Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"The key to preaching...to feel the very jealousy of God..."

“In pastoring and preaching to his contemporary audience, Paul felt God’s jealousy burn within him. Like Phinehas he knew what it was like to run the sword of the Spirit through rebellious hearts. Paul ached for people to remain faithful and true. He was anxious when people were distracted or started to wander. He grieved over their materialism, their self-centeredness, their factionalism, their sexual impurity, their willingness to dishonour the name of God before the nations. Thus, says the apostle of Christ, ‘besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I am not indignant?’ (2 Cor. 11:28-29).

“What sustained Paul in the midst of such pressure, anxiety and indignation was that in the jealousy of God and Christ lay the hope of all those who are weak, who stumble and struggle with their addiction to sin.

“Perhaps, when all is said and done, this is the key to ‘preaching Exodus’ – to feel the very jealousy of God as we proclaim his name. Perhaps we should not dare to stand before others and bring them the word of the Lord until we ache and worry and grieve with the very jealousy of God. This is the pain and anxiety and grief that consumed Moses, Ezekiel, Jesus and Paul.
“Exodus testifies to how much God wants Israel.”

~ Richard Gibson, "Name Above All Names: Preaching Exodus," in Exploring Exodus

Recommended Reading: Godly Jealousy: A Theology of Intolerant Love, K. Erik Thoennes


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