The Jealousy of God


It was a Wednesday.  Threatening to rain, I drove into a parking building.  In the absence of available public parking, I was forced to exit the building.  But in order to exit, I had to validate my parking.  $3 for not parking! Oh well… I have followed the procedure to have the charges reversed.  Thanks to Wilson Parking.

A suitable park was found on some obscure street.  Ascending the rather steep hill, I saw Albert Park.  Speakers Corner was next in view, but once there I noted the absence of familiar faces.  Trevor was first to break that absence. Then Tim.


The three of us started praying in preparation for public preaching.  As I gesticulated, I felt a solid figure – Abraham.  The trio had become a quartet before becoming a quintet as Joseph made 5.


Someone had a bus to catch so he was the first to climb the stairs and herald the truth of God’s Word.  Titus 2 was his text.

I was next with an expository sermon from Nahum.  I managed, in somewhat amateur fashion, to capture my own preaching:

The message I had from Nahum started by focusing on the jealousy of God for His own glory.

As I preached, a young lady sat.  And sat.  And sat.  She sat for the whole time and only after I had said my final amen, did she stand.  Walking off, she thanked Joe for our being there and agreed to read what she had previously been given.

A gardener was asked to perform his work after we were done.  Graciously, he agreed and was attentive for most of the time I was preaching.  Two young men also stopped periodically as I preached.  As they went to walk away, I diverted from my outline and appealed to them.

Abraham followed.  He didn’t get very far before the potential for rain became an event.


Then there were four –  huddled under a tree – praying for fruit.

Sure, the jealousy of God for His own glory is not the most popular theme, even amongst those calling Jesus, “Lord”.  It is, however, a thoroughly biblical concept.  More than that, it is consistent with the very nature of God.

God is a God of wrath

God is a God of wrath

James Montgomery Boice on Nahum 1:2

Many people do not like to think of God as a God of wrath.  They prefer to think of Him as a God of sickly love and sentimental indulgence.  What a weakening of the biblical concept of the only true God that is!  It is true that God is a God of love and mercy – a holy love and an utterly undeserved and sovereign mercy.  It is also true that God is a God of wrath against sin.

Boice, J. M. (1986). The Minor Prophets (p. 60)

My Testimony

This is my testimony to the saving grace of God in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other…”

Nahum 1:2 “The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”

My Testimony

Rich and Poor

Preparation for the Lord’s Table

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”  2 Corinthians 8:9


Whatever this passage has to say, it begins with grace.  Whatever truth it reveals to our hearts, it starts with grace.  Whatever hope, comfort, and strength we draw from this one verse of Scripture, it’s foundation is that of grace. 

It is not about something we deserve or could do for ourselves.  It is not something that Jesus was or is obligated to do for us as if we had some kind of merit toward God, as if God owed us something for something good we’ve done.  The benefits of this passage do not come to us because we’ve done the right thing, or held off doing the wrong thing.  

What it is about is grace.  The benefit of this passage come to us because we are not worthy, because we cannot earn it, because we do not deserve it, because we do not have any merit before God, because we’ve done nothing good.  Apart from the grace of God in Jesus Christ, there’s nothing good or worthy or commendable in us, or in what we say, or in what we think, or in what we feel, or in what we do – that God owes us anything.   


The verse, speaking of the Lord Jesus, says “though He was rich”.  What does that mean?  What does it mean that Jesus was rich?  Was He not the one who said “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head”?  “Though He was rich” cannot refer to His bank balance, or economic net worth, or His asset register.   

Perhaps it refers to the glory that Jesus had with the Father.  Perhaps it refers to the pre-incarnate glory of the Son of God. 

Perhaps it has more to do with His righteousness – the fact that He had spiritual value, worth, and currency before God – in that all that He was, all that He thought, all that He felt, all that He said, all that He did – all of it was good before God, all of it was right in the sight of God, all of it was upright, noble, true, driven by a pure heart and pure motives.   


The verse, speaking of the Lord Jesus, says “He became poor.”  What does that mean?  What does it mean that Jesus became poor?  If His riches, His wealth is not so much about physical and economic value – perhaps His becoming poor is more than just the reality that He was born and lived with the reputation of being a nobody from nowhere.  Maybe it’s even more than the reality that He hung on the cross, having been treated as a criminal, having had His clothes taken from Him, only to be buried in a borrowed tomb. 

Perhaps Jesus’ becoming poor has to do with His becoming poor in spirit.  Perhaps His poverty was spiritual.  Perhaps He became spiritually impoverished.  His being rich was a matter of righteousness, of His being righteous.  His becoming poor was a matter of unrighteousness.  His becoming poor was a matter of Him becoming sin.  This accords with a more well-known verse that tells us that He who knew no sin became sin.  To put that another way, He who knew only righteousness became unrighteousness. 

Jesus’ act of self-imposed poverty, of divine imposed poverty was one in which He became sin, He became that which is opposite and opposed to God, that which attracts the very wrath of a Holy God – this He did by bearing our sins in His body and going to the cross. 

So that… 

The verse, now speaking of us and to us says that though Jesus was rich, He became poor so that we might become rich.   

The rich that you become through the poverty of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the same kind of rich that Jesus was before He became poor.  If the kind of rich that Jesus was had to do with His righteousness, and His being righteous before God, then the kind of rich we become through His poverty has to do with righteousness, of being made righteous before God.  Yet it’s not our righteousness, it is not that we are righteous in and of ourselves, because we have no righteousness, and there are none righteous. 

The reality is that is it His record of righteousness, the rightness of who Jesus is and was, of what Jesus thought and felt, of what Jesus said and did – and the sinlessness of it all – that becomes ours, that’s credited to our accord, that’s seen as somehow belonging to us. 

By the grace of our Lord Jesus, He gives us, at great cost to Himself, the required record of his own righteousness required for citizenship and participation in the Kingdom of Heaven. 


Do you ever ask the question “Why?”  Do you ever ask “Why did Jesus become sin?” or “Why did Jesus become poor?” Or “Why did Jesus become my sin, or become my poverty?” 

In light of all this passage has to say to us about the Righteous One becoming unrighteousness, about the sinless one becoming sin, it tells us why, in three little words: For; Your; Sake. 

For your sake.  For my sake.  For our sakes.  Why did Jesus do what He did?  Why did Jesus become poor?  Why did Jesus become sin?  For you.  For me.  For us. 

This reminds me of something Jesus said as He instituted what we sometimes refer to as the Lord’s Supper.  As He broke the bread He said “This is MY body, broken for YOU.”  Though His primary purpose was to glorify God through His obedience, Jesus did what He did for our sakes, for your sake, for my sake – so as to redeem us, rescue us, reconcile us, save us, seal us, have Him for Himself.   

As we come to the table, I want us to be mindful, to carefully consider what the broken bread represents.  It represents the poverty of the Lord Jesus as He effectively became unrighteousness, and unrighteous before a righteous God.  It represents the reality that though Jesus was rich in His sinlessness, He became poor in His becoming sin, and the object of sin before a sinless God. 

His Anguish of Soul

Last time I spoke before the table, my focus was on the physical sufferings of the Lord Jesus as He suffered a conscious and bodily torment upon the cross that some might describe as hellish.

The focus was rightly upon the physical sufferings of Jesus.

What about the anguish of His soul?

Afterwards, during morning tea, someone raised an interesting point. He expressed his appreciation of the fact that yes, Jesus did suffer physically and bodily – but that there seemed to be much less emphasis on the other ways in which Jesus suffered – in particular, the anguish of soul Jesus experienced as He became the one upon whom all our sins were laid.

There are two specific events which bear this out. One is the obvious anguish of heart, mind, and soul Jesus experienced upon the cross as He cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me…”

The other comes before the cross and occurs in the Garden of Gethsemane. The scene is recorded in all three of the Synoptic Gospel accounts – Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

I want to briefly look at Mark’s account of the anguish of soul experienced by Jesus.

In this account, there are three things recorded for us that help us appreciate the anguish of soul Jesus experienced.

Distressed and Troubled

The first is v. 33 where Mark records that Jesus began to be greatly distressed and troubled. Note here that Mark tells us that He was greatly distressed and troubled. Whatever the nature of the distress and trouble – it’s not like it was some light and momentary thing – something to be minimised, or ignored – it was not something that Jesus could escape by means of distraction, or by doing something to keep Himself busy, or by focusing on something else. The degree of the distress and trouble was great – not light, not insignificant, not something He could minimise or ignore.

It’s helpful at this point to realise that this anguish wasn’t just something that was casually happening to Jesus, something He was just walking His way through. It was something He was experiencing at the very core of His being. The words being used by Mark are verbal-nouns. Verbs are doing words. Nouns are being words. Mark combines the two in an attempt to describe what was happening to Jesus – what Jesus was experiencing, what Jesus was becoming, or at least what Jesus anticipated in terms of what He would become.

Anguish of soul

The second aspect of Jesus’ anguish of soul is captured in v. 44 where Mark records Jesus’ own words, Jesus’ own commentary on the events, as Jesus explains to the disciples what He’s about to go through. “My soul is very sorrowful, even unto death.”

Jesus is using superlative, deliberate, intentional language – He is describing something that is more than a tad bothersome, something about which He is casually concerned, vaguely aware of, or potentially dismissive of. He is saying that His soul is sorrowful, but not just sorrowful – but very sorrowful – His sorrow of soul was all encompassing – and the Greek bares that out and carries with it the idea that Jesus was engulfed with sorrow – it was all around Him, it was within Him, it was like He was drowning in it. It’s almost as if the sorrow of Jesus’ soul was too much for Him to bare – but bare it He did.


We’re given a third insight into Jesus’ anguish of soul as Mark records for us a snippet of Jesus’ own prayer to the Father. V. 35 tells us that Jesus went and prayed, that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him and then in v. 36, His plea to the Father that the cup might pass from Him. It’s interesting here that we’re told Jesus fell to the ground. Here we see Jesus in complete humility, conveying to us a sense of helplessness, dependency, but also desperation. Jesus was, at this point begging the Father for relief, reprieve, respite – it was already too much for Him – and yet we know the story didn’t end here.

However briefly we have considered Jesus’ anguish of soul, I want us to also consider the question WHY? Why was Jesus greatly distressed? Why was He greatly troubled? Why was His soul exceedingly sorrowful? Why was Jesus desperate before the Father?

Again, vv 35 and 36 are helpful.

Jesus prays

In v. 35 we’re told Jesus’ prayer request was that the hour might pass from Him. In v. 36 we’re told Jesus’ prayer request was that the cup might be removed from Him?

What is the hour Jesus is requesting would pass?

What is the cup Jesus is begging be removed?

Firstly, the hour that Jesus is requesting would pass comes in v. 41 “It is enough; the hour has come.” What hour is that? “The Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners”

There was an anguish of soul about Jesus being betrayed, and betrayed by one with whom He had shared fellowship. I am not sure whether you’ve ever experienced betrayal, or suffered as a result of someones disloyalty, dishonesty, or unreliability. But as much as our betrayal sucks, and hurts, and is hard – Jesus more so. As sinners, there are no innocent victims, even in the betrayal of others – there is always an element of our selfishness that’s part of the pain we experience – but Jesus was utterly selfless – there is no way that He could ever merit the disloyalty of anyone – in fact, He commands and actually demands the perfect and unwavering loyality of every man, woman, and child that’s ever been, is now, and will be conceived in the future.

Jesus did nothing to deserve the betrayal He experienced.

Laying Hands on Jesus

If that wasn’t enough, there’s the fact that He was betrayed into the hands of sinners – for sinners to manhandle Him, to get all up in His face, to drag Him away, to beat Him – to effectively lay their sin stained hands upon the sinless Lamb. At they did this, they were effectively laying their sin upon Him – they were imputing their sin to Him – they were doing what the priests of old did when they laid hands on the sacrificial lamb.

It was in moments like these that Jesus actively and symbolically became the sin of sinners for whom He would then die.

There’s no way we can begin to imagine what that must have been like for Jesus – except to point to the sorrow for sin we must all experience as the Holy Spirit convicts us of it – but to take all the sorrow for all our sin, for all God’s people, for all time – and distill it, condense it, concentrate it in a small window of time and space and imagine it being laid on the Lord Jesus – the weight, the heaviness, the burden, the junk of sin laid upon the perfect, sinless, blameless, holy, beloved, eternally blessed and glorious Son of God.

And if that wasn’t enough, if the hands of sinful man upon the sinless lamb wasn’t enough – there was a cup. A cup, not of blessed to be enjoyed, but of wrath to be endured. As Jesus was becoming the sin of sinners, He was becoming the object of God’s wrath towards sin and toward sinners. Again, I can’t begin to imagine what that must have been like for Jesus – all the wrath of an all holy, all righteous, all consuming God being poured out on Jesus in a small window of time and space. I can’t begin to imagine the anguish Jesus endured at this point of time – let alone what He was going through as He cried from the cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me???”

O for the opportunity to preach the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ as He became sin for sinners, as He became the object of God’s wrath for us – the natural objects of God’s wrath.

Meditate on This

Though this is not my time to preach on it – it is our time to meditate upon it – with the help of bread, that symbolises the brokenness of Jesus body – and juice, that symbolises the shedding of His blood. As we do this, as we take these few moments to think, think, think upon the work of Christ on the cross – let us be mindful of the events, the emotions, the anguish that lead up to the cross – the way in which Jesus was greatly distressed and troubled, the way in which Jesus was exceedingly sorrowful, a sorrow which was, as it were, deadly.



Four hourly observations wherein blood pressure, oxygen levels, and my temperature were taken and recorded were replaced with a question asked with less rigid regularity: “How are you feeling?”  An instant reading in-ear thermometer was replaced by sweat soaked bed linen.  I had a fever and not one she’d given me.  Chest pain and laboured breathing.

My plight was medicated with regularly taken analgesics and less often taken hard stuff some of which promised to mitigate the fever.  Occasion necessitated ad hoc descending of stairs.  Accompanying stair climbing was the feeling of breathlessness and exhaustion exceeding that which could be attributed to the surgery of three days ago.

The laborious breathing and rattly feeling made me think of it as a chest infection.  I made a GP appointment to coincide with the removal of stitches.  The stitches were not ready for removal, but the GP colluded with my suspicions and prescribed a course of antibiotics.


By Tuesday night, I didn’t feel right and the niggling, mountain climbing inhibiting issues became more of a concern.  Chest pain intensification.  Breathing difficulties dialled up a notch. Ambulance called.  I was back in the emergency department’s waiting room.  Six hours later, readmission.

A scan was ordered and the results showed two large pockets of non-descript infection.  One was subhepatic (which means under the liver) and being the bigger of the two, was the cause of the laboured breathing an associated chest pain.  Pocket pressing on the diaphragm giving the disguising itself as a chest infection.


Oral antibiotics were superceded by intravenous and a nil-by-mouth order.  It was thought that another surgical procedure would be required to drain the fluid.  Bloodwork on readmission showed concern-worthy inflammatory markers and other indications of infection.  Remaining an inpatient for several days, daily blood work showed desirable movement in results.  The threat of surgery waned with each daily laboratory report.

During this time I was fairly mobile – often taking walks with the IV infusion device to sit in chairs but sun-facing windows.  This sense of mobility broke the monotony of being confined to a hospital bed, though while there, I did manage to work through many of the movies that made its way into the catalogue of the 1980s.

Pain reports began to come down, as did the inflammatory markers revealed by bloodwork.  It was time for discharge – to again make the switch between antibiotic delivery methods, again with prescriptions of analgesics and harder stuff (which were never dispensed).

Home again with a second medical certificate to give to the boss.  It was Saturday.  This second admission brought the sum of my hospital stays to 8 days.

Away From Hospital

The Journey Home

I left the hospital with a bit of pain and some difficulty breathing. It had been thought that this was a simple hangover from the surgery.  With pillow bracing my recently operated on-abdomen, I waited for my ride to approach the drop-off (and pick-up) are.

As we, now in a motor-vehicle, departed from the hospital carpark, I realised how in need it was of resurfacing (the hospital carpark, not the vehicle).  Every dip and slump and bump and ridge and area of patched up bitumen had an impact on my tender torso.  I grimaced, bracing for the impact of every topological feature of what ought to have been a completely level surface.

Emphatic apologies issued forth from the mouth of my driver as I attempted to deflect them with my eyes.  She was doing her best given the circumstances.

Arriving home, I gingerly emerged from the car and shuffled towards the door, pillow still tightly clutched.  As I opened the door, the greatest of challenges lay before me – a set of stairs.  The prize at the top of these steps was the comfort and ease of my very own bed.

Out the corner of my eye, I spotted another prize.  A package had arrived in my absence and I was looking forward to opening it and availing myself of the joy it promised.  Unpacked and plugged in, I sat, almost tentatively on the couch.  It was then that I felt the effects of the sevredol: nausea, a feeling of deep muscular relaxation, light-headedness (perhaps it would be better to dub this “away-with-the-fairies-ness).

The Next Move

Bedtime was approaching – or at least a time when it would be acceptable to go to bed.  Unless I was prepared to sleep on the couch (which I wasn’t, I had long pined for my bed), this meant I would need to ascend the stairs.  As I sat, in a prescribed-drug induced daze, I steeled myself for what was becoming more and more inevitable.

Standing, shuffling, and then actual stepping.   One foot on one stair, pushing my weight upwards.  Each step followed by a rest, and repeat.  With one hand I braced my abdomen with a pillow; with the other, I strangled the handrail.

Exhausted, I reached the top.  It was like I had scaled an Everest and the air was thin.  Unlike the actual mountain, there were lodgings at the top of my mountain, lodgings I had long anticipated.  Puffed, I shuffled on.  There it was – my El Dorado.  A new challenge emerged – getting from the shuffling standing position to a level lower than the couch.  Bending my knees, I allowed gravity to aid as I brace (physically, and mentally) for a kind of impact.

I was home and in my bed – and here I would spend the majority of my time for the next week.




The bladder was working. Water as solid and liquid had been consumed. How was I going to get out of this bed and to the toilet? I remember being told to ask for the assistance of a nurse at this all-important juncture.

Using a pillow to place suitable, bracing pressure on the abdomen, I used the mechanical bed to position my body for standing. However tentative, I was vertical. Steps more like shuffles, one at a time.

Trying to urinate without exerting internal pressure on my abdomen was a new challenge. Perhaps I could duo with Weird Al Yankovic for our parody – “Let it Flow“. The gas with which my abdomen had been pumped made an initial escape.


Flushing and washing, I shuffled back to the bed. Getting up was a level 1 challenge, getting back into bed would be level 2. I was exhausted but thankful for the mechanical bed.

Postoperative pain was certainly mitigated by the anaesthesia that remained in my body. But there was a lingering difficulty when it came to breathing. It felt like there was pressure being applied to my rib cage. Breathing properly, low and slow, was a painful exercise. Thankfully there was some strong pain medication, charted to help relieve postoperative pain, that was relieving the pain in my chest.

I was admitted on the Sunday. I had the surgery on the Monday.


Mobility had improved significantly, necessitated by a regime of self-imposed fluid replacement. Sure, getting up and down, in and out of bed, remained a low-level challenge, nothing my postoperative body couldn’t handle. It seemed there was another reason why getting up to go to the toilet was such an exhausting endeavour. It had to do with the breathing. Between attending nature, I was getting oxygen through a nasal canular, with my spirometry and blood pressure remaining relatively low.

And yet, I was discharged. Initial conversation with the initial consultant seemed optimistic. Surgery went well. I was independent and mobile. Further recovery would be made at home. Low-grade analgesics were prescribed. Pushback One: That wouldn’t be enough pain relief. A new script issued with next level drugs.

There were no further instructions given, at least not straight away. I asked the nurse to take the anchor out and attend my dressings.

Packing my things, I let my ride know to come get me. Packing my things was exhausting. By the time my ride got there, I was in a lot of pain and was apparently looking pale. Heeding her guidance, I began reconsidering the wisdom of the consultant. Further heeding her guidance, I cleared the bed and lay down.


A man with brown skin in a yellow high-vis knocked, entered, and sat in the corner. His initial assessment was that I was looking pretty white. Upon iteration, he upped his diagnosis to looking pretty under the weather, questioning the discharge order.

I had decided I would stay, that I would put my foot down. The second conversation with a second consultant resulted in a rescinding of the discharge order, on the grounds of my concerns with painful breathing. Off he went to do the necessary paperwork. He soon returned with questions, “Is it the pain that makes you want to stay in?”, “What if we gave you something stronger?”

Even though, at this stage, I would have happily remained an inpatient, the pain was the main concern – now addressed with the offer of something harder. A new script in hand, including the requisit paperwork for a controlled medication, I was discharged – officially.

View previous post.


A New Bed

I would be wheeled to Surgery Assessment.  A doctor had seen me and was concerned that my abdominal pain was more than a stomach bug.  How much more, they wouldn’t say.  This was the better of the beds.

There the vomiting continued.  Yellow.  Bright yellow, bile.  Later I would hear what others heard as I reached and wrung the content of an empty stomach into the little white pail.

I was put on a new list, to be seen by a different team of doctors.  This time the doctors I was to be seen by had hard soled shoes.  These were unaccustomed with the halls of General ED.  Nonetheless, it was their job to tend to the specifics of my conditions, to make clearer estimations.

It first came from one of their mouths, “It could be appendicitis…” I was sure an ultrasound would be ordered.  Rather, I was told of two basic ways of determining appendicitis.  The first was a CT scan, which I have come to understand is very seldom ordered.  The second was exploratory surgery.

The First Night

I was kept in overnight to monitor the progress of the pain in my side.  Perhaps aided by pain-relieving drugs, I drifted in an out of sleep.  I took the occasional walk.  I made a cup of tea.  Around me, the sound of sleep apnea contributed to my restlessness.

At least I had stopped with the vomiting.  A nil-by-mouth policy was imposed from 2 am and my name added to the surgery schedule.

I woke with parched lips, seemingly desperate for a drink.  It wasn’t going to happen.  In a moment of cruel mercy, I was allowed to swish but not swallow.  Next came the tight white stockings requisite for those pending surgery.

Suspicions Confirmed

A group of hard soled doctors at varying stages of their training made up the entourage of the Chief Surgeon.  Her proddings, interjected by questions for her students, confirmed a classic case of appendicitis.  Surgery loomed ever closer.

I called my boss to tell him I wouldn’t be into work that day, or for a few days.  It was a quirky conversation.  We’d speak again in the coming days, once I knew what recovery might look like.

“In the next 15 to 30 minutes, we’ll take you up to theatre….” The elevator stopped as the hospital switched over to reserve power.  Reengaged, the elevator completed its journey, doors opening to the clinical white of theatres.


The mains power was now back in.  A stream of individuals who would be involved in the surgery came to talk to me.  They emerged from the operation theatre to me, in a sort of anti-chamber.  The anesthesiologist was tasked with putting me to sleep, keeping me asleep, and managing the pain.

Theatre was ready and I got to walk in.  The bed, more like a bench, was narrow.

I woke up in recovery, not knowing how I got there or how long I was out.  My concerns turned to quenching a half-day thirst.  I did so with abandon and an ice block.

I was still highly medicated when I was allocated to Ward 34 North.  Initial visitors would bring my toothbrush and I would begin the journey back to normality – without an appendix.

an ongoing testimony of God's grace