Lord Jesus, we struggle with conflicting commitments. We don’t offer sacrifices to other gods, but we cling tenaciously to notions and traditions that are contrary to your desire for justice. We even mistake sometimes that our own ideas and prejudices are also yours! We ask for your healing power in our lives—for physical healing, for spiritual healing, for the healing of our personal values, and for social healing. Help us to grow in lovingkindness. Thank you for all your mercies. Amen.
1. W. Gunther Plaut, ed. The Torah: A Modern Commentary (New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1981), 1197.
2. Alan N. Winkler, “Jealousy,” Baker Theological Dictionary of the Bible (Baker Academic, 2001), 388-389,
3. Winkler, “Jealousy,” 389.
4. In the commentary “The Book of Numbers,” The New Interpreter’s Bible (Volume 2, Abingdon Press, 1998), Thomas B. Dozeman writes that God’s jealousy is the theme of the speech Num. 25:10-13. God’s qãnã’, in this context, “conveys qualities of vigilance, intolerance, and absolute devotion” (p. 199).
5. Walter Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997), pp. 384-385. Brueggemann writes, “In the end, a student of the Old Testament cannot answer for or justify the violence [of God], but must concede that it belongs to the very fabric of this faith” [p. 381].) See also “The Book of Exodus” in The New Interpreter’s Bible (Volume 1, Abingdon Press, 1994), where Brueggemann notes that God is jealous because God is faithful. An idol, or image, is a way to domesticate and control God, which cannot be done (p. 842). But how we try! Brueggemann notes that we do live in a “world of options” which can and does lead us astray: “In pursuit of joy, we may choose Bacchus; in pursuit of security, we may choose Mars; in pursuit of genuine love, we may choose Eros. It is clear that these choices are not Yahweh, that these are not Gods who have ever wrought an Exodus or offered a covenant” (p. 843).