Big Idea: God loves us with a jealous and exclusive covenant-keeping love and calls us to reciprocate. God demands that we love him exclusively because in the end it is our highest good, and our affections are ultimately mutually exclusive. We should express our supreme and exclusive love for God in demonstrable ways that become a distinctive way of life.
A. Love God alone by refusing to worship others.
B. The rationale for this command is that God is a jealous God.
C. God visits the sin of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.
D. Yet God’s covenant-keeping love is extended to a thousand generations.
II. Dealing with the problems
A. What’s up with God being jealous?
B. Does this passage teach that God holds a grudge?
C. Can one generation believe for another?
III. A call to exclusively love God
A. Let’s try the best we can to shut down our “idol factories.”
B. Examine your heart for competing affections.
C. Seek a variety of ways to express your love for God.
1) Why does loving God demand that we not love other things? Why are love of God and love of money mutually exclusive? Why are Christians called to love God more than their family? Why does that matter?
2) Is jealousy an inherently negative emotion? If so why would an all-good God be characterized by an inherently negative emotion? Is it okay for God to be jealous but not us? Is this a double standard?
3) Why is God jealous of us? Does that make him petty? Does God need our affection and approval? If yes, does that make God insecure? If no, then why does he command our affections?
4) In what sense does God cause the sins of one generation to land on another? If we are to forgive as God forgives, is it okay for us to hold a grudge, too? Why would God punish one generation for what another generation did?
5) Can one generation believe for another? Have you heard the expression, “God doesn’t have any grandchildren, just children”? Do you think that is accurate? If so, what do we make of Deuteronomy 5:10, which says, “but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments”?
6) Do you agree that the human heart generates idols? If that is true, how can you fight that? How have you kept your heart from running to wrong affections?
7) How do you most frequently express your love for God?