The justifiably jealous lover…
“I am a jealous God…” Exodus 20:5
“The Spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely…” James 4:5
The Lord is a “jealous lover.” Don’t you find it odd that jealousy is an iniquity for us but a quality for God? It’s because he knows that what’s best for us is him. It only makes sense that the created would desperately need the Creator, so it’s only right that he should hate it when we prefer another above him. When we fail to reciprocate his love, it’s not as though we love nothing at all; we’ve become enamored with something else. He’s jealous when we find alternatives with which to share our affection and sing our song. His love is only made “complete,” and the song can only resolve itself when it’s received and returned to its Source.
“Come and share you master’s happiness.” Matthew 24:21
When returned, God’s agape is a source of limitless joy to him. He sings and dances over us when his beloved mutually shares his passion. The purpose of his free-will experiment is eternal agape – in its full width, length, height, and depth – received and reciprocated. Mutually enjoyed divine love is the highest and purest of life now and forever!
The easiest song to sing…
We thought our song was fully sung when we sang our songs with other singers in sanctuaries expertly designed for our maximum audio pleasure. There’s no doubt that such singing and musical instrumentation is one way his song is returned to him. After all, the longest book in the Bible is a songbook.
That kind of song is by far the easiest song we sing, the one with the lowest cost. All that’s required of us is to get out of bed on our drowsiest day, dress in our best looking and least comfortable clothes, find parking and a good seat – one with the least probability of interaction with strangers – and sing along, if not hum along with the staged, meticulously prepared musical performance. Of course, we require the music to be executed with our own cultural preferences in mind, generationally appropriate, and loud enough to inspire yet not too loud for our taste. We convince ourselves that our antiphonal song is simply sung by imitating the talented singers on the stage; or, at the very least, by sitting attentively as the worship team sings. We’ve been known to settle for this and called it our “sacrifice of praise.”
I apologize for the snide hyperbole. We know better than that – yes? We know that while our antiphonal song includes singing God-songs to the words on the screen, according to John, it takes many other forms. We sing his love song back to him when we “obey his Word” and “walk as Jesus did,” when we genuinely love the singers who sing next to us, especially the ones most difficult to harmonize with. We sing his song when we’re simply at “rest” in our souls, having heard his song we reciprocate it in trust that the Beloved Crooner meant every lyric he sang in his love song to us.
[Next: Part 5… By the way, if you’d rather see/read this in one document, go here.]