Zealous God: A God with Gusto

The ABC’s of knowing God better: the letter “Z”

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. –Isaiah 59:17 ESV

His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” –John 2:17 ESV

Zeal. What, exactly, is it?

One online dictionary defines it as “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective.” Synonyms include passion, fervor, and gusto.

You don’t hear the word zeal used too much today. I wonder if the intensity of the word and its meaning cause people to back off. I mean, another synonym is committedness, root word commit. When you commit yourself to something or someone, you determine to see it through to the end, come what may.

Take marriage, for instance. When you pledge to become one until “death do us part,” you make a commitment to your spouse that you’ll work together to stay together come what may—sickness and health, poverty and prosperity, good times and bad times—you vow to love and cherish your mate for better or worse for the rest of your lives.

Promises made are only as good as promises kept. Life happens, people change, and love wanes, and we don’t fight for it. Like tending a garden, in order to survive the droughts, the storms, the scorching temperatures, the freezing ones, the bugs, the blights, the bunnies and other critters, you must be diligent at consistently nurturing and cultivating it.

That’s where zeal comes in.

I use marriage here as an example, but other pursuits in life also thrive on zeal. Such as rearing children, getting an education, learning a new skill, pursuing a career, developing God-given talents, helping others.

What does this have to do with God?

The Bible describes Him as a zealous God. Some translations use the word jealous, but that word has too many negative connotations.

God is zealous for His children—for you, for me. He is committed to us with a love that is unconditional, meaning it doesn’t depend on what we say or do or how we feel. We can run as far away from Him as we want (well, we can try), but we will never outrun His presence, His provision, His protection, and His love.

We are the cause, the objective He pursues with passion, fervor, and gusto. Why?

Simply this: He loves us.

He loves us so much that He gave us a free will to decide for ourselves whether we want to return that love or reject it. He loves us so much that He hates the sin that separates us from Him. He loves us so much that He sent His own Son to take the punishment for that sin so that we can be with Him forever in the place He’s prepared for us.

Imagine a father standing over the crib of his sleeping child. That’s God standing over us. In the words of the prophet Zephaniah, “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV).

No matter what. Come what may.

He is zealous for you.

My mind just can’t wrap around that kind of love, O God. But I am so thankful for it. Indeed, I can’t exist without it. As Your child, may I inherit a portion of Your zeal, so that I may reflect You to the world around me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Zephaniah 3:17.


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Y – YHWH, LORD of All

The ABC’s of knowing God better: the letter Y                                                                                    

Dear Readers,

As I put together the third volume of these meditations to release this month, I realized I never finished the series “The ABC’s of knowing God better.” So I wrote the final two meditations based on the letters Y and Z. In today’s blog we explore the meaning of YHWH, the names of God. Next week we’ll finish the series with a meditation on what word beginning with the letter Z describes God.

Y–YHWH

THE MANY NAMES OF GOD

Read and reflect on Exodus 3:13–15.

God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers … has sent me to you. This is My name forever.” –Exodus 3:15 HCSB

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means ‘Adonai saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21 CJB

MY MOTHER WANTED TO name me Teresa, but my dad disagreed. “Her name is Michele,” he said.

And so it was. That is, until someone came along and called me Mickey.

“Don’t call her that. It might stick.”

And so it did.

I don’t know who said what in giving me my nickname, but until high school only family members called me Mickey. In school I was Michele. One l. Please.

When I got to high school, I determined Michele wasn’t cool enough, but so I changed the spelling of my nickname to Mikki. Which I thought was cool.

So my high school peers still call me Mikki.

On to college. Mikki just wasn’t sophisticated enough, so I went back to Michele. One l. Please.

And stayed with it.

When I started teaching, I was Miss Maddock. Halfway through my second year I became Mrs. Huey.

A few years later I became Mommy. I was already Aunt Michele.

Then twenty years ago another name was added—Grandma.

I wear my names with pride. Each one indicates not only who I am and who I belong to, it conveys relationship and position.

God’s names, too, indicate relationship and position, as well as His divine attributes.

It would take a tome to discuss all God’s names and what they mean, but I’d like to focus on a few that have a personal meaning to me.

First and foremost, God is YHWH. The divine name He gave to Moses when Moses asked Him what should he tell the Israelites when they asked, “What is His name?” (Exodus 3:13).

“I AM WHO I AM,” God replied. Which translates Yahweh, or YHWH, since the Israelites considered God’s name to be too holy to say aloud.

Yahweh is a form of the verb “to be,” which is translated in this verse I AM.

The English rendering of YHWH is LORD and is found over seven thousand times in Scripture. It means “Self-existence or Eternal One,” “The One who exists because of who He is, and speaks of His holiness, justice and hatred of sin. (“Names of God,” Children’s Ministry Resource Bible, p. 914)

Other names of God that have a personal meaning to me include:

El Shaddai – “Almighty God.” Strength, lifegiver, the bountiful supplier of all blessings also are included in the meaning of El Shaddai. He gives me life, strength and abundant blessings.

YHWH Yireh – “The-LORD-will-provide.” He provides for all my needs.

YHWH Shalom – “The-LORD-Is-Peace.” Only God can give me inner peace.

YHWH Rophe – “The-LORD-Who-Heals.” God restores, strengthens and heals me.

YHWH Roii – “The LORD Our Shepherd.” With tenderness, God cares for, guides and protects me, like a shepherd cares for his flock.

My personal favorite is the name Hagar gave to God when He met her in the wilderness after she fled the abusive Sarah: Lahai Roi, “You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees.” To God she was more than a slave, a servant, a foreigner. She was a person He cared for enough to meet her at her lowest point and meet her deepest need. To Him, she was not invisible. (Genesis 16)

And then there’s Yeshua, more commonly Jesus—“The LORD is salvation,” or “ADONAI saves.”

Which of God’s names have a personal meaning for you? Why?

Thank You, YHWH, for all that You are to me. Amen.

NOTE: The names for God and their meanings were taken from the Children’s Ministry Resource Bible © 1993 by Child Evangelism Fellowship, Inc.

Look for God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 to be released later this month. It will be available on Amazon both in Kindle and print versions. If you prefer a personally autographed copy, you can order one by emailing me at michelethuey@gmail.com .  The print version is $15, but you can order two books for $25, a savings of $5. If you like fiction, I’ll be releasing Ghost Mountain, Book 2 in the PennWoods Mystery series, this month, too. Order one of each for $25. No shipping charges on prepaid orders. Be blessed!