Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Jealous God will 'fight for this love' for his firstborn son

"if what you’re designing is emotionally boring, then no one will care in a meaningful way. If they’re not engaged and feeling something—anything—then you haven’t done your job as a communicator." Alex Charchar: The Power of Emotion in Graphic Design

"...the favorite cure used on our unit: behavioral modification. For a biblical Christian it represents a crazy approach. It seeks to change people from the “outside-in” rather than from the “inside-out”. It dismisses the point that helped launch the Protestant Reformation... real change always starts with a heart change." Ron Frost

Granted there is some significant difference between the emotions and the heart - both Charchar and Frost see the importance of actually engaging people, going for the heart of a person - with an image, or with words. For the Christian to do this without manipulating requires being rigorously persuasive and deeply rooted in the word of God.

What's that got to do with the book of Exodus?

It has to do with who God is - the key subject of all Bible books. He is the God who (2v24-25) sees, hears, remembers and knows. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (3v6). Persistently relational - He is who He is (3v14). And then strikingly - 20v5: "I the Lord your God am a jealous God" and 34v16 "the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God". Jealousy is a function of his unmatched love (34v6) “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness".

In a lonely monadic deity jealousy sounds bad but when it extends out from the loving commuity of the Triune God it's beautiful. In Exodus we see the Triune God abounding in jealous love for his people, for his firstborn son who has been enslaved by the tyranical Pharaoh but whom the LORD wants for himself. The Father is passionate for his Son and passionate for the people to be adopted in him also. Moses says to the people (14v14): The Lord will fight for you. Battling on their behalf and for them. Through the shedding of blood, bringing them through the water and into the land, he will not stand by and tolerate others having his people. Nor will he tolerate their giving of themselves to idols, even at great cost to himself he will have his people, even to laying down the life of his own son.

What for us? The LORD fights for us - he wants us, he desires to have us. Yes we can say that of The Triune God. Why would we hold back from him? And as we minister the gospel to others: Are we ambivalent to the LORD, for his name, for his people? Is ours a take-it-or-leave-it gospel? Or do we too fight, persuasively, engagingly, passionately, to fight for love with love that the hearts of men and women would be won by the LORD who is jealous for them.

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