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“The Lord whose Name is Jealous”
“And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee. Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt. All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest. And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning. The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” (Exodus 34:10-28)
The Lord God reveals himself by many names in the Old Testament. He is “Elohim” — The One Worshipped (Genesis 1:1), “El” — The Mighty God (Genesis 12:7-8), “Eliom” — The Most High God (Genesis 14:18-22), “El-Shaddai” — God All-sufficient (Genesis 17:1), “The Lord of Sabaoth,” “The Lord of Hosts,” the Absolute Sovereign of the Universe (1 Samuel 1:9-11), “Adonai” — The Cause, the Support (Genesis 15:2), and “Ejeh” — I AM, the Immutable Jehovah (Exodus 3:13-14; Malachi 3:6)
In Exodus 34:14 God the Holy Ghost gives us another of our God’s great names, a name by which our blessed God and Savior often identifies himself and distinguishes himself from the imaginary gods of man’s making. Here we read that he who is our God is “the Lord whose name is Jealous.” In the portion of Scripture before us (Exodus 34:10-28) the Lord God gives us explicit instructions about worshipping him in spirit and in truth, inspiring us by his great jealousy to adhere to him alone as God our Savior.
A Covenant Admired
In verses 10-11, the Lord God calls for us to admire his great covenant and all the works he performs on our behalf, by which he fulfils it.
“And he said, Behold.” — That word, “Behold,” tells us to pause for a while and look at this. Do not read this hurriedly, but slowly, with thoughtfulness and deliberation. Admire and wonder at this. — “I make a covenant.” — The covenant was made before the world began; but every time it is revealed, it is as though it were just made. — “Before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation.” The inspired psalmist taught us to sing about God’s covenant grace in Psalm 72:14-19).
“And all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD.” — When God gets done, everybody in heaven, earth, and hell will see his wonders toward us and upon us (Ephesians 2:7). — “For it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.” — The word “terrible” means that which startles and frightens because it is unexpected, wondrous, and unexplainable!
In verse 11 we read, “Observe thou that which I command thee this day.” — That which God commands God performs. We see this in the next line of the verse. — “Behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.” — The Lord our God, our mighty Savior, he and he alone has taken away all our sins. He and he alone will destroy all our enemies!
A Jealous God
In verses 12-17, the Lord God uses his jealousy to inspire our hearts’ devotion to him. He does this by forbidding us to mingle with idolatry in any way. — “Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee” (v. 12). Clearly, he does not forbid, as religion does, association with wicked people. That is both impossible and evil. He is here talking about mixing with the heathen in the exercise of religion.
“But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god” (vv. 13-14). — It is our responsibility, not by law or by sword, not by physical force, but by the preaching of the gospel, to destroy every refuge of lies men build, to destroy their altars, smash their gods, and demolish their religion.
Here’s the motivation God gives for this devotion to him. — “For the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” — “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury” (Zechariah 8:2). — The word translated “jealous” is the same as the word translated “zealous.” Jealousy is zealousness. Where there is no jealousy, no burning zeal, there is no love. I do not love a person if I do not zealously do my utmost for that person. So it is with our God and Savior, who “is a consuming fire.” He declares that he is jealous for his church, “with great fury,” against those who would pull her away from him. Yet, he declares to the object of his love, for whom he is jealous, “Fury is not in me” (Isaiah 27:4).
Solomon wrote, “Jealousy is the rage of a man” (Proverbs 6:34), the rage of a man against any and all who would steal the heart of the wife he loves. The inspired apostle used that term when he wrote to the Corinthian believers expressing his concern for their souls in 2nd Corinthians 11:2-3.
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
As at first our Savior loved us simply because he loved us (Deuteronomy 7:7-8), he will bestow upon his chosen all good things simply because he loves us with an everlasting love. “The zeal” (that is the tender love and free grace, the burning jealousy) “of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7). For his word’s sake (that is to say “for Christ’s sake”), and according to his own heart, the Lord God has done and will do great things for the salvation of his people (2 Samuel 7:21).
Jealousy causes a man to be watchful and quick sighted. Even the slightest glance of one who desires his wife’s heart enrages the loving, jealous husband. So it is with our loving Savior, who is jealous for our hearts. The slightest indignity done to his beloved spouse, his Hephzibah, seeking to take her heart from him, will be met with his utmost fury. If Ammon but claps his hands at God’s Israel, if he stomps his feet, or if he merely rejoices in his heart, when Christ’s bride is hurt, he will suffer for his daring insolence (Ezekiel 25:6-7; Joel 2:18).
Jealousy is merciless, violent, and cruel as the grave, burning as fire in a man’s heart (Song of Solomon 8:6). In fact, the word translated “jealous” in Exodus 34 is elsewhere translated “fiery thunderbolts” (Psalm 78:48) and “burning heat” (Deuteronomy 32:24). Jealousy puts a man into a feverish fit of outrage and makes him burn for revenge. While those things are all evil in fallen man, they are gloriously just and righteous in our blessed Husband, the Lord Jesus. He will spit in the face of any Miriam who dares but to mutter against his Moses (Numbers 12:14). What, then, will he not do to those who would steal the heart of his bride?
And jealousy is implacable. It cannot be reconciled (Proverbs 6:34-35). Balak was willing to give anything to have his way with Israel. Haman was willing pay ten thousand talents of silver to have the Jews destroyed. Ahasuerus was willing to comply with Haman. Esther said, “We are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain and to perish” (Esther 3:9; 7:4). But God was jealous for Israel and had Haman hanged upon his own gallows.
“For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8). Our mighty Phineas, the Lord Jesus, will gird his sword upon his thigh and execute the great fury of his wrath upon any who dare oppose his beloved. He will smite his enemies in the hinder parts and put them to a perpetual shame and reproach forever (Psalm 78:66).
In Exodus 34:15-17, the Lord God, our Jealous Husband, who “hateth putting away” (Malachi 2:16), shows us that his concern is as much for us as it is for himself. He will not share his glory with another; and his glory and the everlasting salvation of our souls cannot be separated. Therefore, he calls us here, as he does throughout Holy Scripture, to flee from every form of treachery, to flee the enticing arms of the great whore Babylon (freewill, works religion) and the wine of her fornications, with which the whole world is intoxicated (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Revelation 18:4).
“Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.” (Exodus 34:15-17)
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 6:14 - 7.1)
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4)
A Singular Worship
In verses 18-26, the Lord God our Savior, whose name is Jealous, demands that we worship him alone. He will not share his glory with another; and he will not share his wife with another. In Malachi 2, the Lord God demands that we relentlessly beware of the treachery of false prophets who, following the example of Balaam, would share his bride with the gods of the world by profaning his holiness, making the blood and righteousness of Christ a meaningless sacrifice (Hebrews 10:29) and by feigned, pretentious, hypocritical worship (Malachi 2:13; Philippians 3:3)
God required his people to keep three distinct feasts, “holy convocations,” every year. Each of these feasts were typical of our Lord Jesus Christ and God’s great salvation in and by him. Only two are specifically mentioned here. These two feasts represent the great works of our God in redemption, grace, and salvation. These two feasts specifically represented and typified our experience of grace by the gift of God creating life and faith in us.
Israel’s first great feast, as given here, was the feast of unleavened bread (v. 18). The feast of unleavened bread was really a continuation of the feast of passover, which portrayed Christ our Passover who was sacrificed for us. On the passover night the children of Israel ate the lamb with their coats on their backs, their shoes on their feet, and their staffs in their hand, ready to go out of Egypt. The passover sacrifice was the cause. The feast of unleavened bread represents the effects of redemption. The sacrifice of the paschal lamb (Christ — His Shed Blood!) is the effectual cause of pardon. The sweet fellowship of faith, represented in the feast of unleavened bread, is the effect, the sure and certain result of Christ’s death as our Substitute. The feast of unleavened bread pictured faith in Christ (John 6:53-56).
Be sure you do not fail to see the connection of the feast of unleavened bread with the feast of passover. The feast of unleavened bread began the next day after the passover was ended. So, too, the gift of life and faith in Christ follows the accomplishments of Christ at Calvary. All who were redeemed by blood shall be made to live and feed upon Christ at God’s appointed time (Galatians 3:13-14).
As one great family, the children of Israel kept this feast as a “holy convocation.” The people were all joined together, united in one holy body of redeemed souls, remembering what God had done for them. They were all bought with the same blood, saved by the same power, going to the same homeland, and they all ate the same bread. So it is with all God’s elect. We are one people, one church, one body, the one bride of Christ, constantly under the care and protection of him who is “the Lord whose name is Jealous” (Ephesians 3:18-19; 4:1-7).
In verses 19 and 20, we see that in all our worship, our God and Savior demands and deserves singleness of heart, utter devotion.
“All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.” (Exodus 34:19-20)
Unclean sinners, saved by the grace of God, washed in the blood of Christ, and made clean before God by him rejoice in the fact that our Lord includes the unclean ass among the things that might be redeemed to him with the blood of a lamb (Exodus 13:13).
In verse 22, the Lord commands Israel to observe the feast of weeks. — “And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.” — The feast of weeks was held fifty days (seven weeks and a day — a sabbath) after the feast of firstfruits. It is commonly called “Pentecost,” because it was held on the 50th day. This is the harvest or ingathering feast. This great harvest feast speaks of the ingathering of God’s elect by Christ.
The risen Christ gave us a delightful picture and foretaste of the ingathering of his elect in Acts 2. When the Day of Pentecost was fully come, he poured out his Spirit upon all flesh and 3000 souls were gathered into the fold of his grace at one time. Just as the harvest followed the firstfruits, so the salvation of God’s elect follows the resurrection of Christ. Indeed, all the redeemed shall be gathered unto God (Isaiah 43:5; John 10:15-16; Romans 11:26).
The Holy Spirit tells us plainly that this feast also speaks of Christ’s glorious resurrection and of our resurrection with him, in him, and by him. That shall be the glorious consummation of our salvation by Christ, our God and Savior, “the Lord whose name is Jealous” (Romans 11:16; 1 Corinthians 15:23; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4).
(Romans 11:16) “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.”
(1 Corinthians 15:23) “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
(James 1:18) “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
(Revelation 14:4) “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”
Encouraging us still to worship and obey him, the Lord God promises us that he will not allow us to suffer loss by whole-hearted devotion to him.
“Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year.” (Exodus 34:23-24)
Now, read the special, distinct instructions given by our God, whose name is Jealous (vv. 25-26). — “Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.” — Nothing is to be mixed with the sacrifice of our blessed Savior. — “Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.” — Nothing is to be rejected, despised, and refused.
“The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God.” — Bring God the first and the best, only the first and the best. — “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.” — There is to be no mixture of human invention, idolatry, and/or superstition, custom, and tradition!
A Blessed Command
Look at verse 21. Here the Lord God gives us a blessed command. His sweet and blessed command is — “Rest!” — “Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.”
It is obvious that the sabbath occupied a very prominent and independent place in Old Testament worship. In fact, each of Israel’s feasts was specifically associated with sabbath observance. Whenever Moses gives instruction about keeping the feasts, he gives specific instruction from God about keeping the sabbath. It is as if the Lord is saying, “These feasts which I give are typical of my great salvation which shall give you everlasting rest in me and will give me everlasting rest in you.”
The sabbath was to be kept every week. It was a constant reminder to Israel of that sweet rest which Adam lost in the Garden and of that blessed rest that could and would be recovered only in and by Christ. The sabbath was entirely and only intended to typify salvation in Christ, the blessed rest of life, and faith, and reconciliation to God in him.
“No work” whatsoever was to be done on the sabbath, because salvation is altogether a matter of grace, a work of grace alone, enjoyed by faith in Christ, without our works of any kind. No other Old Testament ordinance had such a strict injunction put on it, except the Day of Atonement.
Do you see the significance of that? The rest of faith is the same as the rest of complete, perfect atonement, and the rest of complete, perfect reconciliation to God. This is what was typified in the beginning, when the Lord God rested from all his works on the seventh day.
Is it so with your soul? Do you have such rest in Christ with God as if you had never sinned? Do you have no more conscience of sin? This is the rest Christ has won for all who trust him. Oh, come now to the Lord Jesus Christ and rest! Cease from all work and labor and rest in him. He says to sinners everywhere…
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
We read more about this blessed rest of faith, this gospel sabbath, in Hebrews 4.
“For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” (Hebrews 4:3)
“Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:7)
The rest of faith is good, oh, how good! But the rest of heaven will be glorious! — “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9).
A Foreshadowed Savior
This blessed sabbath rest can be had only through the doing and dying of that blessed Savior, our all-glorious Lord Jesus Christ, foreshadowed by Moses in verses 27 and 28.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”
As Moses, who gave the law, fasted forty days and forty nights, so our blessed Savior, who fulfilled the law, satisfied the law, and ended the law, fasted forty days and forty nights when he commenced his public ministry as our Savior (Matthew 4:2). Moses, who gave the law, could never give the children of Israel rest. But the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is the end of the law, does!
“Come, and He will give you rest;
Trust Him, for His Word is plain;
He will take the sinfulest;
Christ receiveth sinful men.
Now my heart condemns me not,
Pure before the law I stand;
He who cleansed me from all spot,
Satisfied its last demand.
Christ receiveth sinful men,
Even me with all my sin;
Purged from every spot and stain,
Heaven with Him I enter in.”