Is God Jealous for You?
Written by Josh Stevens
God loves you and wants the best for you. But should He and will He compete for your attention? What happens when we give something else higher priority?
The 10 Commandments begin with the commands to put God first in our lives:
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:3-5).
But do we put God first in our lives?
The prophet Daniel was inspired to prophesy about one of the greatest distractions at the end of the age: “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4, emphasis added).
Daniel prophesied that in the end times people would travel frequently and that the human knowledge base would increase dramatically.
In reviewing Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s 2012 book Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, Michael Shermer wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “If every image made and every word written from the earliest stirring of civilization to the year 2003 were converted to digital information, the total would come to five exabytes. An exabyte is one quintillion bytes, or one billion gigabytes—or just think of it as the number one followed by 18 zeroes. That’s a lot of digital data, but it’s nothing compared with what happened from 2003 through 2010: We created five exabytes of digital information every two days. … The total for 2010 of 912 exabytes is the equivalent of 18 times the amount of information contained in all the books ever written” (“Defying the Doomsayers,” Feb. 22, 2012, emphasis original).
Yes, information is increasing at a mind-bending velocity. And since information is readily available online, the Internet has become a primary source of information.
In an interesting piece titled “Only Disconnect” Evgeny Morozov wrote: “Information overload can bore us just as easily as information underload. But this form of boredom … doesn’t provide time to think; it just produces a craving for more information in order to suppress it” (The New Yorker, Oct. 28, 2013).
It seems Satan is scrambling to foist a kind of information idolatry upon the world.
Remember, God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But why is knowledge of good and evil a bad thing? Wouldn’t He want us to grasp the difference between what’s good and what’s evil?
Think about it this way: Do we teach our children all about evil—steep them in it—but just briefly tell them to choose the good? No, we want to focus on teaching them how and why they should do good, because what is good brings life. As much as possible, we want them to be innocent of evil—not to know every gory, vile detail. We try to dodge teaching our children about evil as long as we can, because it finds them soon enough, just like it did humanity’s first parents.
Yes, we all hope to acquire right knowledge from the data bursting from the Internet; but the devil opposes our discovery of truth and life. Satan uses evil knowledge to compete with our calling from God, just as he used it in the Garden of Eden.
It turns out knowledge is a more complicated fruit than you might think.
In Exodus 20:23 God reemphasized the importance of shunning idolatry: “You shall not make anything to be with Me—gods of silver or gods of gold.” In this passage He commands that we not worship idols in addition to Him.
Some do practice this form of idolatry today, but even if we don’t fashion gods out of silver and gold, that doesn’t mean idolatry is dead. Today, we frequently replace physical idols with stuff and people. What upstages God for our attention?
God intends that we make Him our focus. If alluring images of the opposite sex fill our minds, then we must check the lust of our eyes. If we have a fixation with promoting ourselves or our personal activities through social networks, we should consider whether there’s a pride of life issue we must curb.
God tells us, “You shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14).
Since the potential for information idolatry is a clearly marked trap, we must avoid it and work to make God our No. 1 priority.
Jesus Christ said we must worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23).
To learn more about putting God first, read our article “The First Commandment.”
Josh Stevens is the marketing director of his family's contract manufacturing business. He and his wife, Melissa, have two children and are members of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, in North Houston, Texas.