Exploring the Book of Ya’aqov, Pt. 17
Adulteresses! Have you not known that the world’s friendship is hostility with God? Whoever, then, wants to be a friend of the world is made an enemy of God. Do you think that, emptily, the Scripture says that with envy the רוּחַ, Ruach that He caused to live in us earnestly desires us? But greater unmerited favor He gives! Therefore, the Scripture says, “God sets Himself against proud ones; but to humble ones, He gives unmerited favor.” (יַעֲקֹב Ya’aqov 4:4-6, mjlt)
It is written that “Adonai, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14). This righteous jealousy springs forth from the Creator’s desire that His people love Him and not bow themselves to another god—that they not trade their devotions to some strange and foreign deity. His jealousy, however, is aroused neither from a place of insecurity nor codependence, but rather from a rightful possessiveness and ownership. He is jealous because He does not give away His love casually or cheaply. God’s love comes at a cost that no one but He is able or willing to pay.
It is far from an exaggeration, then, to say that we are “Adulteresses!” when we give Him cause to be jealous. Just as adultery demonstrates a profound enmity toward both the loyal spouse and the foundation of the marriage itself, so also does turning toward another object of worship. The God who loves, defends and cares for us considers it to be a hostile act. To befriend another god in particular, or the ways of the world in general, is to infringe upon a sacred relationship and betray a hallowed trust. There is no such thing as an innocent intimacy with a person not your spouse; thus, “the world’s friendship is hostility with God.”
When we bow at the altars of materialism, entertainment, sports, politics, social media, social life, work, recreation, and even religion—to say nothing of indulgences in sin and the flesh—we are committing adultery with the world. By forsaking the covenant with our Maker, we not only call our commitment to Him into question, but we understandably enrage the lover of our soul. In choosing to augment our perfect and spiritual relationship with God by way of an imperfect, corporeal tryst with the world, we succeed not just in straining that relationship, but in making ourselves into His enemy.
Once our relationship with God deteriorates to this extent, the Ruach “that He caused to live in us,” is made to “earnestly desire” us “with envy.” This means that while God’s troubled Ruach in us continues to endure our shameless presence, our unfaithfulness forces Him to both loathe and long for us, all at the same time. In response to our betrayal, His Ruach aches for ours, as both hostility and yearning collide. But unlike a jilted lover, the God of the universe will not reply by pining away for us, or being passive aggressive. Rather, He waits patiently, always prepared to give way to forgiveness and reconciliation.
Though we betray Him through our unsavory behavior, gratuitous amusement and worldly associations—though our unfaithfulness incites His hostility and marks us as His adversaries—our God still stands ready to hear our contrite confession. Under no obligation to take us back and invite us to repair the damage we have done to the relationship, He nevertheless permits our treachery to elicit a compassion within Himself that exponentially exceeds the degree of our disgrace. While we deserve no such kindness, and no amount of disloyalty warrants such reward, the greater our wrongdoing, the greater His forbearance—and the “greater unmerited favor He gives!”
To be a friend of the world—to have other “gods” before our God—is the height of arrogance, conceit and pride. It makes jealous the One who is nothing toward us but selfless—it puts our desires above Yeshua’s sacrifice. Surely, “God sets Himself against proud ones,” and will not be slow to envy and hostility. And yet, “to humble ones, He gives unmerited favor,” and is quick to receive us back in forgiveness.
Have you been cheating on God with the way you spend your time, finances and resources? Humble yourself today and end your friendship with the world. Receive compassion, forgiveness and unwarranted, unmerited favor; be committed solely to the One who has been only faithful to you—and be an enemy of God no more.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!