“And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Isaiah 37:31-32).
The Scriptures point to the zeal we need to have for God. The Christians at Corinth were commended for the zeal they showed in repenting of having tolerated one among them who had his father’s wife (2 Corinthians 7:10-11; cf. I Corinthians 5:1-13). On the other hand, the Christians at Laodicea were warned because they were lukewarm and lacked zeal. Of them Jesus said, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).
While, as Christians, we are to be zealous for God, have you ever wondered, “What about God? Is He zealous for us?”? Later in the book of Isaiah, God’s people are pictured as crying out to God and questioning God’s zeal for them: “Look down from heaven, and see from Your habitation, holy and glorious. Where are Your zeal and Your strength, the yearning of Your heart and Your mercies toward me? Are they restrained?” (Isaiah 63:15).
Have you ever questioned God’s zeal for you? I must admit there have been times when I wondered about God’s zeal for me. However, this is because of my own struggle with doubt and not because God has failed to show His zeal for me. The Scriptures plainly point out God’s zeal for His people.
On the one hand, God had been zealous to carry out His justice to punish His own people because of their sins: “'Thus shall My anger be spent, and I will cause My fury to rest upon them, and I will be avenged; and they shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it in My zeal, when I have spent My fury upon them” (Ezekiel 5:13). On the other hand as the opening verses above indicated, (Isaiah 37:31-32), following this period of chastening, God was zealous to avenge the adversaries of His people as He sought to restore His people following their repenting of their iniquity (cf. Isaiah 59:17-20).
Furthermore, in His zeal, God sent Christ into the world. In a prophecy about Christ, Isaiah wrote, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The ZEAL (emp. Mine, JDM) of the Lord of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:6-7). When Jesus came, His disciples watched Him act with a zeal for righteousness as they saw Him drive out the moneychangers from the temple (John 2:17).
I find it reassuring that God is just and is zealous to see righteous judgment carried out even though that reminds me it is important for me to walk within the boundaries of His law. It is comforting for me to know that He is zealous for His people who are striving to serve Him and who repent and turn back to Him when they go astray. It is encouraging to know that because of His zealous love for me God sent His Son into the world to save me from my sin. Today, I will remember not only do I need to show zeal for God, but, more importantly, I will rejoice that He has a great zeal for me!
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).