2015 Verse of the Week #40: Exodus 20:3-5a

I’m getting over a cold, and busier than one in my recovering state should be, so the blog has taken a back seat this week. I’m stopping by to update with my weekly passage from Exodus, which can be heard in the song “God is Jealous” from Seeds Family Worship’s album called  The Character of God. Here is the text:

Exodus 20:3-5a (5b in parentheses)

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, (visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,)


I thought it was important to include verse 5b here. It makes sense to me that Seeds did not include that part in their song, as their audience is primarily children. It’s a tricky topic and I wish I had the time and energy to get into it. I learned a little bit about the idea of God’s punishing sin in future generations last year during Bible Study Fellowship’s Moses study. I don’t believe God does this now under the new covenant, but rather each individual is responsible for her/his own sins and likewise is offered an individual chance to accept salvation in Christ. But the natural consequences of sin do affect subsequent generations. We see this now in cycles of abuse, addiction, poverty, etc. that are essentially “passed down” from generation to generation.

And the opposite is certainly true; loving relationships, healthy or wise living, and faith can all be passed down from generation to generation.

Exodus 20:3-5 shows us some rules that a loving God set forth for his people so they would be a people who followed him for generations to come.

I can’t say that God’s jealousy is a characteristic I truly understand. I think sometimes I view God as being indifferent to my foolish, selfish, or otherwise sinful choices, but he is not. And I can’t blame him- he knows the best way for me to live and has laid it out clearly for me in his Word, so when I choose the other way it is only natural that he would be hurt or upset. Not that he is any less complete without my measly offering of obedience, worship, or dedication, but these verses (and others throughout Scripture) tell me that he must miss it. He knows he is the holy, just, everlasting Creator and is complete and perfect as Father/Son/Spirit, but he wants me to be connected to him.

Contemplating this verse has caused me to view God’s jealousy in a little more relatable light, something that is only natural because of God’s love, light, holiness, and wisdom.

Well, I am off to take some more meds and drag myself back out into the world of the living. Have a great week and please share your thoughts on this verse if you have something to say!

I simply Googled “Exodus 20:3” to find an image for this verse, and I love that a blog post from a fellow ministry wife popped up. Thanks, Internet! 🙂

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