2. His Jealousy

 The Mystery of Babylon

"For love is as strong as death,
Jealously is cruel as the grave;
The coals thereof are coals of, fire,
A flame of Yah"—(Song of Songs, 8:6b).
"For jealousy is the rage of a strong 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:" (Prov.6:34,35).

FIERCEST of all burning passions is jealousy. You can bear to have your child cherished by a stranger; or even to have your son receive the bounty of another; but your wife--—that is another matter.

The wife must be single towards her husband and the husband towards the wife. The invisible fetters of this great moral decree bind not only man but embrace some of the lower creatures as well. Blessings it brings to all who obey it; but for those who disobey it is a raging ravenous flame. The glory of God demands this for it reveals to us the knowledge of His ways and the jealousy which fires His heart for the people of His love.

Even while her soul is yet satiated with His gifts, her heart turns from Him. Instead of leaning on His arm, she takes the arm of Egypt; instead of calling upon Him in the moment of danger, she asks Assyria's aid. As a foolish woman, she goes about to seek the favor of the nations round about and barters the very ornaments He had given her to win them to her.

"And I will judge thee as women
who break wedlock and shed blood
are judged and I will judge thee in
fury and jealousy" (Ezek.16:38).

The ten tribes are especially guilty in this matter.

And so He turned against her the lovers she sought after. They laid her desolate and bare so that she became a byword and a hissing. All her delights with which she tempted her lovers were stripped off. The garments of shame and infamy now took the place of the bright linen and the silk. Her crown was baldness and her girdle weakness. Sad was her state indeed, but only thus could the fierceness of His jealousy be appeased.

"So will I make my fury towards
thee to rest, and my jealousy shall
depart from thee and I will be quiet
and be no more angry" (Ezek.16:42).

When, in her desolation, her hard heart still hungered for her lovers, and she said, "I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil, and my drink," then said He, "Behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall that she shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them, and she shall seek them, but shall not find them." Then shall she say, "I will go and return to my first husband. For then it was better with me than now. For she did not know that I gave her corn and wine and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, while they prepared for Baal. Therefore will I return, and take away My corn in the time thereof. And My wine in the season thereof. And will recover My wool and My flax given to cover her nakedness. And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers and none shall deliver her out of Mine hand. I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her appointed seasons. And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, 'These are my rewards that my lovers have given me:' and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. And I will visit on her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels and she went after her lovers and forgat Me, saith the Lord."

"When a man hath taken a wife and married her
and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes,
because he hath found some uncleanness in her;
then let him write her a bill of divorcement,
and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house" (Deut.24:1).

"And I saw, when for all the causes whereby
backsliding Israel committed adultery
I had put her away, and given her
a bill of divorce yet her treacherous sister
Judah feared not;" (Jer.3:8).

How solemn is the thought that God has chosen so to figure forth His mind concerning those who forsake Him, the fountainhead of every pleasure, the source of all delight, and turn to others for the satisfaction He alone can give! Among men this is no sin at all; among His holy ones it is esteemed a trifle; but by Him, in fiery jealousy, the crime of crimes; the apex of the pyramid of sin. How graciously has He preserved (though in these last days, this is failing too) the sense that bids men speak in whispers of such shameful deeds; that brands the participant with the mark indelible, so that they need not as lepers cry "unclean," for they are shunned by all who have a spark of moral virtue left. And still, as in our Lord's day, when they accused the woman of such heinous crime, indeed, in the very act, He could reproach them and retort, "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone." Like the poor woman, Israel, in the presence of her God, was guilty of the deed they so condemned in her. But worse by far, they never dreamed that they, moral, upright, and refined, were subject to so severe a charge.

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