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Have Zeal For The Lord

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A psalmist who is experiencing great difficulty attributes his problems to his own folly (Ps. 69:1-5). Yet he pleads with God that his situation will not affect others (Ps.69:6-8) and that others will not continue to trouble him. Indeed, he continues to place his hope in the Lord (vv. 7-8) saying, “Zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me”1 (v. 9; cf. vv. 10-12). As Futato states:

He was willing to bear the insults of those who were actually insulting God himself. While this was truly David’s experience, it was ultimately the experience of the Lord Jesus Christ, who burned with passion for the house of God…and who bore the insults of those who insulted God (Rom. 15:3).2

The author of Proverbs writes of the importance of spiritual knowledge:

Better a poor man whose walk is blameless
than a fool whose lips are perverse.

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge
nor to be hasty and miss the way. (Pr. 19:1-2)

More than physical strength or courage is strength of character and a life of genuine faith. Such is available through faith in God and keeping the Lord’s revealed standards (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8-11).

It is interesting to note that Schwab remarks “The path of a life a person walks, when characterized by folly, is perverted and ruined.”3 We see here that knowledge is very necessary and when combined with zeal for the Lord, it earns God’s blessing (cf. Num. 25:11). Thus, Eleazar’s son Phinehas’ zeal for the Lord earned for his descendants a lasting priesthood:

As the Lord said to Moses, I am making my covenant of peace with him. He and his descendants will have a covenant of lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites. (Num. 25:12-13)

Perhaps this was assured for them as it had been for Elijah (cf. I Kings 19:9-10). Indeed, Elijah had been so zealous for the Lord that it earned God’s further favor. Elijah said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. … I am the only one (prophet) left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (I Kings 19:14).

The author of Proverbs explains certain necessary qualities. With good fatherly advice he points out:

My son, if your heart is wise,
then my heart will be glad;

My in most being will rejoice
when your lips speak what is right.

Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the LORD.

There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off (Pr. 23:15-18).

Surely it is important that we demonstrate a zeal for the Lord!

Likewise, the Apostle Paul points out the necessity for us to have zeal for doing good (Gal. 4:14-16). As he remarks further, “It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you” (Gal. 4:18). True zeal for the Lord, his purposes, and his will are necessary qualities for spiritual growth with the Lord. We should ask ourselves, “Do you have genuine zeal for the Lord”. May it be truly so.

As the hymn writer says:

Let us then be true and faithful, trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory will the toils of life repay.4

1 All scripture references are from the NIV.

2 Mark. D. Futato, “Psalms” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort, (Carol Stream, Il., Tyndale House, 2009), 7:231.

3 George. M. Schwab, “Proverbs”, in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort, (Carol Stream Il., Tyndale House, 2009), 7:576.

4 Eliza E. Hewitt, “When We All Get to Heaven”.

Related Topics: Devotionals

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