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The Fire Of God’s Exclusive Love (via Dale Ralph Davis)

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Dale Ralph Davis writes about the novel insistence of Yahweh that his people have no other gods, and what that reveals about Yahweh and the way he relates to his people.

Whoever heard of a god who demanded exclusive loyalty? There was no so-called god or goddess in the whole ancient near east who demanded exclusive devotion. Ishtar did not care if you worshipped Marduk part of the time. They did not care if you had a private shrine to some oak tree in your garden. It did not matter. It was OK. They were very tolerant. Why was this God utterly intolerant of any rivals?
It is because there was something in Israel called the covenant. That covenant was exclusive, like a marriage covenant, with Yahweh as the husband and Israel as his bride. It was to be an exclusive relationship. Any time, of course, that there is a breach in an exclusive relationship it ought to drive the one who is wronged into a fury. There is a proper kind of jealousy in love, and if it is not there, there is something wrong with the love. If the wife or the husband is being unfaithful, the other does not just say, ‘Well, you win some, you lose some.’ No, it should make you angry. It should infuriate you. It should stir up the proper jealousy of love. That is what you have in the fury of Yahweh, when he says, ‘they have forsaken me; they have burned incense to other gods; they have bowed down to the works of their hands.’ There ought to be a fire in love. And there is with Yahweh.
Of course, we are a little bit different from Judah. His problem with us is not some graven image as such. Our idols are a little more sophisticated. It might be fixation on our future. It might be security or comfort or addiction. It may be a little harder to detect. But Yahweh is simply fanatical in his Word about exclusive devotion to him.

Dale Ralph Davis, True Words For Tough Times, EP Books, 2013, pg 23.

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