
When you download applications or services on your phone, Smart TV or other devices, there are always terms and conditions that you must agree to that govern your use of the application or service that you are signing up to use. If you are like most people, you don't actually READ the terms or conditions because all you are really interested in is getting to use the app or service as quickly as possible. I know that I am guilty of this (even though, since I work in a legal environment, I really should know better.)
And I am sure that every child, teenager, or young adult still living at home has heard their parent(s) say on at least one (if not one hundred) occasion(s), "As long as you are living under my roof ..." You know the rest. Their terms and conditions for free access to the refrigerator, hot water, electricity and other amenities. [By the way, when you grow older, if you move your parent(s) into YOUR home, that saying doesn't work on them. In fact, if you try it, they just look at you like you have lost your mind and say, "Kristina, I don't care if this is YOUR house, I'm still your mother." (Or maybe, that only happens in my world.)]
I am currently reading through (ok, listening to) the Bible (again) and I'm in the middle of the book of Numbers currently. As I listened to the instructions that God gave the children of Israel as they built the sanctuary, as they took the first census, as they set up their government structure, as they gathered and ate the manna that was provided to them on a daily basis (well, six out of seven days of the week) ... God was very exacting in His "terms and conditions" on how He expected His children to follow, obey and serve Him. When He stated that He was a "jealous" God in His commandments to the Israelites (and to us), He wasn't talking about the relationship-stalking kind "jealousy" that we tend to think of jealousy as being - well, not exactly.
When God says He is a jealous God, He is basically setting the "terms and conditions" for His relationship with us. Now, we all should know that the ceremonial laws regarding the sacrifices in the sanctuary were all done away with by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. But that doesn't mean that God doesn't still expect certain things from those of us who claim a relationship with Him. We are supposed to approach God with reverence and recognize His authority in and over our lives. We are supposed to bring Him our best and not treat Him casually or like we treat the unimportant things in our lives. And while we are invited to have a relationship with Him, we should always be mindful that He is Who He is - our loving, awesome, creative, marvelous, self-sacrificing, jealous and giving Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Lord and God.
He is a jealous God with "terms and conditions" firmly rooted in His love for each of us.
© 2018 Kristina E. Smith
© 2018 Kristina E. Smith