Verses of Exodus 34


Exodus 34:14 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)


Exo 34:14. The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

PRACTICAL religion is altogether founded on the character of God. If he were, as many foolishly imagine him to be, “a Being like unto ourselves,” a very small measure of duty and service would be all that he could reasonably require. But being a God of infinite majesty, and unbounded mercy, it is not possible to exercise towards him too great a measure of fear and love; nor can he be too strict in exacting at our hands the utmost that we are able to pay. In this view, the feeling of jealousy, which seems at first sight not to comport well with our notions of the Supreme Being, may very properly be ascribed to him; and we may justly say, as in our text, “The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
Let us contemplate,


The character of God, as here described—

Jealousy does exist in the bosom of Jehovah—
[Jealousy in man is a painful feeling, arising from a suspicion that a measure of the regard due to us is transferred to another, who is in no respect entitled to it. And so deep is the wound which it inflicts, especially on a husband who conceives himself to have been dishonoured by his wife, that nothing can ever heal it. “Jealousy,” says Solomon, “is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance: he will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts [Note: Pro 6:34-35.].” In God, also, does it burn with a most vehement flame: “They have moved me to jealousy,” says God; “and a fire is kindled in mine anger, and it shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap mischiefs upon them, and will spend mine arrows upon them [Note: Deu 32:21-23.].” To the same effect the Prophet Nahum also speaks: “God is jealous; and the Lord revengeth: the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries; and he reserveth wrath for his enemies [Note: Nah 1:2.].”]

Nor is this unworthy of his character—
[On account of his own inconceivable excellency he deserves to stand without a rival in our affections. On account of what he has also done for us in creation, in providence, and in grace, especially in the gift of his only dear Son to die for us; and, I may add, on account of the relation in which he stands as “the Husband of his Church [Note: Isa 54:5.],” he has additional claims to our supreme regard: and if he see that we are in any respect suffering any thing to stand in competition with him, he may well be jealous. In truth, he could not, consistently with his own perfections, dispense with these obligations, even for a moment. “He cannot give his glory to another [Note: Isa 42:8.]:” he would cease to be God, if he could suffer his own inalienable rights to be withheld from him, and not express his indignation against the idolatrous offender. It is his very “name” and nature to be jealous: as to those who love him, he is a God of love and mercy; so is he, of necessity, to those who alienate their affections from him, “a jealous God, and a consuming fire [Note: Deu 4:23-24.].”]

From this view of his character, let us proceed to notice,


Our duty, as arising from it—

We must not act in any way inconsistent with the relation which we bear to him. We must not suffer,


Any alienation of our affections from him—

[We are bound to love him with all our heart, and all our mind, and all our soul, and all our strength. Nothing is to be loved by us but in subordination to him, and for his sake. If any thing under heaven be permitted to share our regards with him, we are guilty of idolatry [Note: Col 3:5.]. Nothing is excepted, when the Apostle says, “Set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth [Note: Col 3:2.].” We must take care, therefore, not only not to love any thing above him, but to “hate even father and mother, and our own lives also,” in comparison of him.]


Any abatement in our attentions to him—

[God speaks of our espousals to him as a season of peculiar love [Note: Jer 2:2.]. And at that season we are, for the most part, delighted with every thing that may bring us into nearer communion with him, and express the feelings of our heart towards him. Then the reading of his word, and secret prayer, and an attendance on the public ordinances of religion are to us sources of the sublimest joy. But if we become cold in these respects, and the ardour of our love abate, can we suppose that he will be pleased with us? Will he not say to us, as to the Church at Ephesus, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love [Note: Rev 2:4.] ?” Surely, if an earthly husband will not endure a declension in his wife’s regards, much less will the God of heaven and earth endure a diminution of ours.]


Any unnecessary intercourse with things which have a tendency to draw us from him—

[This is particularly marked in the preceding context. God requires his people not to form alliance with their heathen neighbours, nor to accept invitations to their idolatrous feasts: he commands them to “destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves,” and to forbear even the mention of the gods whom they worshipped. He knew how soon “evil communications would corrupt good manners:” and therefore he forbade any unnecessary intercourse with the heathen. And has he not given a similar injunction to us also? Has he not declared, that, as soon may “light and darkness have communion with each other, or Christ with Belial, as a believer with an unbeliever;” and that, therefore, we must come out from the ungodly world, and be separate, and not touch the unclean thing, if we would have him for “a father unto us, and act as becomes his sons and daughters [Note: 2Co 6:14-18.] ?” This is a gracious and merciful warning, similar to what an affectionate husband would give his wife in relation to the society of one who was seeking to seduce her. And we must carefully attend to it; and be no more “of the world, than Christ himself was of the world.” We must endeavour to “keep our garments clean” amidst the pollutions that are around us [Note: Rev 3:4.], and “hate even the garment spotted by the flesh [Note: Jdg 1:23.].” We must not be contented with avoiding evil, but must “abstain even from the appearance of it [Note: 1Th 5:22.].”]


Those who think it an easy matter to serve God—

[Though a woman may without any great difficulty perform her duties to an affectionate husband, where the bias of her natural affections is on the side of duty, it is not so easy to execute all that our God requires: for there we stem the current of nature, instead of being carried forward by it. Hence, when the whole people of Israel were so ready to bind themselves to serve their God, Joshua warned them, that they could not do it without divine aid [Note: Jos 24:18-19.]. So let me say to you, that, if you will indeed give yourselves to the Lord, and take him as your portion, you must not engage in your own strength; but must look unto your “God, who alone can work in you either to will or to do.”]


Those who are unconscious of having given occasion to God to be jealous of them—

[Look, not merely at your acts, but at the depositions of your mind; and then judge. He says, “Give me thy heart.” Now see whether your affections have not strayed: yea, whether you have not been like the wild ass in the wilderness, whom none can overtake or keep from her mate, till the time for parturition has nearly arrived [Note: Jer 2:23-24.] ? This is an humiliating, but a just, image of our conduct; and if we will not acknowledge it, and humble ourselves under a sense of it, “God will surely plead with us” to our confusion [Note: Jer 2:35.].]


Those who are ashamed of their past ways—

[Amongst men, the unfaithfulness of a wife may have been such as to preclude a possibility of her restoration to the station she once held: but no departures, however grievous, shall prevent our restoration to the divine favour, if, with sincerity of heart, we humble ourselves before him [Note: Jer 3:1.]. In the name of God himself, I am commanded to proclaim this, and to invite the most abandoned of you all to return to him [Note: Jer 3:12-14.]. “Return, then, unto him, and so your iniquity shall not be your ruin [Note: Eze 18:30.].”]

Verses of Exodus 34


Consult other comments:

Exodus 34:14 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Exodus 34:14 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Exodus 34:14 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Exodus 34:14 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 34:14 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Exodus 34:14 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 34:14 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Exodus 34:14 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 34:14 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)