READ Psalm 79:1–8.
1 O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble. 2 They have left the dead bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the sky, the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild. 3 They have poured out blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury the dead. 4 We are objects of contempt to our neighbors, of scorn and derision to those around us. 5 How long, LORD? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire? 6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the kingdoms that do not call on your name; 7 for they have devoured Jacob and destroyed his homeland. 8 Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.
THE JEALOUSY OF GOD.
God allowed the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army because of his “jealousy” (verse 5). Paul speaks of having a “godly jealousy” for his friends (2 Corinthians 11:2). It is love angered by anything that is defacing or destroying the loved one. A parent’s love, for example, is “jealous” for a child’s success and happiness and is zealous to remove any sins that are barriers to these things. If God had allowed Israel to go its idol-worshipping way, its people would have been totally lost to him. Christians know that in Christ their sins can’t bring them into condemnation (Romans 8:1), but it is because we are so loved that God will also discipline us if we go astray (Hebrews 12:4–11).
Lord, you love me like a father, and when I am in pain you are grieved. And yet, like a father, you love me too much to let me alone when I am living foolishly. When troubles happen, instead of crying, “Unfair!” help me to ask, “Is there anything you are trying to show me?” Then show me. Amen.